Novak Djokovic is an incredible tennis player, who will almost certainly finish his career with more Grand Slam singles titles than Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.
At present, all three are tied on 20, but the Serbian has time on his side.
He’ll probably never be as universally loved and respected, though, and his angry outbursts during Saturday’s bronze medal match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta are a good example of why.
Djokovic was clearly still fuming from losing his semi-final against Alexander Zverev on Friday, before losing in the mixed doubles at the same stage.
Those losses ended his hopes of securing what would have been a truly iconic ‘Golden Slam’ – all four tennis Grand slams, plus an Olympic gold medal in one year.
In a decisive third set against Busta, Djokovic grew frustrated after losing a point and threw his racket into the spectator-less stands.
The racket cleared five rows of stands before landing on a stairway.
Several games later, Busta had broken Djokovic’s serve to take control of the set. After losing a point, Djokovic slammed his racket into the net. He received a warning from the umpire.
You can see both of those incidents below:
Solid fling – maybe he can give hammer throw or discus a bash?
Djokovic eventually lost the match, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3, and said afterwards that he was sorry for his antics:
“But we’re all human beings, and sometimes it’s difficult to control your emotions.”
“…I just didn’t deliver yesterday and today,” Djokovic said. “The level of tennis dropped. Also, due to exhaustion — mentally and physically. I gave it [my] all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much.”
There is no doubting the toll that sportspeople are under at present, living life in strictly controlled bubbles and having to travel without friends and family.
Add in the stress of competing at the Olympics, and it can certainly become dangerous to one’s mental health, as is the case with Simone Biles.
Djokovic later withdrew from the bronze medal mixed doubles match, scheduled for Saturday evening, meaning his Serbian partner, Nina Stojanovic, forfeited the chance to compete for a medal.
He apologised to Stojanovic, saying his body “just gave up”.
Credit where credit is due, with Pablo Carreno Busta playing incredibly well to secure his bronze medal.
From the 40-second mark, you can see how much it means to him:
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