MELBOURNE -- During his postmatch on-court interview with Jim Courier at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, Novak Djokovic said he hoped to decrease his unforced errors. To which a fan shouted: "No more drop shots!"
As the crowd erupted in laughter, Djokovic turned from Courier and yelled back, "What did you say?'' The fan yelled back, "No more drop shots!"
"OK, thanks, mate," Djokovic replied. "I hate to say it, but you are absolutely right."
Djokovic then concluded his interview by saying he hoped to play his best and keep going in the Australian Open. As he walked away, Courier drew more laughter by adding, "With no drop shots, you've got a chance."
The world's No.1 player made an astounding, unbelievable 100 unforced errors in his match against Gilles Simon. And not only that, he won! Yes, 100 unforced errors and a 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory that pushed Djokovic to his 27th consecutive quarterfinal here.
Djokovic said he hopes to cut that number to at least half in his next match against Kei Nishikori. To do so, here are the Top 7 Unforced Errors Djokovic Should Avoid:
No, not the 6-0 kind -- the wheat-flour type. Djokovic took his career to its present lofty level a couple years ago when he switched to a gluten-free diet, which he writes about in his memoir/diet book, "Serve to Win." As he wrote, the day after he reintroduced himself to gluten as a test, "I felt like I'd spent the night drinking whiskey." So, best to avoid bagels with cream cheese.
Djokovic blamed his 100 unforced error total on the style of his opponent: "You can expect unforced errors when you're playing Gilles Simon, who is one of the best counter-punchers in the tour." Fortunately, he doesn't have to worry about Simon now. Unfortunately, Nishikori is another great counter-puncher. At least Djoker isn't facing Rocky.
5. Opponents in ugly shorts
Stan Wawrinka handed Djokovic his only loss at a Grand Slam last year. Unfortunately for Djokovic, Wawrinka is still in the draw here and would play him in the final. Still, his neon-tangerine shorts here haven't been nearly as ugly as those plaid, red-and-white eyesores in France.
4. The dentist
Amid the match-fixing scandal, Djokovic was hounded with questions at a postmatch news conference about an Italian newspaper story that suggested he might have purposely lost a match nine years ago. He denied the claim and also noted that, back in 2007 when the match actually took place, he had wisdom teeth extracted and was feeling about 30 percent of normal. The Tennis Integrity Unit completely agreed with him, but he still should avoid taking the court after a root canal.
3. Darth Vader masks
Djokovic wore a Darth Vader mask onto the court at the 2012 Paribas Masters in Paris. He lost to Sam Querrey. Hmm. Perhaps a light saber would be better to bring on the court when facing a counter-puncher.
2. Opponents wearing Uniqlo
Like Djokovic, Nishikori has a sponsorship deal with the Japanese clothing company Uniqlo. Said Djokovic: "Whoever loses, Uniqlo wins." In that case, he might want to switch to Serena's Nike two-piece.
1. Yes, drop shots
"It would be interesting to see how many drop shot points I won," Djokovic said after Sunday's match. "It's probably one out of 40, a very low percentage. The person who shouted was absolutely right, but sometimes it works. It's my game. As I said, I don't think it can get much worse than this."
Let's hope not.