Djokovic breaks up with Zverev and is out of Golden Slam

The Serbian dominated the first set and then disappeared in his own despair. Fight Pablo Cario for the bronze.

Djokovic against Zverev in the semifinals.AP

Novak Djokovic, helpless. Novak Djokovic, desperate. Novak Djokovic defeated. He rarely saw himself this season, less so at the Tokyo Games that were made for him. He had only one long stop in his journey to gold, against Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals this Friday and in that he was a surprise (1-6, 6-3 and 6-1 in two hours). His defeat was not so unexpected by the opponent—the German ranks fifth in the world ranking—, courtesy: suddenly, he felt disconnected. In the first hour he was Novak Djokovic, you already know him; In another it was another tennis player. Amid the collapse, he yelled at his technical body in search of an explanation, but the only possible explanation he had.

After the defeat, Djokovic will play this Saturday against Pablo Cario for Olympic bronze, a reward he fights for patriotism, but which is far from his initial goal. The Golden Slam, full of great titles for which he was launched after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, is no longer possible.

What happened between his brilliant first set and his disastrous third set can only be explained by him. At that start, although he never showed the talent of other occasions, he made several winning shots and maintained a remarkable serve, weapons enough to defeat Zverev of the year. But later the roles were exchanged. The German resumed play as he had not been seen since the last US Open and Djokovic simply fell apart. Probably tired of all the demands of this course, he greatly slowed down his service and lost all exchanges with Zverev, fresher, more precisely.