Novak Djokovic, his Golden Slam bid ended for at least three more years, rested his head on Alexander Zverev as his German friend and opponent consoled him.
Zverev stated, “I told him he was the greatest of all times.” “I knew he was following history.”
Djokovic, the highest-ranked Serb, who seemed to be invincible at all the major tournaments this season, was defeated by Zverev 6-1, 6-3, Friday in the semifinals in Tokyo Olympics tennis tournament.
Djokovic wanted to be the first man to win all four Grand Slam tournaments as well as Olympic gold simultaneously. Djokovic won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in this year’s French Open. He also needed the Olympic title and the U.S. Open title to complete his Golden Slam collection.
Djokovic stated, “I feel so horrible right now.” “I cannot be positive right now.”
Steffi Graf, 1988 remains the only tennis player who has achieved the Golden Slam. Djokovic still has the opportunity to win the U.S. Open in a calendar year, something that no man has done since Rod Laver’s 1969 achievement.
Zverev stated that Zverev won 20 Grand Slams. “So, you can’t have it all.
He’ll win the most Grand Slams, win the most Master Series and be the longest player at the top of the world. Zverev stated that he believes this to be the case.
Karen Khachanov will play Zverev in the gold-medal match. The Russian defeated Pablo Carreno Busta from Spain 6-3, 3-3.
Djokovic will be playing two bronze-medal matches Saturday. In singles, he will face Carreno Busta. Then, he’ll team up with Nina Stojanovic, his Serbian partner in mixed doubles against Ash Barty of Australia and John Peers.
Djokovic made a number of mistakes on a humid, muggy evening.
Djokovic led by a set and break in the second, before Zverev won the remaining 10 games.
It’s just sport. Djokovic stated that he played better. He turned the match around. He played extremely well. I don’t think I got too many stares on my second serve. My serve dropped dramatically. I didn’t receive any points for 3-2 up in second. My game fell apart.”
Djokovic hadn’t lost since being beaten by Rafael Nadal in the Italian Open final 2 1/2 years ago.
Marin Cilic, a Croatian doubles champion, said that “he’s gone these past few months without any loses and for him it is a big loss…just collapsing in end.”
Cilic noted that the extreme heat and humidity at the Ariake Tennis Park throughout the tournament may have caught up with Djokovic.
Cilic stated that although it was very disappointing for him, he is still an incredible champion and has many years to do great things.”
Zverev’s backhand winner on the line was so close that Djokovic couldn’t make it out of the way, Djokovic ran to the net and received a warm hug by Zverev.
Zverev stated, “Ofcourse I’m happy I won, but at the end of the day (how) he feels,”
Djokovic won his only Olympic medal in bronze singles at 2008 Beijing Games.
Djokovic returned to the court with Stojanovic just over an hour later in the mixed semifinals. Stojanovic lost that match too, being beaten by the Russian duo Elena Vesnina & Aslan Karatsev 7-6, (4), 7-5
Djokovic stated, “I feel terrible right at the moment in all senses but tomorrow hopefully fresh starts I can recover to win at least one medal for my nation,”
Djokovic had played two matches for the third day in succession.