Days after Novak Djokovic said Simon Biles should “understand how to deal with pressure”, the Serb has faced similar accusations from fans after a series of temper tantrums in his Olympic loss to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Djokovic’s dream of being the first tennis player to win a ‘Golden Slam’, which is all four Grand Slams as well as an Olympic gold medal, was already in tatters after he was beaten by Alexander Zverev on Friday.
The world number one will now head home empty-handed after he flamed out of the Tokyo event early on Saturday.
He has also pulled out of the mixed doubles bronze-medal match scheduled for later on Saturday, citing an injury.
Djokovic was beaten by Carreno Busta in three sets by a score of 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 – losing to the opponent Djokovic was facing last year when he was disqualified from a match for hitting a line judge with an errant ball.
And the frustration was evident. Djokovic had rallied in the second set, winning a tiebreaker to take it to a deciding third – but he appeared to lose his nerve in the final set as he threw his racket into the empty stand and smashed another into the net ring post as the Spanish player stormed to victory.
The loss is a dispiriting one for Djokovic. His pursuit of the ‘Golden Slam’ was buoyed before the tournament due to the absence of perennial rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, giving him an opportunity to claim a title which none of his peers can yet claim.
Furthermore, his on-court tantrum has shone further light on his comments surrounding the pressure that sportspeople face after US gymnast Simone Biles this week after she withdrew from several events citing mental health difficulties.
“Athletes better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments,” said Djokovic when asked about the stresses associated with top-level sport – and those comments have now come back to haunt him, at least in the eyes of several people on social media.
Anyone done a “how it started” v “how it’s going” for Djokovic yet? Two days after saying athletes “better start learning how to deal with pressure” when asked about Simone Biles he’s launched a racquet into the stands & smashed another. pic.twitter.com/51qPADFxsH
— Adam Digby (@Adz77) July 31, 2021
novak djokovic criticized simone biles saying pressure is a priviledge. now he lost his temper and the chance of a gold medal/golden slam. poetic justicepic.twitter.com/91Dm4Yo9FX
— may ??️ (she/her) (@sylviesprophecy) July 30, 2021
He is a disgrace to the sport , I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but he is a serial offender
— vax (@vax79892397) July 31, 2021
“Anyone done a ‘how it started’ v ‘how it’s going’ for Djokovic yet?” wrote one fan on social media. “Two days after saying athletes ‘better start learning how to deal with pressure’ when asked about Simone Biles, he’s launched a racket into the stands and smashed another.”
“Novak Djokovic criticized Simone Biles saying pressure is a privilege,” wrote another. “Now he lost his temper and the chance of a gold medal and golden slam. Poetic justice.”
“He is a disgrace to the sport,” added another. “I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but he is a serial offender.”
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