Novak Djokovic failed to clinch a medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, falling in the bronze medal match against Spain’s Pablo Carreo Busta, a day after his quest for the coveted Golden Slam came up short.
Djokovic became increasingly unhappy with his play as the match progressed, losing 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3. He once threw his racket five rows into the bleachers.
Later, he damaged his racket by smashing it into the nett post, prompting the umpire to issue a verbal warning.
After the match, Djokovic remarked, “I think it’s part of who I am. I despise having to do these things. I apologise for sending such a message, but we’re all human beings, and controlling our emotions may be tough at times.”
Djokovic withdrew from a bronze medal match in mixed doubles after the defeat, claiming a left shoulder pain.
Djokovic arrived in Rio on the verge of making history, having already won three Grand Slams this year.
He would have become the first man to complete the Golden Slam, which is reserved for tennis players who win four majors and the Olympics in the same calendar year, if he had won both gold medals in Tokyo and the US Open.
Despite being seeded first in the Olympic tennis competition, Djokovic struggled, losing in the quarterfinals to Germany’s Alexander Zverev on Friday, ensuring that Djokovic’s career medal count remained at one – a bronze medal won in 2008.
“I have no regrets about going to the Olympics,” Djokovic stated.
“Everything occurs for a reason, and throughout my career, I’ve experienced some heartbreaking losses in the Olympic Games and in major competitions. And I’m quite aware that such setbacks have typically strengthened me.”