A medal seemed inevitable, now Novak Djokovic must reset with the Grand Slam still in sight

The final four in the mens singles in Tokyo were:

Novak Djokovic
Alex Zverev
Karen Khachanov
Pablo Carreno Busta

On paper a medal looked inevitable. As ever, a match is never won on paper and the old saying came back to prove this. Djokovic lost to Zverev, gold and silver were now out of reach and on Saturday he played the Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta for that bronze and lost in three.

Two consecutive losses, it doesn’t happen often. The last time was at the ATP Finals in 2019, before that was in 2018 when he lost to Thiem in Monte Carlo and then Klizan in Barcelona.

But now, he has to reset and refresh for New York!

Do I think that pulling out of the Mixed Doubles medal match was the best idea? I see both sides, Novak stated a shoulder problem giving the walkover to Barty and Peers. Should he have played mixed at all?

We are a month away from the US Open and there is a lot riding in Flushing Meadows and before we get there.

Will one of the big three get to 21 Grand Slams?
How will Djokovic prepare now?
How ready are Nadal and Federer?

Djokovic will be returning to New York where of course last year he played Carreno Busta in round four and was broken to trail 5-6 and smashed a ball which hit a line judge in the throat and was defaulted.

As the world number one everything you do is scrutinised. What has happened in the last 24 hours or so in Tokyo will be spoken about for some time, even if he wins the US Open the talk will turn to what didn’t happen.

We all knew this was a medal that Djokovic wanted, his preparations for Roland Garros and Wimbledon were unusual to his norm but worked out perfectly for the Serb but did it catch-up with him?

For me, Novak is the most physical fittest out there, what he does on a tennis court is quite sensational. I do wonder whether mentally it has taken a lot out of him but he’s proven he can bounce back, this will hurt but I do not doubt he will be back in New York.

Preparations look like being a couple of weeks off, Cincinnati and then New York. The days of doing Rogers Cup and Cincinnati are gone now, if you want to be ready one event is just enough!

image credit – Getty Images

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