I never made a draw post about the Rio Olympics and it turns out Djokovic had one of the toughest draws because he had to play a rampant Del Potro in the opening round. Pretty ironic given that he was the first seed.
Another thing to note about the draw is that half of the top 10 were absent including Federer, Wawrinka, Berdych, Raonic, and Thiem. How can a tournament that is not even on Masters Series level competition wise receive this much hype?
To me, it just doesn’t quite add up. Not to mention that it is best of three sets and only the final is best of five sets. From the way some people treat the Olympics you’d think it is on slam level. But it’s not even on Masters level.
I won’t even get into the history of the event which is a bit of a joke. Clearly, it meant a lot to Djokovic who looked utterly shattered after his 7-6(4), 7-6(2) loss to Del Potro. He is obviously extremely patriotic because I can’t think why else it would mean so much to him.
Classy in defeat as always
Anyway, I bet Federer breathed a sigh of relief knowing he won’t be the only big four member without an Olympic gold in singles. As for Del Potro, he was brilliant and it was great to see him play so well again.
He was hitting over most of his backhands again and I was surprised at how well he played given how little he has still played since his most recent comeback. It just shows you how good he is and how much damage he could have done if he wasn’t chronically injured.
I was happy for him and I hope he wins gold. He defeated Sousa in three sets today and now plays a Japanese player called Daniel. Not a bad draw.
- How Will This Loss Affect Djokovic?
I think if Djokovic had won the Olympics it would have given him quite a big boost, which makes you wonder if losing in the first round will have the opposite effect. He did look very crushed after the loss.
At first, I thought he wasn’t taking the match very seriously. He was smiling quite a lot and looked like he was in exhibition mode. But in hindsight maybe that was nerves. All I know is that was not his usual serious demeanor.
It must have been the nerves of playing for his country because afterwards, he was in tears. And maybe the nerves affected his tennis as well. He didn’t play badly but you would have expected him to do a better job in the tiebreaks at least.
I’m not trying to take anything away from Del Potro. He played very well and I am happy to see it. I am just exploring the possibility that Djokovic wanted it almost too bad. I have never seen him that devasted after a tennis match.
Either way, now he can move on to Cincinnati after some more welcome rest and then he can play for himself again and doesn’t have the added pressure of trying to win a medal for his country.
He’ll be back
There is, of course, much to play for in Cincy and then New York so I hope he can get it together again quickly. There will be no Federer in Cincy this year and Murray will probably go all the way to the final in Rio which can tire him.
Completing the career Masters would be another big deal for Djokovic and the early loss in Rio gives him some added time to prepare for that now. I know he is still in the doubles though so I don’t know when he will leave Rio.
I think Djokovic will be ok but he mustn’t let this loss affect what happens in Cincy and New York because that could break his momentum. He bounced back well from the Wimbledon loss and wants to do the same after the Rio loss.
Winning Cincy would be the ideal way to shake off the Rio loss and to prepare for the US Open where he has an opportunity to rack up a third three-slam year.