By Greg Stutchbury
MELBOURNE, Jan 27 - Novak Djokovic was lamenting a
case of gastroenteritis after he lost his Australian Open
quarter-final to France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday.
The Serb had just won the third set to take a 2-1 lead and
Tsonga looked deflated before Djokovic left Rod Laver Arena
after he told chair umpire John Blom he needed to vomit.
While he managed to return, his game melted away and Tsonga
ran out a 7-6 6-7 1-6 6-3 6-1 victory to set up a semi-final
against Roger Federer after the Swiss came from a set down to
defeat Russian Nikolay Davydenko in four sets.
"It was unfortunate that I couldn't perform on the level
that I wanted to in the fourth and fifth set," Djokovic told
reporters. "I don't want to find excuses for my loss, but, you
know, I went to vomit and I had diarrhoea before the match.
"After two games (of the fourth set) I had to go to the
toilet. I couldn't hold on. There was no way, otherwise I would
throw up on the court. ... Just a terrible feeling."
Djokovic said he was unsure as to what had caused the
sickness as he had not eaten anything out of the ordinary.
It had made him become dehydrated and fatigued, he said.
"When you lose a lot of fluids and your engine ... stops
working, that's how I felt," Djokovic said.
"Very bad with my legs in the fourth, and especially in the
fifth set. I wasn't able to run him down at the baseline, and
that was the major problem.
"You know, he was serving well and just got a confidence
boost to be aggressive. It was unfortunate."
Tsonga said Djokovic's illness was just part of the game.
"Sometimes it happens," he told reporters.
"There are some problems, but I think this is the game.
Sometimes you have problems with your forehand, sometimes you
have problems with your backhand, sometimes your body. You never
know what can happen.
"He had problems with his stomach ... Bad luck for him and
good for luck for me."
Tsonga said he had not been concerned after Djokovic took
the lead into the fourth set.
"When you are 2-1 down you just think there is a fourth set
and I have to play and give everything and maybe I can win
because the game is not finished," he said.
The 24-year-old said he realised the challenge ahead of him
on Friday against Federer was a steep one.
"I have to play my best tennis. Roger played unbelievable
again today. Nikolay was in good shape, so it will be tough," he
said. "But like today I will give everything and we will see."
(Editing by Sonia Oxley; To query or comment on this story