Novak Djokovic has promised to “bounce back” in the 2024 Paris Olympics after failing to win his first Games medal.
I am sorry that I disappointed fans in Serbia, but that’s sport. I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much Novak Djokovic
Djokovic had entered the Tokyo renewal red-hot favourite for singles gold which would have kept alive his hopes of becoming the first male to achieve the Calendar Golden Slam of four majors and a Games title.
But it all fell apart for the Serb, who moved alongside absent rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal at the top of the men’s Slams-won list with his 20th major triumph at Wimbledon earlier in the month, having claimed the 2021 Australian and French Open titles.
The world No.1 was beaten by German Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and suffered a three-set reverse to Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the battle for bronze before withdrawing from his mixed doubles’ fight for third alongside Nina Stojanovic due to a shoulder problem.
The 34-year-old said: “I’ve had some heartbreaking losses at the Olympic Games.
“I know that those losses have usually made me stronger. I know that I will bounce back. I will keep going for the Paris Olympic Games. I will fight for my country to win medals.
“I am sorry that I disappointed fans in Serbia, but that’s sport. I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much.”
Djokovic, who hopes to complete his fourth Slam triumph of the year at the US Open, smashed one racket and slung another as he went down 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to Carreno Busta.
He managed to save a second-set match point to extend the encounter into a third set
The Serb had been defaulted for striking a line judge with the ball against Carreno Busta when the pair met at the New York major last September.
And his grip on self-control slipped again during his latest encounter with the Spaniard when he launched his racket into the empty stands and whacked the replacement against the net post as he battled to break the Spaniard.
Djokovic and Stojanovic had been due to take on John Peers, former men’s doubles partner of Britain’s Jamie Murray, and Ash Barty from Australia for bronze.
He and his compatriot had lost 7-6 (4) 7-5 in their semi-final to Asian Karatsev and Elena Vesnina of the Russian Olympic Committee.
* Quotes from Tennis Head