Novak Djokovic had to retire in his game against Stan Wawrinka during the U.S. Open on Sunday, with the crowd jeering and booing the Serbian on his way to the locker room.

Djokovic Retires from Match Against Wawrinka

Novak Djokovic has left the U.S. Open during his game against Stan Wawrinka, citing shoulder pain as the reason. In the match against Wawrinka, the Serbian trailed 6-4, 7-5 and 2-1 when he decided to withdraw from the competition. The public didn’t seem happy, but Djokovic explained that he had had to deal with the pain for weeks as of the moment of the game.

Spectators booed the legendary tennis player as he walked away from the court. Djokovic, known as an upbeat character with a friendly attitude, didn’t give in to the jeers and just raised his thumb as is his custom leaving the court. During a press conference, Djokovic took the side of the audience arguing:

I’m sorry for the crowd. Obviously they came to see a full match, and just wasn’t to be I mean, a lot of people didn’t know what’s happening, so you cannot blame them.”

Despite his position in world tennis, Djokovic has never come out of a position of ego. Commenting on his injury, he explained that he had been doing a lot of efforts to numb the pain, using strong medication. Yet, sometimes the medication would simply have no effect.

The pain didn’t stop him from performing well, though. In fact, Djokovic secured victories in 36 out of his 37 Grand Slam matches. However, the Wawrinka match proved to be a breaking point for him.

Addressing his ambitions to catch up to Roger Federer’s record, Djokovic simply said that he hoped that the years ahead would let him do that. Similarly, the Serbian player noted that he would focus on keeping his body and mind in shape so as to perform well at the events in tennis that matter.

In Djokovic’s Grand Slam’s career, the player has withdrawn from a match on 13 occasions, the ATP reported. This effectively diminishes the chances to see a rematch between Djokovic and Federer at this leg of the Grand Slam.

A Chip on Djokovic’s Shoulder

Djokovic’s issues began on Wednesday when he was massaged by a trainer during changeovers. His pain seemed to subside for his Friday game, but no specifics were disclosed at the time. He even changed play styles for his two-fisted backhands, using his left hand instead.

Commenting on Djokovic’s performance Wawrinka also acknowledged that the Serbian was playing below-par. Massages didn’t help Djokovic that day and later the Serb just said that a player just knew when he couldn’t hit another ball any more.

Thankfully for him and his followers, Djokovic only meant an individual game, rather than his career ahead.