Image via Zimbio
Top-ranked male tennis player Novak Djokovic recently lost his opening match at the Rio Olympics as well as his first round doubles match, prompting many insiders to wonder what is going on in the mind of the world’s best tennis player. With Djokovic out of the Olympics, Andy Murray is now the tennis betting odds favorite to win the Gold medal at the Olympics.
During his singles loss, Djokovic was outplayed by Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 winner of the U.S. Open. Despite the fact that he was unranked, del Potro has defeated Djokovic in the past, but the victory over Djokovic in Rio has to be among his top career achievements.
After the match, Djokovic called the loss one of the toughest in his career during an emotional press conference. While some people are speculating that the loss is what moved Djokovic to tears, what they fail to realize is that Djokovic was likely thinking long-term when he let his emotions get the best of him.
At 29-years-old, Djokovic might have missed his last chance to win the Olympic Gold. By the time the next summer games comes around, he will be 32, which will be the back end of his career, making it harder to compete with the younger players.
Djokovic, who won the Australian and French Opens this year, is likely suffering from some mental fatigue right now. Shortly after crashing out in Rio, he announced his plans to skip the Cincinnati Masters.
The move to skip the Masters is baffling to some people, who believe playing in it will help Djokovic get over the disappointment in Rio, and help him get his game back on track. The experts also believe playing in the Cincinnati Masters will provide Djokovic a great opportunity to prepare for a possible showdown with Milos Raonic at the U.S. Open.
However, since Djokovic decided not to participate in the Cincinnati Masters, it means he would go into the U.S. Open having played only one competitive game in the span of a month.
Djokovic remains in Rio to support Serbian basketball team during a men's round Group A basketball match between his home country and France. (Image via Zimbio)
While it might not make sense to those of us watching from the sidelines, Djokovic’s decision to skip the Masters isn’t something he would have made lightly. He could be nursing an undisclosed injury or just needs some time for his body to heal. He might also just want to get a little rest and relaxation before the U.S. Open begins.
One of the reasons people are so surprised about Djokovic’s loss in Rio is the fact that he is one of the most focused players on tour, but he appears to lack focus at the moment. Some believe the fact that he finally achieved his career Grand Slam when he won the French Open earlier this year, took away some of the edge he has been playing with for years.
At Wimbledon, Djokovic said all the right things, but his play wasn’t up to his usual standards, which is why it wasn’t very surprising that he lost.
With the time he has between now and the U.S. Open, Djokovic needs to figure out what is holding him back and resolve the issue if he wants to win the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year and the third time in his career.