Novak Djokovic Loses in Olympics to Alexander Zverev
Novak Djokovic’s dream of a Golden Slam is over.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev returned from a set and a hiatus to beat Djokovic, the world’s No.1 male player, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, in the semi-finals of the Olympic tournament .
Djokovic was trying to win all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympic gold medal in a calendar year. He had won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon and came to Tokyo in search of the fourth gem. The United States Open takes place at the end of the summer.
Djokovic appeared to be on cruise control when Zverev’s serve was broken to be within three games of the game in the second set. Zverev kicked a ball through the stadium roof in frustration and looked destined for a quick end like Djokovic’s first four victims in Tokyo. He hadn’t lost a set at the Olympics and said he got better with every game.
But with little to lose, Zverev began to unleash his burgeoning serve and set up a crushing forehand to take control of the game, just as Djokovic began inexplicably spraying his shots off the field.
Zverev said he felt that even though he was down in the game, he didn’t feel like he was playing badly. Rather, he was playing Djokovic’s game, engaging in trades with him instead of swinging the ball and using his superior power to control points.
With the flick of a switch, Zverev had Djokovic on his heels, pushing him further and further into the back of the field.
Djokovic tried to slow Zverev’s momentum with a long bathroom break between the second and third set, as he did in tense times in the past, but it didn’t work, and in the two-by-three format, it lacked the cushion offered by the three-by-five-set format in Grand Slam tournaments.
After Zverev won seven straight games with apparent ease, sprinting to lead 4-0 in the deciding set, Djokovic faced a mountain too difficult, even for a player who had already made several stunning returns in the Grand’s opening three tournaments. Slam this year.
As a final insult, Zverev broke Djokovic’s serve for the third time in the final set to win the game. He grabbed her face in disbelief and kissed the Serbian champion at the net when it was over, then looked up at the sky wondering what had just happened.
“I thought I had a medal for Germany and this is probably the proudest moment of my career,” Zverev said. “The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world. “
Zverev said that by kissing Djokovic at the net he had nothing but praise for the player who has 20 Grand Slam titles and was 6-2 against him entering the game. He told him he would become the greatest player in the history of the sport, win the most Grand Slam and Masters titles and spend more weeks as the best player in the world than anyone else. .
“I knew he was chasing a Golden Slam but you can’t win it all,” Zverev said. “I told him he was the greatest player of all time, but I’m sorry.”
Djokovic skipped post-match press availability to calm down and prepare for his mixed doubles semi-final with Nina Stojanovic, which was scheduled for Friday night. He is set to face Pablo Carreño Busta in the bronze medal match on Saturday.
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