Novak Djokovic: 'I still do not know what went wrong against Alexander Zverev'

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Novak Djokovic: 'I still do not know what went wrong against Alexander Zverev'

As was expected, Novak Djokovic plans to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics at Roland Garros and seek the first Olympic gold medal. It's the only notable achievement missing in Novak's rich collection, winning the other 14 biggest titles at least twice and setting many records that will never get broken.

Novak's only Olympic medal came in Beijing 2008 when he claimed the bronze, missing it in London four years later and suffering an early exit in Rio 2016. Djokovic was the favorite at the last year's Tokyo Olympics, conquering Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the past two months and making a strong start in the Japanese capital.

Sailing into the semis, Novak faced Alexander Zverev and suffered a heavy 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 loss in two hours and three minutes for a massive disappointment. The Serb opened a 6-1, 3-2 lead before fading from the court, dropping ten of the final 11 games to propel the German into the title clash.

Alexander defeated Novak after five straight losses against world no. 1, staying focused and sailing towards the finish line once he found his A-game. In a recent interview, Novak admitted he often thought about this match and tried to explain what went wrong for him.

Zverev lost serve thrice and scored five breaks from nine chances, stealing Novak's serve four times in a row from the second set to erase the deficit and emerge at the top. Alexander fired many winners from both wings and kept his composure while trailing to leave Novak behind in the second part of the clash.

Zverev won 13 points on the return in the opening set and reached numerous deuces but failed to take advantage of that. On the other hand, Novak broke him twice in a row for 6-1. In the second set's fifth game, Alexander netted a volley to fall 6-1, 3-2 behind, drifting further away from a positive result.

Alexander Zverev came from a set and a break down against Novak Djokovic in Tokyo.

Suddenly, Novak got broken at love in the next one, and that game marked the beginning of his downfall. Zverev grabbed another break in game eight and held after a forehand winner at 5-3 to introduce a decider.

Carried by this momentum, Alexander broke Novak at the beginning of the third set and fended off four break chances in the next one to cement the lead. Zverev secured another break in the third game with a forehand winner and moved 5-1 up with a couple of good holds.

Returning in game seven, Alexander landed a backhand winner to earn another break and sail over the top, setting the gold medal clash against Karen Khachanov. "I'm still wishing about winning the Olympic medal, especially the gold one; I'm not hiding that.

Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to play in the final and fight for it for Serbia in the last four editions. That's why I plan to compete in Paris 2024 and give my best if I'm allowed. I often thought about that Alexander Zverev match from Tokyo last year to understand what went wrong and where I made mistakes.

In the last couple of months, I played on a high level, starting my winning streak in Belgrade and conquering Roland Garros and Wimbledon. I did not lose a set before the semi-final in Tokyo, and I built a massive 6-1, 3-2 lead against Alexander.

Despite that, I felt my mental and physical strength was going down, and things went bad for me," Novak Djokovic said.