Novak Djokovic had high hopes that he would win an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro this year, but his hopes were completely dashed on Sunday. He was shockingly defeated by Juan Martin del Potro in the first round of the men’s singles in a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) match at the 2016 summer Olympics.
The world No. 1 has dominated the tennis circuit, which is why everyone assumed he would have no problem defeating the Argentine. However, between del Poto’s mean serve and 41 winners, his excellent display shined through as he came out the winner in straight sets. As reported by ATP World Tour, the stunning loss for Djokovic shocked everyone. This seems like a repeat, as he also lost to del Potro four years ago in London, earning him a bronze medal.
It was obvious that this was a highly emotional moment for both men after del Potro’s victory, but for different reasons. Novak dreamed of winning his first Olympic medal not only for himself but to also represent his country of Serbia. Of course, being the gentleman that he is, Djokovic congratulated his opponent by giving him a big bear hug. Apparently, he told Juan that he was happy for him.
This was a tough loss for Novak. He quietly admitted after the match that he may not be handling this loss as well as others. Winning gold was his goal, and now he will have to wait another four years before he can try again.
“The wounds are still fresh. But you’ve got to deal with it. It’s not the first or the last time that I’m losing a tennis match. But Olympic Games, yeah, it’s completely different I mean, no doubt, it’s one of the toughest losses in my life, in my career. Not easy to handle.”
All is not lost in his quest for gold, as Novak and his doubles partner, Nenad Zimonjic, have made it into the second round, as reported by the official Rio Olympics site. It could be a little tough on him knowing that he has been knocked out for a singles gold medal, but he is expected to give his all as he always does on the tennis court.
Juan del Potro was also an emotional wreck as he was literally sobbing, but these were tears of joy. He cried on the shoulder of Novak Djokovic as these two talented tennis players had their moment between them. This just goes to show how much sportsmanship there is in the sport of tennis and the Serbian always seems to show that side of him, even in a massive loss such as this.
Del Potro has previously had a lot of bad luck after three surgeries on his left wrist and some may have thought that he would never make a comeback. It looks like he is off to a great start at the Rio Olympics. The 27-year-old pro was smoking out there on the Brazilian tennis court.
GRACIAS!!! ???????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/h6LBQVD3n6— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) August 8, 2016
It certainly didn’t look good for the Argentine before the match as he found himself stuck in an elevator for 40 minutes due to a power outage. He was finally rescued by Argentina’s handball team. His day certainly got better after that. Del Potro, who is currently ranked number 145 in the world, was the first to admit that he was not expecting to beat Novak Djokovic in the first round.
“Amazing, amazing match for me. I didn’t expect to beat Novak tonight, because I know my situation.”
He goes on to face Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round. It will be interesting to see how far the 2009 US Open winner will go in Rio.
[Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]