Novak Djokovic is out of the Australian Open after falling in the second round to journeyman Denis Isotomin, the 117th-ranked player in the world.
The result of the 4 hour, 48 minute marathon (7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4) is an absolute stunner – the most shocking upset of the young tennis season and, for Djokovic, perhaps the worst loss of his career.
Djokovic, who has won six of his 12 grand slams at the Australian Open, entered as the second-ranked player in the world. Though Andy Murray has been the best player in the world of late, Djokovic no doubt had Rod Laver’s record seven Australian Open crowns in his mind in Melbourne.
Isotomin, meanwhile, only earned a place in the main draw through a wild card berth.
The loss is Djokovic’s earliest exit from a grand slam since Wimbledon in 2008. Indeed, ESPN called it the most shocking upset of his career. And yet, Djokovic’s form since he won the French Open in 2016 to complete the career grand slam has been in steady decline.
After his win at Roland Garos, Djokovic was upset in the third round at Wimbledon by American Sam Querrey, lost in the US Open final to Stan Wawrinka, and then lost in the first round of the Olympics to Juan Martin Del Potro. Leaving the court in Rio, Djokovic wept. Then, in December, after losing his world No. 1 ranking, Djokovic split with his long-time coach Boris Becker.