Novak Djokovic will still be without a gold medal in his tennis career after falling to Juan Del Potro in the first round of the men’s singles competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Del Potro, who also defeated Djokovic four years ago in London, won with 7-6 (4), 7-6 3) in thrilling tiebreak sets.
Djokovic had eight aces in the match compared to just two for Del Potro. However, Del Potro was more aggressive on rallies with advantage on total winners (41-26) and also had fewer unforced errors (24-32).
The crowd at the Olympic Tennis Centre was cheering mostly for the Argentina, which is also a South American nation like the hosts Brazil.
The Argentine beat the Serbian in the bronze medal match in 2012 also in straight sets, 7–5, 6–4. Meanwhile, the defending Olympic champion Andy Murray of Great Britain had no trouble in his first round match, defeating Djokovic’s compatriot Viktor Trocki, 6-3, 6-2.
It was a memorable day for Del Potro, who got stuck in an elevator some hours before his match against the World No. 1. Del Potro was reportedly trapped in an athlete’s village elevator for 40 minutes and luckily got rescued by the Argentinean handball team.
Del Potro only had three wins in 14 matches against Djokovic, who has dominated their career head-to-head meetings in the ATP tour. However, he is now 2-0 against the Serbian in the Summer Games.
This was a disappointing early exit for Djokovic, who was the favorite to win the gold medal in Rio. He has won all four Grand Slam tournaments in his career but has only a bronze medal to show for (2008 Beijing) in his Olympic stints.
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@DDFTennis