Djokovic's temper flares up as he leaves Tokyo empty-handed
TOKYO (AP) - Novak Djokovic came to the Olympic Games in Tokyo with the aim of achieving a Golden Slam. He will go without a medal and will take some time to recover from a grueling performance in extreme conditions that did not live up to expectations.
The front runner Djokovic lost prudence in a 6: 4, 6: 7 (6), 6: 3 defeat against the Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta in the game for the bronze medal of the tennis tournament on Saturday and abused his racket several times.
It was Djokovic's third defeat in two days and it came less than 24 hours after he was beaten by Alexander Zverev from Germany in the singles semi-finals. This ended his application for a Golden Slam, which in the same year won all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold.
“I didn't deliver yesterday and today. The tennis level sank. Also because of exhaustion - mentally and physically, ”said Djokovic. "I gave everything, whatever I had in the tank - which wasn't that much."
Djokovic's frustration showed in his behavior on the pitch as the game progressed.
After saving a match point in the tie-break of the second set, Djokovic tossed his stick over five rows of seats in the stands after failing to reach a stop-volley winner from Carreño Busta to a long rally in the opening game of the third.
A few games later, when Carreño Busta broke his serve to take control of the decisive set, Djokovic lost his temper again and slammed his stick against the net post when he switched sides. Then he picked up the tattered bat and threw it into the photographer's pit.
"It's part of who I am," said Djokovic. “I don't like doing these things. I'm sorry for sending this type of message, but we are all human and sometimes it is difficult to control your emotions. "
Djokovic received a verbal warning for the net post incident, but Carreño Busta appeared to ask the chair umpire why it wasn't a point penalty as it was the second case of racket abuse. However, the referee had not warned Djokovic of the first incident.
Djokovic, who also lost in the mixed doubles semi-finals against Serbian partner Nina Stojanovic on Friday, played a total of 16 sets in seven games in four days.
He should be back on the field for one final game in Tokyo later on Saturday. He and Stojanovic should compete in mixed doubles against the Australian duo Ash Barty and John Peers for the bronze medal. However, Djokovic withdrew from that game due to a left shoulder injury and presented the bronze medal to Australia.
"I'm sorry Nina can't play, but my body just gave up," said Djokovic, adding that he has "multiple" injuries. "I played under medication, in incredible pain and exhaustion."
Since it was practically all week at Ariake Tennis Park, heat was a major factor, with the temperature rising to 32 ° C and the stifling humidity feeling like 38 ° C.
Both Djokovic and Carreño Busta put ice packs around their necks when converting. Djokovic also grabbed a rubber hose that blew cool air and tucked it inside his shirt.
Later, Belinda Bencic from Switzerland will meet Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic in the women's singles for the gold medal.
Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani from Brazil also defeated the Russian couple Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina for bronze in the women's doubles.
Carreño Busta will have to wait until Sunday to win his bronze medal after Zverev takes on Russian player Karen Khachanov in the men's final. That was, of course, the game Djokovic expected to play.
Djokovic won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon that year and needed the Olympic and US Open titles to complete the Golden Slam collection.
In 1988 Steffi Graf remains the only tennis player to have reached the Golden Slam. But Djokovic can still go to the calendar year’s Grand Slam by winning the US Open - something no one has done since Rod Laver in 1969.
The US Open will begin in a month.
Djokovic said he hoped his efforts in Tokyo at the US Open would not create a "problem" for him. Then he added, "This is something I'm not sure about right now."
Keeping his temper under control has previously been a problem for Djokovic, who was disqualified at the US Open last year after he accidentally struck a line judge in the throat with a ball during a fourth-round match against Carreño Busta.
Carreño Busta reached the semifinals of the US Open for his best result in a major.
Now eleventh-placed Carreño Busta has won an Olympic medal for yet another breakthrough - a moment he cherished by falling on his back next to the Olympic rings printed on the pitch after Djokovic scored a forehand on the Spaniard's sixth match point.
Djokovic's only Olympic medal remains a bronze in singles from 2008 - his first Olympic Games.
“I don't regret coming to the Olympic Games at all,” said Djokovic. “Everything happens for a reason and (I) have had some heartbreaking losses in my career in the Olympics and some major tournaments. And I know that these losses have usually made me stronger. "
Djokovic, 34, said he would try to "hold out" the next Paris Olympics in three years.
"I know I'll recover," he said. "I will fight for my country to win medals."
Associated Press reporter Syd Fryer in Tokyo and Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia contributed to this report.
Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
In this article:
Serbian tennis player
Pablo Carreno Busta
Spanish tennis player
German tennis player
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