Pablo Carreno Busta shares what did job vs Novak Djokovic in bronze medal match upset

In the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal match, Carreno Busta stunned Djokovic in three sets.

by Dzevad Mesic
Pablo Carreno Busta shares what did job vs Novak Djokovic in bronze medal match upset
© Getty Images Sport - Naomi Baker

Pablo Carreno Busta was banking on one unexpected thing in his Tokyo Olympics bronze medal match as the Spaniard was wondering if the Serb would be mentally impacted after failing to land the gold medal.

Throughout the first seven months of 2021, Djokovic was playing great and he came to Tokyo determined to get that one thing that was missing in his resume. And when the tournament started, the Serb easily got through his opening four matches without a dropped set.

Facing Alexander Zverev in the semifinal, Djokovic was dominating the German and he was comfortably up by a set and a break. That's when one of the biggest collapses of Djokovic's career happened and Zverev went on to win 1-6 6-3 6-1. 

Even with the loss, Djokovic could have still left the tournament with a medal - but he didn't come to the tournament for that. Mentally, it was evidently hard for Djokovic to accept what happened and that led to him not playing that well against Carreno Busta, who took advantage of it to win 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3. 

“I was very focused from the start, knowing what I had to do and knowing that maybe he was going to be more affected than me by the semi‐final defeat because his goal was to win gold. He was going to the Olympics to win gold, which was the only thing left for him to do to complete his immense record," Carreno Busta told Eurosport.

"I knew that mentally it was going to be hard for him and it's true that he started the match as if he wanted to go very quickly, as if he wanted to say to himself: 'Well, I'm the best, I'm going to win and that's it, I'm going to get rid of this guy quickly.'"

Pablo Carreno Busta
Pablo Carreno Busta © Getty Images Sport - Naomi Baker

What Djokovic said after losing to Carreno Busta?

When planning for the 2021 season, Djokovic had the Olympics circled and he was doing everything to be ready for the event. But because Djokovic was winning a lot, it also had a bit of a negative consequence because it took him a lot to win the French Open and Wimbledon that year. 

And since the Tokyo Olympics were starting just two weeks after his 2021 Wimbledon win, Djokovic had to quickly go from grass to hard courts. Also, many already declaring the Serb the winner of the Olympics didn't help either. 

However, Djokovic looked pretty well in Tokyo as he easily made the semifinal in singles and he reached the same stage with Nina Stojanovic in the mixed doubles event. But then, everything collapsed. 

After falling short in the singles bronze medal match and also withdrawing from the mixed doubles bronze medal match, Djokovic admitted he was exhausted in every way possible but added that he didn't regret coming to the Olympics.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Naomi Baker

"I do have a regret for not winning a medal for my country. Opportunities missed both in doubles and singles. I didn’t deliver yesterday and today, the level of tennis dropped, also due to exhaustion, mentally and physically," Djokovic said after the loss.

“But I don’t regret coming to the Olympics at all. I believe there is no coincidence in life, everything happens for a reason, and I had some heartbreaking losses at Olympic Games and some big tournaments in my career, and I know that those losses have usually made me stronger, in every aspect.

“I know that I will bounce back. I will try to keep going for Paris Olympic Games, I will fight for my country to win medals and I’m sorry that I disappointed a lot of sports fans in my country, but that’s sport.

“I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much. I felt it out on the court. The consequences physically hopefully will not create a problem for me for US Open. That’s something that I’m not sure about right now. But I’m not regretting giving it all because, when you play for your country, that’s necessary.”

Djokovic will try again at the Paris Olympics 

After surgically repairing his torn knee meniscus, Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon on Monday and he will decide whether or not to play after a couple of days of practice. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

While Djokovic not playing Wimbledon is a possibility, his Olympic participation is now very likely since the Summer Games are starting on July 26th. 

Earlier this year, Djokovic hinted he may play when the time comes for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. But that is a long shot and Paris will likely be Djokovic's final chance at an Olympic gold. 

At least for now, the main thing for Djokovic is to avoid any injury or physical setbacks and come to the Olympics fully healthy. 

Carreno Busta Novak Djokovic Olympics