Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Novak Djokovic defeated in bronze medal match and misses out on medal
Novak Djokovic lost to Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 at the Ariake Tennis Park; world No 1 then pulled out of the mixed doubles bronze medal match due to a left shoulder injury; Serb avoided point penalty despite destroying racket
Last Updated: 01/08/21 2:01pm
Novak Djokovic will leave Tokyo without an Olympic Games medal after losing out to Pablo Carreno Busta in the men's singles bronze medal match.
The world No 1 was back on court less than 24 hours after his shock defeat by Alexander Zverev, which ended his hopes of becoming the first man to complete the Golden Slam of all four major titles and Olympic singles gold in the same year.
In the battle for bronze, Djokovic saved a match point in the second set to force Carreno Busta into a decider. However, he did not have the shot-making or oomph to overcome his Spanish opponent, and fell to a 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 defeat.
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Djokovic then withdrew from the mixed doubles bronze medal match he was due to play alongside Nina Stojanovic. He cited a left shoulder injury as the reason and the bronze medal is handed to Australia's Ashleigh Barty and John Peers.
"I do have a regret for not winning a medal for my country. Opportunities missed both in doubles and singles," said Djokovic.
"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 my 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."
This was the third time Djokovic has played a bronze medal match at the Olympics. He defeated James Blake in Beijing in 2008 but lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in London.
He had made winning a medal for Serbia one of his major goals for the season but his serve, which had gone badly off the boil against Zverev, was missing in action again in the first set and Carreno Busta broke for 3-2 while saving all five break points he faced.
He held his own in the second set, his serve much improved, but Carreno Busta repelled everything Djokovic could throw at him and he came from 1-4 down in the tie-break to force a match point at 5-6.
Djokovic showed his heart was still willing by saving it and taking the contest to a decider, but things quickly took another downward turn.
Carreno Busta was the opponent at the US Open last summer when Djokovic was defaulted for hitting a line judge with a ball and, when the Spaniard saved a break point in the opening game, his opponent again had a worrying loss of control, flinging his racket into the stands.
Remarkably, he did not receive a warning, and Carreno Busta was clearly shocked that Djokovic was not given a point penalty when he angrily destroyed another racket after falling 3-0 behind.
Asked about his actions on court, Djokovic said: "It was an emotional outburst and it happens. It's not the first time and not the last time, probably.
"It's not nice of course but it's part of, I guess, who I am. I don't like doing these things. I'm sorry for sending this kind of message but we're all human beings and sometimes it's difficult to control your emotions."
Djokovic tried to turn the match around but Carreno Busta, who has played the best tennis of his career over the last year, withstood superbly to claim his first Olympic medal, finally clinching his sixth match point.
The 30-year-old lay amid the Olympic rings at the back of the court in celebration as his opponent waited to congratulate him at the net.