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Djokovic without medal at the Olympics

by Jonas Eriksson

To many it felt like a foregone conclusion – Djokovic gets the gold. But when we summarize the Olympic tennis, Djokovic is without a medal.

He was in semi-finals in the singles and in the mixed doubles with Nina Stojanovic. In the semi-finals, he was in a good position against Zverev, up a set and a break (6-1 3-2 up), but ended up losing 11 games in a row and the match 6-1 3-6 1-6. Afterward, he said he had a hard time getting over the disappointment. To make matters worse, he lost in the mixed doubles to Karatsev and Vesnina 6-7 5-7. This meant he had two bronze matches to play today (Sat 31st July). One against Carreno Busta in singles and one against Barty/Peers in the mixed doubles.

It was not surprisingly difficult for Djokovic to get motivated in the bronze medal match and Carreno Busta fought hard.

Djokovic wasn’t holding his emotions inside either:

Can you be the greatest player of all time and behave like this? Most would say yes. Some would argue that “greatest” doesn’t only talk about the results but how you behave on and off the court and rather use the terminology “best” of all time. If you subscribe to this view,  Djokovic will likely be the “best player of all time”, but he might never be the greatest.

To Carreno Busta bronze is like gold

Taking things in life for granted is dangerous. Perhaps that is what Djokovic did at the later stages of the Olympics. He was expected to win and started believing that anything else was impossible. This over-belief probably ended up hurting him. Carreno Busta came without aspirations of a gold medal and when he then had the chance to win a bronze medal, he gave it his all. This led him to defeat a frustrated Djokovic 6-4 6-7 6-3.

After the match, Djokovic pulled out of his mixed doubles match citing a shoulder injury. Sadly, leaving the chance for his partner Nina Stojanovic to win a bronze medal. An injury is an injury, but it is a rough situation for her not to be getting the possibility to win a medal.

What does this mean for Djokovic?

Playing three sets in brutally hot conditions without a crowd was going to be a bit trickier for Djokovic than best-of-fives in crowded grand slams like the French Open and Wimbledon. So, I’m not extremely surprised. Still, it must be a big blow to his ego not to be able to win the golden slam after being so close. However, he remains the overwhelming favorite for the US Open title in a few weeks.

What are your thoughts on Novak’s performance at the Olympics?

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QuickNick August 1, 2021 - 17:12

Novak is for sure a fantastic tennisplayer with extrem impressive achievements on the courts BUT he‘s nevertheless NOT GOAT!
His game is 100% pure perfection and efficiency but w/o any special skills despite his „all over the court covering“ playing style. He minimizes mistakes when it matters the most and reads the game better than anybody before, BUT still he‘s no GOAT!
Roger is pure elegance, hand skills and he made Tennis a world wide sport.
Rafa is pure fighting spirit, great athlete and the greatest clay court player ever.

Daniele August 3, 2021 - 16:44

Most of the tennis fans around the world could not wait to see Nole fall. The simple reality is that winning is never a given. Never. Djokovic climbed tournaments and rankings against two holy monsters, against their supporters who first hated each other, then have teamed up against the common enemy. He won epic battles by getting up after painful defeats. This is the fact. The rest is chatter. Keep chatting.

Edu August 7, 2021 - 12:49

It’s intolerable that Djokovic’s snout breaks a racquet facing Carreno. Making an aggressive gesture as if I wanted to hurt him. It was not only an action of breaking a racket, which is understandable, but of intmidation

Fernando August 12, 2021 - 15:53

Djokovic can win 30 grand slams but will never be the greatest. Only for his radical fans that believe in that ‘me against the world’ thing.

For me, to be the greatest it is not only about titles, but attitude and influence too. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal turned tennis a little more popular all around the world due to their incredible battles, respect and charisma. All natural. They don’t need to throw hearts to the crowd on their victories to be liked. Generations immitated their playing style, hair, clothes… This is something beyond titles.


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