Shanghai:Novak Djokovic lost all three of his matches at the Masters Cup. He never lost his sense of humor.
Aside from the skills that have earned him a No 3 ranking, the 20-year-old Serbian rising star has gained a reputation for his quick quips and impersonations of other top tennis pros like Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova some of which have drawn more than a million views on YouTube.
So even though he didn't win a set in the round-robin phase of the season-ending tournament for the world's top eight players, Djokovic still managed to be upbeat after his 6-4, 6-4 loss to Nadal on Thursday.
After all, it's been a pretty good year for the slender guy with the wicked serve and powerful groundstrokes.
"I had a lot of amazing moments and a lot of good memories," Djokovic said. "Probably I would say that one of the most amazing feelings I had this year in memories was the US Open final when I played in front of so many people."
But playing so many matches and meeting the increasing demands for endorsements and personal appearances took a toll. Djokovic was clearly exhausted here, showing flashes of brilliance but often muttering to himself or looking skyward for divine intervention as shots that would have been winners earlier in the year sailed long, wide or into the net.
Now he just wants to rest then start working to get better for next year.
"I'm going to go somewhere far, far away from everybody," Djokovic said with a smile, after joking that he was heading straight back to the practice court. "Rest is something which is necessary for me and the most important thing in this moment.
"It's been a long year."
He has already set some lofty goals for the future.
"I think everybody's dream, from every tennis player, is to win a Grand Slam," Djokovic said. "I always was dreaming to win Wimbledon because I think, in my opinion, that's the tournament with the biggest tradition. But, you know, the lifetime goal is to be the No 1 player of the world."
But to challenge top-ranked Roger Federer and Nadal, Djokovic said he needs to get stronger and more consistent.
"We all know how dominant those two players are," he said.
When asked if he will continue with his impersonations, Djokovic first seemed reluctant.
"Well, it takes physical energy," he said. "Whatever takes physical energy, I won't do it."
Then came the smile again.
"Yeah, maybe for the next year I will prepare something new," he said.
In the meantime, Andy Roddick was trying to figure out the best way to do an impression of Djokovic, whose tendency to bounce the ball up to 20 or more times before he serves might not make for good video.
"I could make like eight phone calls and order a pizza by the time you hit a service," Roddick told Djokovic before the tournament started.