Djokovic denied Olympic bronze, throws racket

Tennis

TOKYO — Novak Djokovic got here to the Tokyo Olympics aiming for a Golden Slam. He’ll depart with out a medal and can want a while to get better from a draining efficiency in excessive situations that did not meet expectations.

The highest-ranked Djokovic misplaced his cool and abused his racket a number of occasions throughout a 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 loss to Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain within the bronze-medal match of the tennis match on Saturday.

It was Djokovic’s third defeat in two days and it got here lower than 24 hours after he was overwhelmed by Alexander Zverev of Germany within the singles semifinals. That ended his bid for a Golden Slam, which is successful all 4 Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold in the identical yr.

“I gave all of it, no matter I had left within the tank — which was not a lot.”

He was due again on courtroom later Saturday for one closing match in Tokyo. He and Serbian companion Nina Stojanovic have been scheduled to face the Australian duo of Ash Barty and John Friends for the bronze medal in blended doubles. However Djokovic withdrew from that match citing a left shoulder harm — handing the bronze medal to Australia.

Djokovic’s frustration was evident in his on-court habits because the match towards Carreno Busta wore on.

Having saved a match level within the second-set tiebreaker, Djokovic threw his racket over 5 rows of seats into the stands after he could not get to a stop-volley winner from Carreno Busta to conclude a protracted rally within the opening sport of the third.

A few video games later, when Carreno Busta had damaged his serve to take management of the decisive set, Djokovic once more misplaced his cool and slammed his racket into the web submit throughout a change of ends. He then picked up the mangled racket and tossed it into the photographers’ pit.

“It is a part of, I assume, who I’m,” Djokovic mentioned. “I do not like doing this stuff. I am sorry for sending this sort of message however we’re all human beings and generally it is troublesome to manage your feelings.”

Djokovic obtained a verbal warning for the net-post incident, however Carreno Busta appeared to query the chair umpire as to why it wasn’t some extent penalty because it was the second occasion of racket abuse. The umpire, nevertheless, hadn’t warned Djokovic for the primary incident.

Djokovic, who additionally misplaced with Stojanovic within the blended doubles semifinals on Friday, performed a complete of 16 units over seven matches in 4 days.

As it has been nearly all week on the Ariake Tennis Park, warmth was a significant component, with the temperature hovering to 90 levels F (32 levels C) and stifling humidity making it really feel like 100 levels F (38 levels C).

Each Djokovic and Carreno Busta put ice luggage on their necks throughout changeovers. Djokovic additionally grabbed a rubber tube blowing cool air and caught it up his shirt.

Later, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland will play Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic within the ladies’s singles gold-medal match.

Carreno Busta should wait till Sunday to be awarded his bronze medal, after Zverev takes on Russian participant Karen Khachanov within the males’s closing. That, in fact, was the match that Djokovic got here anticipating to play in.

Djokovic received the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon this yr and wanted the Olympic and US Open titles to finish the Golden Slam assortment.

Steffi Graf in 1988 stays the one tennis participant to realize the Golden Slam. However Djokovic can nonetheless go after the calendar-year Grand Slam by successful the US Open — one thing no man has achieved since Rod Laver in 1969.

The US Open begins in a month.

Djokovic mentioned he hoped that his efforts in Tokyo wouldn’t “create (a) downside” for him on the U.S. Open. He then added: “That is one thing that I am undecided about proper now.”

Preserving his mood below management has been a difficulty earlier than for Djokovic, who was disqualified from final yr’s U.S. Open after unintentionally hitting a line decide within the throat with a ball throughout a fourth-round match towards Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta went on to achieve the semifinals of the US Open for his career-best consequence at a significant.

Now the Eleventh-ranked Carreno Busta has received an Olympic medal for one more breakthrough second — a second he cherished by falling down onto his again subsequent to the Olympic rings printed on the courtroom after Djokovic netted a forehand on the Spaniard’s sixth match level.

Djokovic’s solely Olympic medal stays a bronze in singles from 2008 — his first Olympics.

“I do not remorse coming to (the) Olympics in any respect,” Djokovic mentioned. “Every thing occurs for a cause and (I’ve) had some heart-breaking losses on the Olympic Video games and a few large tournaments in my profession. And I do know that these losses have often made me stronger.”

The 34-year-old Djokovic mentioned he would attempt to “preserve going” via the following Olympics in Paris in three years.

“I do know that I’ll bounce again,” he mentioned. “I’ll combat for my nation to win medals.”

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