After a “terrible” Friday in Tokyo for Novak Djokovic who saw two chances at a first Olympic gold evaporated, things somehow got even worse on Saturday.
The World No. 1 was faced with a battle for the bronze medal against a hungry Pablo Carreno Busta and the Spaniard came away with the medal with a grinding 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 win in 2 hours, 47 minutes.
The victory was Carreno Busta’s first career medal (he was playing his first Olympics).
“I won Davis Cup, and I’ve gone far in other tournaments, but winning an Olympic medal is indescribable,” an emotional Carreno Busta said. “I’ve felt the support from Spain, my family and people around me, and have received fond messages from those who saw me lose yesterday. I want to share this medal with all of them.”
For Djokovic, it was his third loss in the last 24 hours and his second loss in three career bronze singles matches. And afterward, he announced he would not play in the mixed doubles bronze with Nina Stojanovic because of his right shoulder.
“I do have a regret for not winning a medal for my country,” Djokovic said to ITFTennis.com. “Opportunities missed both in mixed doubles and in singles. I didn’t deliver yesterday and today the level of tennis dropped, also due to exhaustion mentally and physically.
“I don’t regret coming to the Olympics at all, of course not,” he added. “I believe there is no coincidence in life. Everything happens for a reason.”
So Djokovic leaves Tokyo with no medals after multiple golds were expected. And Stojanovic, who played so well to get to the bronze match, didn’t get a chance to play for her first medal. Djokovic’s next chance will be Paris 2024 on the Roland Garros red clay. He’s be 37.
“I’ve had some heart-breaking losses at the Olympic Games and some big tournaments in my career. I know that those losses have usually made me stronger in every aspect. I know that I will bounce back.
“I will try to keep going for the Paris Olympic Games. I will fight for my country to win medals. I’m sorry that I disappointed a lot of sports fans in my country, but that’s sport. I gave it all – whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much, I left it out on the court.”
Djokovic’s next event could be Cincinnati. He already withdrew from the Canadian Open. With the “Golden Slam” history, the 34-year-old will reset for a run in New York to capture the Calendar Slam.
“The consequences physically hopefully will not create a problem for me for the US Open,” Djokovic said. “That’s something that I am not sure about right now, but I’m not regretting giving it all because at the end of the day, when you play for your country, that’s necessary.”
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