Sunday, December 5

Carreño snatches the bronze medal from Djokovic in Tokyo

  • The tennis player from Gijón achieves victory over number one in a tough match in which he needed six match balls

Novak Djokovic it was the living reflection of an exhausted man. From the beginning of the game practically. Between dot and dot he snorted like an exhausted buffalo. He paid with the face of suffering. He balanced his tired body on the rest and paced an ice pack on his head at every break. He had already said at the beginning of the tournament that he was pushing Tokyo to the limit. Even so, he put forth a remarkable physical effort, but the poise of Pablo Carreño Busta they deprived him of the bronze medal. The Spanish defeated the Serbian and won the fifth medal of the delegation (6-4, 6-7, 6-3) in a match that became very tough.

Carreño took advantage of the weakness of the number one in the world and put him on the ropes without mercy. The Spanish player was seen whole, who performed much more effectively than in the semifinal against Russian Khachanov. He did not get off-center even when he let out a match ball in the second set. Nor was he intimidated by a resurrection of the Serbian. It was a medal that sweated and demanded maximum precision. Up to six match balls needed. It was Carreño’s first victory over number one. Good place to start. “It is the greatest achievement of my life, it is something incredible. I do not know how I feel right now,” he said as soon as the battle was over.

A few inches from the Golden Slam

Carreño won the first set with the reliability of a metallurgical machine. Solid in the long game, better in the serve than the day before and the decisions that were played at all times, just what was playing. Now parallel, now cross the ball …

Djokovic, the tennis player who has been one inch away from the Golden Slam, the feat of winning all the big titles in one season, gave up the set because he was weak and Carreño, no. The man from Gijón seemed to be wearing a shield that repelled the heatwave. Only in appearance, because the humidity also took its toll, as he would later recognize.

“It is the greatest achievement of my life. It has been incredible, right now I don’t even know how I feel”

Pablo Carreño Busta, tennis player

With the arrival of the shadow on the track, Djokovic was recomposing. The sun had sucked the energies out of him; the shadow seemed to give them back. He resisted the advance of the second set. He reached the tie break. Carreño had a match ball. But he did not hunt that opportunity and the Serbian equalized the hot game.

Solidness of the gijonés

With the shadow already covering the entire track, Djokovic looked like he would go to more, but that did not happen. Carreño, sixth seed of the tournament, grew. “When I lost the second set I was dead. I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, but I could.” He didn’t let the missed chance get to him and kept his competitive composure in the third set.

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The Serbian, on the other hand, lost his temper. When he did not reach a ball, he decided to furiously throw the racket into the stands. Unheard. This is the man who once got into trouble for hitting a judge at the US Open and asked for forgiveness. Luckily there was no one, as is usual in these Games. Then, with the consummation of 3-0, he smashed another racket with a violent blow to a net post.

Carreño finished the job with a formidable solidity, with inspired tennis and an entire physique, oblivious to the loss of roles of the opponent, who did not stop fighting until the last ball. The man from Gijon needed six match balls to finish the job and was added to the list of a dozen Spanish tennis players with an Olympic medal. Carreño dropped to the ground happily. Djokovic, for his part, had to lick his wounds and prepare for another match, the mixed doubles final.

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