Novak Djokovic misses out on singles medal at Tokyo Olympics

Posted at 12:58 AM, Jul 31, 2021


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost in the men's singles bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, falling to Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and 47 minutes.

Carreno Busta took the first set 6-4, but Djokovic battled back to take the second set to a tiebreak with the bronze medal on the line. The tiebreak was a nail-biter — Djokovic got out to a 4-1 lead, but Carreno Busta found a way to answer, taking it to 6-6 before Djokovic was able to string together a couple points for the 8-6 win. Carreno Busta went up 3-0 to start the third set before Djokovic won his first game, later winning 6-3 after six match points.

Early in the second set, the exhausted-looking Djokovic threw his racket into the empty stands in frustration. He later smashed a racket as well.

"This is the best title of my career and I didn't win the title. This is incredible," Carreno Busta said after the win. "This is for all the people who believe in myself, for all the people who support me always — when I win, but also when I lost."

Serbia's Djokovic cruised through the first four rounds of his fourth Olympics, never dropping a set. But Germany's Alexander Zverev ended his chances of winning his first Olympic gold, taking down Djokovic in three sets in the semifinals.  

Djokovic, 34, won the bronze medal in 2008, then lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the bronze medal match at the 2012 Games and the first round in 2016. In the quarterfinals this year, Djokovic tied the 2012 champion Federer's record of 13 Olympic match wins. 

Shortly after the singles bronze medal match, Djokovic will play also play in the mixed doubles bronze medal match with Nina Stojanovic, so he could still leave the Games with a medal.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion had big aspirations heading into the Olympics, eyeing a calendar "Golden Slam" after winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year.