The world of sport dwells on Novak Djokovic’s “neolympic” behavior at the end of a tennis match in Tokyo, Japan. Surprisingly, the Serbian champion did not win any of the medals and could not accept the unexpected failure with grace.
Some time ago, Novak Djokovic defended himself fiercely when he was described as the “bad guy” in world tennis. Under the five Olympic rings, however, he himself reinforced that reputation again through his actions.
The Serbian tennis player was clearly the favorite in Tokyo to win a gold medal, as he did not have a serious competition between his rivals this season. He was to attack the so-called Golden Slam, a mammoth success involving winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympics in a single season.
However, he did not follow the triumphs of the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the Japanese capital.
His run was stopped in the semifinals by future Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, and then Djokovic didn’t even face Spaniard Pablo Carreň-Busta in the battle for bronze. After a difficult duel, he repeatedly failed to keep his nerves and sparked a new storm of backlash from fans and the media.
“The ways in which he lost the match for third place raised the question of whether this great champion has yet forgotten how to lose with elegance and honor,” wrote expert Kevin Palmer in Tennis365 magazine.
He described Djokovic as one of the most polarizing sports icons of all time.
The world number one completely failed mentally at the end of the duel. At one point, Djokovic angrily fired a rocket at the Olympic symbol depicted on the net.
“His frustration grew beyond the peace. He completely destroyed the racket, it’s almost fragmented,” asked Annabel Croft, Eurosport tennis expert.
His second big explosion aroused much resentment, during which he launched a rocket into the auditorium. Although practically empty, but relatively close to where several people were.
Djokovic did not get a penalty point for this excess, which displeased the Spanish team and subsequently also the player himself, who could not understand the failure to impose a penalty on his opponent.
“Who knows if that wouldn’t mean disqualification in the end. Djokovic certainly didn’t leave a positive impression,” thought Croft, the former British number one, recalling Djokovic’s exclusion from the US Open last year. latest. Around this time, the Serbian also hit the lineman in New York in a duel with Carreň-Busta in New York.
Rafael Nadal also commented, admitting he didn’t quite understand Djokovic’s similar flights.
“The image he sends is not the best. It’s important to avoid that, especially if you’re a role model for a lot of kids and the best player in the world. It’s kinda weird to see someone. ‘One so successful reacting that way, “omitted the Spanish Olympic champion in Tokyo.
“It was an explosion of emotions, it’s happening to me. It’s not the first or the last time. Of course it’s nothing good, but it’s part of me. We are human and that ‘ sometimes it’s hard for me to control my emotions, ”Djokovic explained.
He prepared another shock for the sporting public after losing the game, when he announced that he would not be in the mixed doubles bronze medal game. He cited a shoulder injury as the reason and also referred to “physical and mental exhaustion and unimaginable pain”.
Nonetheless, doubts immediately began to arise over his explanation.
“I’m really surprised. Of course it was a brutal tennis match, he was on the court for almost three hours, but I didn’t see any specific signs that he had a problem,” Croft said. , regretting the unfortunate fate of Djokovic’s partner in the mix.
25-year-old Nina Stojanovičová was able to aim for life’s greatest success in the bronze medal match against Australian pair Ashleigh Barty – John Peers.
“It must have broken her heart. She did everything to play the match, it was very important for her personal fame. Winning a medal would be something really special for her”, regretted Croft, 92nd player in the world rankings. .
Djokovic, meanwhile, promised his Serbian supporters that he would try to win the medal in three years at the Olympic Games in Paris.
“I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I have had several such heartbreaking defeats before, at the Olympics and other major events,” said the winner of a record twenty Grand Slam tournaments, who won just one Olympic bronze medal as a 21-year-old in Beijing in 2008.
In London, four years later, he lost a bronze medal match to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, and the same player knocked him out in the first round of the Rio Olympic tournament five years ago, that the Serbian cried on the court.
“In three years I will fight again to win more medals for Serbia. I am sorry that I disappointed a lot of fans here, but it is only a sport. Such defeats make me stronger,” Djokovic said before leaving Tokyo. He will be thirty-seven at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
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