DUBAI (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic suffered a surprise 6-4, 7-6(4) loss to qualifier Jiri Wesley in the quarter-finals of the Dubai tournament on Thursday and will lose his world number one status next week.
US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who is currently playing the tournament in Mexico, will rise to the top of the rankings on Monday.
Russian Medvedev would become the first player, apart from Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray, to top the rankings since February 1, 2004.
Djokovic has spent a record 361 weeks at the top of the rankings and has won eight titles, including three Grand Slams, since achieving his top-ranking position in February 2020.
“Unfortunately, it was not my day,” Djokovic told reporters. “Congratulations Jiri. He played well. He just went for his punches. His serve was great. His whole game was great.”
“I was definitely hoping to play at a higher level. I mean, I can do better. But the credit goes to Jiri.”
Playing in his first event since being relegated from Australia ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, Djokovic said he was still trying to find his rhythm.
“The more games I play, the more confident I am, the more comfortable I feel on the court,” the 34-year-old said.
Wesley said defeating Djokovic was an “amazing feeling”. “I never thought I’d get a chance against Novak,” Wesley said. “He’s one of the greatest ever.”
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru)
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