In the fight for bronze, Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Novak Djokovic and thus the Serbian will leave Tokyo without a medal in the singles event.
Having lost to Alexander Zverev less than 24 hours earlier, the world number one was back on court less than 24 hours after being eliminated from completing the Golden Slam of four major titles plus the Olympic gold in the same year. The dejection in Djokovic’s face after that semi-final loss was evident, especially when his mixed doubles match with Nina Stojanovic ended in defeat. Elevating himself to the podium seemed impossible.
It was the third time Djokovic played in an Olympic bronze medal match. The Serbian tennis player beat James Blake in Beijing in 2008 but lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in London that year. Despite Djokovic’s best efforts, things went south in the decider against Busta. Carreno Busta was the opponent Djokovic was defaulting against at the US Open last summer for hitting a line judge with a ball, and he also threw his racket into the stands after he saved a breakpoint in the first game. After falling 3-0 behind, Djokovic angrily destroyed another racket without receiving any warning. Carreno Busta, was clearly shocked that the Serbian was not penalized for his conduct.
As he waited for his opponent to congratulate him at the net, the 30-year-old lay among the Olympic rings in celebration. As for Djokovic, he and Stojanovic have the chance to win the bronze medal in mixed doubles, where they will face Australians Ashleigh Barty and John Peers, in a rare contest between the men’s and women’s world number one players.