A day after Novak Djokovic saw his quest for the elusive Golden Slam fall short, the world No. 1 failed to secure a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, falling in the bronze medal match to Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta on Saturday.
Over the course of a 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 loss, Djokovic grew increasingly frustrated with his performance. In one instance, he launched his racket five rows into the stands.
Later on, he mangled his racket by slamming it into the net post, receiving a verbal warning from the umpire.
“It’s part of, I guess, who I am,” Djokovic said after the match. “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.”
After the loss, Djokovic withdrew from a bronze medal mixed doubles match, citing a left shoulder injury.
Djokovic entered the Olympics on the cusp of history, having already won three Grand Slams on the year. Should he have won both a gold medal in Tokyo and the US Open, he would have become the first man to ever complete the Golden Slam, a feat reserved for tennis players who win four majors and the Olympics in the same calendar year.
Despite earning the top seed in the Olympic tennis tournament, Djokovic underwhelmed, first falling to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday, ensuring that Djokovic’s career medal count would remain at one — a bronze medal won in 2008.
“I don’t regret coming to the Olympics at all,” Djokovic said. “Everything happens for a reason and [I’ve] had some heart-breaking losses at the Olympic Games and some big tournaments in my career. And I know that those losses have usually made me stronger.”