Novak Djokovic has ended his US Open title defence by retiring from his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka. Novak Djokovic, who has won four of the past five Grand Slam events and 16 overall, had struggled with a painful left shoulder during his second-round win over Juan Ignacio Londero.
Wawrinka won the first two sets 6-4, 7-5 to take a large lead against Djokovic as he sought to beat him in their first meeting since the 2016 US Open final.
"I'm sorry for the crowd, they came to see a full match but it wasn't to be", Djokovic said.
"I feel sorry for Novak, he's an fantastic champion, we played a brilliant battle".
In an era where men's tennis has been dominated by the "Big 3" of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka can at times be a forgotten man. "I was quite confident with the level I had but you never know when you are playing the number one player in the world".
The shoulder issue flared up earlier this week and almost saw Djokovic knocked out in the second round on Wednesday but the 32-year-old seemed to have recovered by Friday when he won in straight sets to reach the last 16.
When it was over, Wawrinka gave Djokovic a hug. Djokovic won that one in an unprecedented fifth-set tiebreaker after almost five hours.
He won his next match Friday, looking good and declaring his shoulder much improved, although he refused to disclose any details of the injury or what type of treatment he had received.
His bid for a fourth U.S. Open championship and 17th Slam trophy in all suddenly dissipated at the conclusion of what for him amounted to a listless and ineffective effort.
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