Having looked surprisingly human in Japan, the 34-year-old gave fatigue as the reason for his failure at the business end of the Olympic tournament.
After the bronze medal match, he said: “I just didn’t deliver yesterday and today. The level of tennis dropped. Also due to exhaustion – mentally and physically. I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much.”
If Djokovic were to win at Flushing Meadows he would become just the third male player ever to complete the single-season Grand Slam after Rod Laver did it twice and Don Budge’s success in the 1930s.