Thursday, September 23

Pablo Carreño Busta sends Novak Djokovic home from Tokyo without a medal | Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Novak Djokovic will leave the Tokyo Olympics without a medal after falling in the men’s bronze medal match 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 against Spanish Pablo Carreño Busta, crowning a painful 24 hours in which lost three games. before giving a walkover in the mixed doubles bronze medal match to Ashleigh Barty and John Peers.

Djokovic, whose schedule has been packed after victories at the French Open and Wimbledon before traveling to the Olympics, said he has no regrets traveling to Tokyo in search of the “golden slam.”

“I think there is no coincidence in life, everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I had some heartbreaking losses in the Olympics and some big tournaments in my career, and I know those losses have generally made me stronger.”

With a chuckle, Djokovic said that he will “try to move on to the Paris Olympics” but was cautious of his health ahead of the US Open as he attempts to complete a sweep of all four Grand Slam titles in 2021. After To cite a shoulder injury on his retreat, Djokovic was visibly fatigued as he walked away from the mixed zone.

“I gave everything, what was left in the tank, which was not so much,” he said. “I felt it on the court. I hope the physical consequences don’t create a problem for me for the US Open. That’s something I’m not sure of at this point. But I do not regret having given everything because when you play for your country it is necessary ”.

Pablo Carreño Busta collapses in triumph after sealing the bronze medal.
Pablo Carreño Busta collapses in triumph after sealing the bronze medal. Photograph: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

On the other side of the net, his opponent’s effort was a defining factor of the match. Carreño Busta established an early lead, bounced back after failing to convert match point into the second-set tiebreaker, and then managed his nerves in a long, tight game at the end.

His stamina left its mark on Djokovic, who threw a racket into the stands before smashing another in the third set. While the Serb can often channel his anger into focused tennis, this time it made little difference to his level of play. “It’s tense on the court,” he said. “In the heat of battle. It is not the first time and it will probably not be the last time. It’s not nice, of course, but it’s part, I suppose, of who I am. I don’t like doing these things. “

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For Carreño Busta, this result was further proof that he is in the shape of his life. During the 12 months since the pandemic hiatus, he has reached a semi-final at the US Open, a quarter-final at the French Open and won his first ATP 500 title; he is one of the top 10 players in all but name due to the ranking points freeze. Now he has his first Olympic medal.

As he absorbed the achievement, the normally serene Spaniard sat on the ground with his head in his hands and wept. “This is unbelievable. I’ve never felt like this before,” he said in his television interview. “I haven’t won the tournament, but it’s like the best title of my career.”

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