Novak Djokovic rues missed chances at Tokyo Olympics, but vows to ‘try to to keep going’ for Paris Games
Novak Djokovic vowed to come back stronger as he faced up to more Olympic heartbreak in Tokyo with the 20-time Grand Slam winner saying he is determined to compete at the 2024 Paris Games.
The world No 1 will leave the Japanese capital without a medal after losing out to Pablo Carreno Busta in a hard-fought battle for singles bronze and then pulling out of his mixed doubles clash with Nina Stojanovic with the same prize on the line citing a left shoulder injury.
Djokovic had been bidding to become the first man to win a Golden Slam of all four major titles and Olympic singles gold in the same year before a shock loss to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on Friday.
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 31, 2021
Rousing himself to go for bronze was always likely to be tough and he lost his cool early in the third set against Spain’s Carreno Busta when he failed to break serve, hurling one racket into the empty stands and then smashing another against the net post, as he fell to a 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 defeat.
This was the third time Djokovic, who had not lost back-to-back matches since 2019, has played for bronze at the Olympics but a 2008 victory over James Blake in Beijing remains his only medal.
He will be 37 in Paris in three years’ time but insisted he would continue his quest, while his immediate priority is to rest and recover both mentally and physically in time for his biggest goal – to win the US Open and become the first man in more than 50 years to complete the calendar Grand Slam.
Djokovic said: “I do have a regret for not winning a medal for my country. Opportunities missed both in doubles and singles. I didn’t deliver yesterday and today, the level of tennis dropped, also due to exhaustion, mentally and physically.
“But I don’t regret coming to the Olympics at all. I believe there is no coincidence in life, everything happens for a reason, and I had some heartbreaking losses at Olympic Games and some big tournaments in my career, and I know that those losses have usually made me stronger, in every aspect.
“I know that I will bounce back. I will try to keep going for Paris Olympic Games, I will fight for my country to win medals and I’m sorry that I disappointed a lot of sports fans in my country, but that’s sport.
“I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much. I felt it out on the court. The consequences physically hopefully will not create a problem for me for US Open. That’s something that I’m not sure about right now.
“But I’m not regretting giving it all because, when you play for your country, that’s necessary.”
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