Novak Djokovic’s classy gesture for emotional rival

Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov struggled to hide his emotions following his straight sets loss to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Djokovic booked his spot in a 30th grand slam singles final after defeating Shapovalov 7-6 7-5 7-5 on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

The Serbian stood and applauded with the crowd as the teary-eyed Shapovalov made his way off the court.

Speaking to reporters after the loss, Shapovalov revealed Djokovic consoled him in the sheds after their semi-finals clash.

“He came up to me in the locker room,” Shapovalov said on Saturday morning AEST.

“Told me he knows how difficult it is for me right now but that it’ll all come along.

“He doesn’t have to do it, it’s very nice from him to do it. He isn’t praised enough”.

Novak Djokovic applauds Denis Shapovalov as he leaves the court.Source:Getty Images

Denis Shapovalov thanks the crowd.Source:Getty Images

Djokovic had nothing but praise for world No. 12 Shapovalov after the match: “I don’t think that the scoreline says enough about the match, about the performance (of Shapovalov) … he was serving for the first set, he was probably the better player for most of the second set, he had many chances.

“It’s the first grand slam semi-final for him and he was emotional … I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything he’s done today, and these few weeks … We’re going to see a lot of him in the future, definitely. He’s a great player.”

Djokovic saved 10 of his 11 break points in the tightly-contested match, which ultimately proved the difference.

“In [the] important moments, I think I probably held my nerves better than he did and just made him play an extra shot, made him [make] an unforced error,” Djokovic said.

“It’s tough to play Denis, particularly on grass and quicker surfaces with the lefty serve that he’s got. He can hit any spot. I think he’s one of the best servers on the tour, without a doubt. When he’s on, when he’s feeling that serve, it’s a weapon on any surface against anyone.”

Djokovic will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the men’s singles final on Sunday, with the match scheduled to commence 11pm AEST.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory.Source:Getty Images

Djokovic admitted he will have to overcome the majority of 15,000 fans on Centre Court as well as Berrettini if he is to capture a sixth Wimbledon and 20th grand slam title this weekend.

Berrettini is competing in his maiden Slam final and bidding to become the first Italian man to claim a major title since Adriano Panatta at the 1976 French Open.

“Every player hopes in big matches, coming into big stadiums, that he’s going to have a majority of the crowd behind him,” Djokovic said.

“Having the crowd behind you, against you, it’s a big difference.

“Berrettini, his first time in a Grand Slam final, he’s kind of an underdog. People also like to see someone win who is an underdog or is not maybe expected to win, is not the favourite to win.”

Djokovic is one win away from equalling modern greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 grand slam titles.

– with AFP

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