Novak Djokovic failed to earn a medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, falling in the bronze medal match against Spain’s Pablo Carreo Busta, a day after his quest for the coveted Golden Slam came up short.
Djokovic became increasingly dissatisfied with his play as the match progressed, losing 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3. He once launched his racket five rows into the bleachers.
Later, he ruined his racket by slamming it into the net post, prompting the umpire to issue a verbal warning.
After the match, Djokovic said, “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.”
After the loss, Djokovic withdrew from a bronze medal mixed doubles match, citing a left shoulder injury.
Djokovic arrived in Olympics on the verge of making history, having already won three Grand Slams this year. He would have become the first man to complete the Golden Slam, which is reserved for tennis players who win four majors and the Olympics in the same calendar year if he had won both gold medals in Tokyo and the US Open.
Despite being seeded first in the Olympic tennis tournament, Djokovic struggled, losing in the quarterfinals to Germany’s Alexander Zverev on Friday, ensuring that Djokovic’s career medal count remained at one — a bronze medal won in 2008.
“I don’t regret coming to the Olympics at all. 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,” Djokovic said.