‘Novak Djokovic had a massive lead vs. Alexander Zverev and collapsed,’ says Austin

After securing the 20th Major crown at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic was the top favorite to claim the first Olympic Games gold medal in singles in Tokyo a few weeks later. Novak reached the semi-final without trouble and faced Alexander Zverev in a battle for the final. Novak built a massive advantage over Alexander before fading from the court after one of his worst performances in the last couple of years. Tracy Austin called it a great collapse, reminding that Novak had a set and a break lead before wasting that all and barely taking a game by the end of the encounter. Making the Olympic Games debut, Zverev overcame a huge deficit and took ten of the final 11 games to stun Novak 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and three minutes. Thus, Novak failed to achieve the Golden Slam following his third Olympic Games semi-final loss after Beijing (Rafael Nadal) and London (Andy Murray).

Novak Djokovic experienced a terrible loss to Alexander Zverev at the Tokyo Olympics.

It was Alexander’s third win over Novak and the first after five straight losses, finding that higher gear and leaving world no. 1 pretty much powerless since the middle of the second set. Novak controlled the action with three early breaks before his game fell apart, suffering four straight breaks and losing serve five times in total to propel the younger opponent into the final clash against Karen Khachanov, whom he beat easily to secure the gold. Novak has won all three Majors in 2021, targeting the Golden Slam but settling with a calendar Grand Slam if he conquers the forthcoming US Open.

“Well, I think we first have to talk about the match against Alexander Zverev, where Novak led 6-1, 3-2. After that, Novak won only one more game by the end of the encounter. It’s a great collapse from a guy who had won over 20 matches in a row up to that point. We thought that Novak was the heavy favorite to take the gold in Tokyo. He’s never won the gold, and he wanted it this year. Even more importantly, he hoped to win the Golden Slam, which is now gone. Novak said he felt terrible after the match. It’s all about bringing back medals for your country, and so he felt bad about that because he thought he was gonna get the gold,” Tracy Austin said.