Novak Djokovic has gone on the defensive over suggestions that the world No.1 has lost his focus on court because of off-court interruptions.
The Serbian star was part of one of tennis' major shocks at the US Open, and not in a good way, when he was defeated by Japanese star Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.
Nishikori was victorious in four-sets with a 6-4 1-6 7-6 6-3 win, the world No.10 reached his first Grand Slam final in the process and that'll mark the first time that an Asian has featured in the male's singles final.
All the pre-tournament hype was over the potential for a blockbuster final between Djokovic and Roger Federer, but both men were denied by lesser opponents - on-paper - with just one more match left to win.
His semi-final shock marked a disappointing end to a tough few months for the 27-year-old. Since winning Wimbledon, the eight-time Grand Slam champion also exited both the hard-court Masters events in Toronto and Cincinnati early.
The poor form from Djokovic has led some to suggest that he has lost focus. After his SW19 success, he married long-term partner Jelena Ristic and the couple are nearing the birth of their first child.
However, the world no.1 has rubbished those claims and has no plans to leave his new wife's side.
“Of course I'm in touch with my wife. Of course I am being part of her pregnancy. But it's no different for me in terms of preparing for the match and for the tournament," he said to SkySports.
"I had all my dedication, everything directed to this US Open. I tried to give my best and I did. Now, my best today was not where I wanted it to be."
All of the major slams for 2014 have passed now and you could forgive Djokovic for taking the rest of the season off to spend his time readying himself for fatherhood, but he says it's "too soon" to decide where he will play for the rest of the year.
Many other sportsmen, including Federer, have managed to juggle a growing family with his own professional game. However the 32-year-old is without a major title since 2012, despite leading the all-time records list - the former world no.1 continues to miss out on Slam no.18.
Whatever the case, Djokovic will certainly need to spend a certain amount of time deciphering what went wrong in his New York clash with Nishikori.
The tournament-favourite certainly struggled in the North America heat which singed the Arthur Ashe court while his opponent managed to succeed where others have failed by breaking the stringent defences of the Serb.
"It was not easy to play in these conditions, but also he had more hours spent on the court," Djokovic continued.
"I wasn't in the balance. I thought it was just an overall feeling. My strokes just weren't there.
"It is what it is. It's sport. I have to congratulate the better opponent and move on and try to finish off this year hopefully as close as I have last year."
Nishikori will face the other first-time major finalist, world no.16 Marin Cilic, in Monday's final, a meeting which few would have predicted a few weeks ago.
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