Novak Djokovic’s search for a historic ‘Golden Slam’ came to an end on Friday as he lost to Alexander Zverev at Tokyo 2020.
The world No. 1 lost 1-6 6-3 6-1 to the German in the semifinals of the Summer Games.
He wanted to be the first man’s player to win the ‘Golden Slam, which consisted of four grand slams as well as an Olympic gold medal.
Steffi Graf was the only tennis player who achieved the feat in 1998.
This year, the Serbian has won the Australian Open as well as the French Open and Wimbledon. To complete the set, he would have required the gold medal at the Olympics and the US Open title.
Victory at the final grand slam would still bring the 34-year old to 21 major titles. This surpasses Roger Federer’s 20 majors and Rafael Nadal’s 20.
Zverev and Djokovic exchanged words after the match as they hugged at the net.
Zverev stated to reporters, “I told him he was the greatest of all times, and he will be.”
Novak and I are very close in these kinds of moments.
“Officially, I’m happy I won, but at end of the day, I know Novak’s feelings.”
Djokovic hadn’t lost a set at Games before Friday’s match and looked uneasy as he ignored his opponents.
The same story seemed to be unfolding against Zverev. Zverev was unable to match Djokovic’s intensity at the 2020 US Open finalist.
After the interlude between the two sets, he seemed to be able to regroup and fight back, showing determination and grit.
Djokovic was on the front foot with his powerful serve and forehand. Djokovic displayed nerves, making uncharacteristic, unforced mistakes.
Zverev seemed to be stalled by a bathroom break in the middle of the third and fourth sets. But it was not for long.
Djokovic couldn’t make a comeback in the three-set format at the Olympics. Zverev won the final two sets in an hour 26 minutes and remained on track for his first Olympic gold.
Zverev (24 years old) will be competing against Karen Khachanov, a member of the Russian Olympic Committee, in the gold-medal match.
Zverev stated, “It’s an incredible feeling knowing that your medal will be returned to your home in Germany.” It’s amazing to beat the best player in the world right now and during this season.
“It seemed impossible to beat him in this event, so it’s very good right now. Yet, there is still one match.
Djokovic will be competing against Pablo Carreno Busta from Spain for the bronze medal.