Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic needs to take his own advice, apparently. Less than a week after sharing how easy it is for him to keep his cool, he did the exact opposite following a loss at the Tokyo Olympics.
Djokovic suffered his third match in two days on Saturday, losing the bronze medal to Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta. After missing the deciding volley, he smashed his racket against the post, which he received a verbal warning for. Watch it here.
In a previous match against the Spaniard, Djokovic flung his racket into the empty stands after being failing to return a volley.
The four-time Grand Slam winner’s conduct is ironic given some statements he made about taking the heat in professional sports just a few days prior.
“Pressure is a privilege,” Djokovic said to reporters on Wednesday. “Without pressure there is no professional sport. If you are aiming to be at the top of the game you better start learning how to deal with pressure. And how to cope with those moments on the court but also off the court, all the expectations.”
Although he was not directly asked about her, Djokovic’s supposed philosophy stands in stark contrast to the stance embodied by Simone Biles when she withdrew from the Games’ gymnastics competition for the sake of her mental health.
Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka are among several Olympians who have spoken out about the immense pressure and challenges they have faced both leading up to and throughout the Tokyo Games.
Before this week’s showing, Djokovic was poised to complete the “Golden Slam” by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold in the same calendar year. His hopes for the gold were dashed by his performance on Friday.
Djokovic was slated to compete in another bronze-level match on Saturday afternoon but withdrew, citing a shoulder injury.
“I know that I have not played well today and yesterday in the second and third set,” he said Saturday. “The exhaustion, both mental and physical, got to me, and it’s unfortunate that [in the] most important matches it just didn’t deliver but I gave it all.”