The only small tactical regret that prevented Djere from beating Djokovic

Lasle Djere was up two sets to none against Novak Djokovic in the third round on Friday. He then lost the ext three sets and so the match. Only one regret for. him though: having played too fast.

Laslo Djere US Open 2023 (Chryslene Caillaud _ Panoramic) Laslo Djere US Open 2023 (Chryslene Caillaud _ Panoramic)

“I know that I can play really well, so this performance will certainly mean something for the future, but it remains to be seen whether it will be a springboard.” Laslo Djere, 28 years old and ranked 38th, knows better than to go all crazy happy because he lost in a fifth set against Novak Djokovic in the third round of the US Open. At the end of the day, he lost. From two sets up. He cannot be happy with that.

But Djere, who was recently in the final of Hambourg, knows he still has to be proud of the quality displayed out there on the biggest court against one of the greatest ones to have ever played the game. He also knows one match, won or lost, can help you reach the next level, so he hopes that it will be the case here.

“I’ve been playing well for some time now”, he said after the loss in the middle of the night. “Today, I felt that even in the third and fourth set I didn’t play badly. It’s just that he has shown why he is the greatest player of all time. I didn’t feel any pressure when I was 2-0 up, my mind hasn’t wandered at all, just a little bit.”

So overall Djere has no regret that will come back to haunt him and prevent him from sleeping when thinking about that match. Yet, he just wished he could have done one thing differently. Just one thing.

“I should have played a bit more passive”, Djere

“Rewinding the match right now, I think it was a mistake on my part that I started to play more aggressively in the third and in the fourth set. Towards the end of the fifth set, in the last few games, I slowed my ball down a bit and it had a positive impact. In uptempo exchanges, he is the best in the world, he knew how to use the speed of my ball. Also, he made an adjustment by going more frequently down the line with his backhand.”

But it’s actually not even that big of a regret, because Djere has to admit that he wouldn’t have been able to cope with that strategy. “On the other hand, I felt that physically I didn’t have that much energy, so that’s why I tried to finish points quicker, which is extremely difficult to do against him. But yes, I should have played a bit more passive.”

Djere could also read what Djokovic had to say about him after the match and remember what the Serbian told him at the net after the match point, to feel a bit better about that loss. “Nole” was indeed only throwing praise about Djere’s level of play.

“I thought he played terrific”, Djokovic said. “I honestly have never seen him play like this. He was feeling the ball extremely well. Everything was kind of in his striking zone. He was tactically prepared very well. I think he started off the match very, very good. He was far more comfortable than me. I was defending mostly in the first two sets. To be honest, I could have and should have played better, on a high level in these two sets, but huge credit to him for making me uncomfortable on the court. Congrats to him. Tough luck to him. I told him at the net he should keep going because if he’s going to continue playing this way, he’s only going to work his way up in the rankings. He’s a terrific guy and works extremely hard. Tonight he shows that he deserves to be ranked much higher than he is.”

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