Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat to Dominic Thiem
It took Dominic Thiem just 2hr 15min to despatch Djokovic 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 to book a semi-final against nine-times French Open winner Rafa Nadal.
The defending champion simply wilted under the aggressive shot-making of the 23-year-old Austrian and the final set drubbing was his first 0-6 at a grand slam event since he lost by that margin to Gael Monfils at the 2005 US Open in a match Djokovic actually went on to win.
He won only eight points in the final set as he looked increasingly disinterested and the fight simply drained away from him.
And when he was asked whether, in an ideal world, he would take a break from tennis, he said: “Trust me, I'm thinking about many things, especially in the last couple months. I'm just trying to sense what's the best thing for me now.
“Obviously there has been a lot of changes with the team and so forth. I am excited to work with Andre Agassi and the new team and at the same time, I have responsibility to the game itself, towards others.
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I'm trying to get better, trying to be on a high level again. I know that I have achieved the biggest heights in this sport, and that memory and that experience gives me enough reason to believe that I can do it again.
“But we'll see. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make, but I will see how I feel after Roland Garros.
“The win here last year has brought a lot of different emotions. Obviously it was a thrill and complete fulfilment.
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“I lived on that wave of excitement till US Open or so. And at the US Open, I just was emotionally very flat and found myself in a situation that I hadn't faced before in the professional tennis career.
“It’s tough to get out of it and figure out the way how to move ahead.
“I'm trying to get better, trying to be on a high level again. I know that I have achieved the biggest heights in this sport, and that memory and that experience gives me enough reason to believe that I can do it again.”
This result, though, means that Djokovic will on Monday fall outside the world’s top two for the first time in six years.
“One of the highest points that you can reach as a tennis player is to be No. 1 and it’s one of the highest goals of any player,” he said.
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“I was very fortunate to spend a lot of time there. I know how it feels to get to that spot, to be there, and to also lose that spot.
“I hope that the experience that I have and also the time ahead of me will serve me well and hopefully I'll be able to get back.”
However, he refused point-blank to blame the absence of Agassi – his part-time coach – from his box for his late capitulation.
“Don't put Andre in the midst of this,” he said. “This final set – of course, that's all me.
“As I have mentioned before several times when you guys ask me about his influence and impact on my game, it's going to take time. It's not something that comes out in the first week. We have spent seven days together. We just got to know each other.
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“He didn't want to give me too much information when the tournament had already started. And we are just getting to know each other, as I said, and we will see where it takes us.”
Thiem was a semi-finalist last year, when he lost to Novak Djokovic, also in straight sets. He admits he will have his work cut out to go any further again this year with Nadal standing in his path.
He told the Court Suzanne Lenglen crowd: ““For sure it was a little bit tricky today, a lot of wind, colder. It was important to hit the ball clean and I think I did that well today.
“It's amazing how difficult it is to go deep in a grand slam. You have to play the best guys round after round. And it's not getting easier on Friday.”