Djokovic Falls to Del Potro at Rio Olympics

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.

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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.

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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.

  • Lowlights?

 

Posted in Olympics.

8 Comments

  1. I think this was a really tough loss for him. He was so psyched and said winning Olympic gold for his country would be one of his greatest achievements. You’re very right that Novak us a super patriotic guy, but I think it’s more than that. His country hasn’t had much to be proud of for decades and he really carries his countrymen on his shoulders. If he wanted to, the guy could very possibly run for president in 20 years. I think he’s having a bit of a crisis of confidence at the moment and needs to somehow hit the reset button, shake off the pressure of perfection, and just go back to loving the game and kicking ass. It will be very very interesting to see how he does that. Never ceases to amaze me how fast confidence can change and what an enormous difference that makes. He’s a champion, he’ll figure it out, and I’ll be watching and trying to learn from how he does it.

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    Eric Reply:

    Sure wish I could go back and fix those typos :-(
    I’ll be watching not eating – haha. Champion… And others.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Fixed ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, I just saw on Twitter from a reliable source that he has a wrist injury so maybe that was a problem too. It is also the reason he gave for withdrawing from Cincy.

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    Eric Reply:

    Haha, thanks for the fix :-)
    Yeah, that makes some sense and as we know from Delpo, wrist injuries are tricky and can linger. Really don’t want to see that getting in his way. He’s got so much more he can accomplish over the next 3 to 5 years.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome. I am not sure about the injury situation anymore. I know something has been bothering since Wimby but I thought that was his shoulder. I’m hearing different things now. My guess is he needs time to get over the Olympics loss and that the injury is something manageable. He won Toronto after all. I think he just wanted to get over the Olympics loss and couldn’t tell Cincy that.

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  2. Eversince Djokovic started closing many of the tennis all time records another rigged draw comes again. They do their best so no citizen of a “lower cathegory country” can represent the best of this sport.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    I don’t buy that. Possibly they try to get their two super popular players, F&N, deep into tournaments to sell tickets and attract viewers, but eventually that should favor Djokovic just as it has those guys.

    [Reply]

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