TOKYO (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic was inconsolable after his surprise loss to Germany’s Alexander Zverev at the Tokyo Games on Friday, saying he struggled to stay positive after his bid to become the first man to finish the Golden ended Slam. .
The Serbian was unexpectedly beaten 1-6 6-3 6-1 by fifth-overall Zverev, dashing his hopes of winning an Olympic gold in singles, the only major honor missing from his long list of accolades.
The world number one had arrived in Tokyo for the Golden Slam – winning all four majors and Olympic gold in the same year – after triumphing at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2021.
It was a tough day in the office for Djokovic, who went on to lose in the mixed doubles semi-final with partner Nina Stojanovic, the pair losing 7-6 (4) 7-5 to Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev of the Olympic Committee. Russian. .
Djokovic, who won singles bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, admitted he found it hard to console himself by repeating the feat or finishing a calendar-year Grand Slam by winning the US Open in September. .
“I feel so bad right now, I can’t be positive right now,” said Djokovic, who will face Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in Saturday’s bronze medal game.
“I don’t know if I feel bad … in every way, but hopefully tomorrow a new start. I can recover and win at least one medal for my country.”
In his singles match, Djokovic seemed to be on course for an easy win when he won the first set for the loss of just one match, then took a break in the middle of the second.
But world number five Zverev found another gear, stepping back and rewinding eight straight games to take the set and secure a dominant lead in the decider.
Zverev sealed the victory with a winning backhand to become the first German to make an Olympic tennis final since Tommy Haas won silver at the Sydney Games in 2000.
“It’s just sport, you know, he played better. I have to give him credit for turning the game upside down,” Djokovic said of Zverev.
“He served extremely well, I didn’t get too many stares on the second serve. My serve dropped dramatically, I didn’t get any 3-2 free points on the second.”
“Yeah, my game fell apart, his game – he won, I think seven or eight games in a row and yeah, that was it.”
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)