Goran Ivanisevic has insisted that Novak Djokovic should not have played in the mixed doubles at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo before missing out on a remarkable Calendar Slam at the US Open. The Serb looked set to round off his dominance of the Grand Slam circuit after winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon earlier in the year but was beaten in the final by Daniil Medvedev at the Arthur Ashe Stadium to miss out on clinching all four majors in the same 12-month period.
Djokovic took part in the Olympics prior to the US Open but had nothing to show for his efforts in Tokyo after losing in the bronze medal singles match at the hands of Pablo Carreno Busta. He was also denied another medal after falling to Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in the mixed doubles, a category which Ivanisevic believes that Djokovic should not have entered.
“First of all he’s very proud and he loves to play for his country,” Ivanisevic told Ubitennis. “Every Davis Cup he’s played, every Olympic… no one could stop him from playing in the Olympics.
“I don’t think he made a mistake. I just think he made a mistake playing the mixed doubles. That was not necessary, because in the end he was tired. He didn’t even play for third or fourth place.
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“I don’t think that because of this he lost the final of the US Open. Medvedev was very good. You can never underestimate him at any time. He’s an unbelievable player.
“He was a better player that day. But Novak was not Novak. Something was missing. But again, I don’t think it was because of the Olympics. It just happens.
“It happened in a bad moment. It happened in the most important match. Probably it would have been the history of tennis to win after so many years. The first guy who had the chance to complete the Grand Slam in the same calendar year.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Djokovic will be able to make a winning return to the Grand Slam circuit at next month’s French Open after he was denied the chance to play at the Australian Open in Melbourne back in January. He was beaten in his first match at this week’s Monte Carlo masters at the hands of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a major upset in his first event since the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.
The result marked the first time that Djokovic, who had his serve broken on nine occasions, had been knocked out in the opening match of a tournament since 2018. He will be desperately hoping to recapture his form in advance of the French Open as he aims to defend his title from the likes of Medvedev and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros later this year.
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