‘Pablo Carreno Busta did a marvelous job against Novak Djokovic in Tokyo,’ says Croft

Pablo Carreno Busta claimed the only tennis medal for Spain at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Pablo lost the semi-final clash to Karen Khachanov before bouncing back to beat world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 after two hours and 47 minutes and earn the bronze after one of his most cherished victories. Djokovic had a massive 6-1, 3-2 advantage against Alexander Zverev in the semis before losing ground and dropping ten of the final 11 games to propel the German through. Stepping on the court the next day against the Spaniard, Novak gave his best to claim the bronze, but it wasn’t to be for him, as Carreno Busta saved all six break points and produced two breaks that carried him through. The Spaniard thought he was done and dusted when Djokovic claimed the second set after saving a match point. Still, the Spaniard started all over and took the third to bring a medal for his country.

Carreno Busta broke Djokovic at love at 2-2 in the opener to move in front. Novak saved two set points on serve at 3-5 and created a couple of break chances in the next one, wasting those and allowing Carreno Busta to convert the third set point and gain a massive boost. Both players served well in the second set, with no chances for the returners. At 5-6 in the tie break, Novak saved a match point with a service winner and won it 8-6 after an extended rally to prolong his chances. Pablo erased a break point at the beginning of the final set and forced Novak’s error in the next one to grab a break that would prove to be crucial.

Annabel Croft praised Pablo Carreno Busta after beating Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard produced three comfortable holds after that and served for the bronze at 5-3. Djokovic saved four match points before Carreno Busta converted the fifth to celebrate one of his most notable victories and secure a medal for Spain. Annabel Croft praised the Spaniard and his effort, putting this achievement above his two Major semi-finals and giving him credits for staying composed in the decider against the world’s leading player.

“Pablo Carreno Busta really earned that Olympic medal. He pushed himself to sheer exhaustion, playing for almost three hours in brutal conditions against Novak Djokovic. Pablo had to start all over in the decider after wasting a match point in the second set. I thought he would go away from it mentally at that point, but he came right back at it. Also, he did that against world no. 1, who suffered only four losses this season. That was a phenomenal victory and something he should be incredibly proud of. I think it’s got to be right up there as his most significant career moment. Just look at his emotion and absolutely floods of tears to know what it meant to him. We have seen Pablo in a couple of Major semi-finals, but to win an Olympic medal was a much brighter moment for him. For tennis players, Majors obviously mean a lot, but they also cherish the Olympic Games a lot, especially after watching the other athletes,” Annabel Croft said.