Novak Djokovic said he accepts responsibility for Serbia's Davis Cup semi-final defeat by Italy on Saturday after failing to convert three match points against Jannik Sinner.
The world number one had his Italian counterpart on the ropes in the second singles rubber at 5-4 up, but allowed Sinner to recover and win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to force the doubles decider.
Djokovic and Miomir Kecmanovic, who had won the opening singles rubber against Lorenzo Musetti, were defeated by Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-4 and leave Malaga disappointed.
"For me personally it's a huge disappointment, because I take the responsibility, obviously having three match points, being so close to win it," Djokovic told reporters.
"Yeah, it's unfortunate really. This is sport. When you lose for your country, you know, the bitter feeling is even greater."
Djokovic said it was "tough to swallow" the defeat, in a competition he was desperate to win with Serbia for the second time after their only triumph in 2010, which he was part of.
The 36-year-old Serb, a record 24-time men's Grand Slam winner, said he thought world number four Sinner's level might dip, but the Italian was relentless.
"I know Jannik's quality, but, you know, I was thinking maybe he's gonna drop a little bit, you know, in the doubles, but he didn't," said Djokovic.