After starting the Olympics with eyes on a "Golden Slam," Novak Djokovic is leaving Tokyo without a medal.
The world No. 1 and reigning Australian Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion lost his bronze medal singles match to Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday. He then withdrew from a bronze medal mixed doubles match that was scheduled shortly after his singles loss, citing a left shoulder injury. Details of the injury were not immediately clear.
Barty, Peers win bronze by default
His withdrawal meant that Australia's Ash Barty and John Peers won bronze by default, while his Serbian playing partner Nina Stojanović lost a chance to play for an Olympic medal. It also denied the tennis world a rare clash of No. 1s against top-ranked women's player Barty.
Djokovic loses temper as match slips away
It all added up to a stunning pair of days on the court for Djokovic, who went to Tokyo riding a 23-match winning streak and now leaves with two straight losses. Djokovic found himself in the bronze medal match after losing to Germany's Alexander Zverev, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in Friday's semifinal.
Djokovic and Busta split the first two sets on Saturday, setting up a winner-take-all third set in the best-of-three match. At that point, the emotions of the week appeared to take their toll on Djokovic. After losing a point early in the third set, he threw his racket into the stands.
Djokovic lost in tennis but he’s got a future in hammer throw. pic.twitter.com/YZtJsB1hI1
— The Vaccinated Sean Kent (@seankent) July 31, 2021
Later in the set, he destroyed another racket while slamming it into the net stanchion in frustration.
#Djokovic smashing his racket, taking cooling showers and throwing his racket at the stands is the highlight of his failed attempt to even win bronze medal at the #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/F4c3j2cDNB
— Ekrem Idrizi (@EkremIdrizi) July 31, 2021
Busta won the set to secure a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 victory and the bronze medal. After the win, an emotional Busta told NBC: "This is the best title of my career, and I didn't win the title."
The loss marked Djokovic's third straight Olympics without a medal. He lost the bronze medal match in London in 2012 after winning bronze in 2008 in Beijing. He lost an opening-round stunner to Juan Martín del Potro in Rio in 2016.
He has a month to get back on track before the start of the US Open on August 30.
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