Novak Djokovic was reduced to tears after crashing out of the Olympic Games following a stunning 7-6 7-6 first-round loss to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in Rio on Sunday.
Novak Djokovic Upset By Juan Martin Del Potro In First Round At Rio Olympics
The world No. 1 Serb’s upset came just hours after Serena and Venus Williams suffered an equally-surprising defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic in first round of the women’s doubles competition.
It was the third straight Olympic loss for Djokovic and his first opening round tournament exit since 2009.
Del Potro, who had spent 40 minutes stuck in an elevator in the athletes’ village earlier Sunday, went up a level with the astounding victory.
“Delpo was the better player and he deserved to win. That’s sport,” Djokovic, 29, told reporters. “In the decisive moments, he just came up with some extraordinary tennis and I have to congratulate him.
“It’s very sad and disappointing to go out of the tournament this early but I am glad that a good friend of mine, who has struggled with injuries, has won. It’s one of the toughest losses in my life and career. The wounds are still fresh.”
Defending Olympic champion Andy Murray set up a second-round match against Argentina’s Juan Monaco after racing to a 6-3 6-2 win over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.
He is joined by 2008 champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, who defeated Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in straight sets, and will now face Italian Andreas Seppi in the second round.
The Spaniard had not played for two months after pulling out of the French Open with a wrist injury.
“The wrist needs a little bit more time to be 100%,” the 14-time Grand Slam winner said. “If this was not the Olympic Games, I would not be here competing.”
Murray lost in doubles, however. The top-seeded Brit and his brother, Jamie Murray, crashed out of the men’s doubles after falling 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (16-14) to Brazilian pair Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa.
The Murrays saved six match points, and wasted five set points, in a great second-set tie-break before Bellucci and Sa eventually completed the win.
British women’s No. 1 Johanna Konta beat Stephanie Vogt 6-3 6-1. The 25-year-old 10th seed had to see off two break points in the first set before taking control against the world number 290 from Liechtenstein.
Konta is hoping to end a fantastic year–in which she has earned a career-high world ranking of 13, won a first WTA title and reached the Australian Open semi-finals– with an Olympic medal.
“It was a very tough match. She was playing inspired tennis and had nothing to lose,” Konta said of Vogt after winning on her Olympic debut.
Sunday began with 25 mph winds that delayed the start of play on eight of Rio’s nine tennis courts for about 2 hours, and then came the shocking upsets.
Del Potro, the World No. 145, is recovering from three left wrist surgeries that have kept him off the Grand Slam circuit for 2 1/2 years, until Wimbledon last month.
“I didn’t expect to beat Novak tonight,” the 27-year-old Argentine admitted.
Djokovic had won seven of their eight most recent meetings, and 11 of 14 overall, before Sunday. But this is the second time that del Potro came out ahead at an Olympics: He beat Djokovic to take the bronze medal in London four years ago.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 07: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in their singles match on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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