Ashleigh Barty Defends Novak Djokovic’s Withdrawal From Tokyo Olympics 2020 Bronze Medal Match

Published 08/02/2021, 10:30 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Men’s Singles – Bronze medal match – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 31, 2021. Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during his bronze medal match against Pablo Carreno of Spain REUTERS/Edgar Su


After Tokyo Olympics 2020 men’s singles bronze medal loss, Novak Djokovic withdrew from the mixed doubles bronze medal match, citing a right shoulder injury. Consequently, Ashleigh Barty and compatriot John Peers won third place. Afterward, while leaving Japan, the Australian World No. 1 reflected on the Serbian ace’s withdrawal.

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Most significantly, Barty suggested that every athlete faces unique challenges on the court. Therefore, considering the level Djokovic is at, she felt she has no place to comment on his decision.

The 25-year-old also agreed with WTA founder Billie Jean’s famous quote, “pressure is a privilege.” Additionally, Barty confirmed that the ability to push beyond limits is what makes “the greatest the greatest.”

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Ashleigh Barty on Novak Djokovic

Primarily, Barty suggested that the question about Djokovic‘s withdrawal is for him more than for anyone else.

“I think you will have to ask him that one,” Barty said. “Obviously, he’s been through a lot over the last month or two, but that’s certainly a question for him more than us. I think everyone’s in a unique circumstance; I think everyone goes through different feelings and different pressures on the court.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Men’s Singles – Bronze medal match – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 31, 2021. Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after losing his bronze medal match against Pablo Carreno of Spain REUTERS/Mike Segar

Despite the fact that they are both the World No. 1 in tennis, Barty emphasized that Djokovic is “a league above” her. Moreover, she mentioned that since he is going for the Grand Slam at US Open 2021, she cannot know his mindset.

“Novak’s, certainly, in a league above myself as to what he’s aiming for,” Barty continued. “I mean, he’s going for the Grand Slam this year. It hasn’t been done since Rod Laver a long, long time ago. So I think that’s pretty special what he’s going for, but it’s really hard for me to comment on what he’s feeling, just genuinely, because I don’t know what that feels like.”

Notably, if Novak wins the US Open 2021, he would be the first male player after Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a year.

Watch this story: Tokyo Olympics 2020: Simone Biles Heartbreaking Withdrawal, Michael Phelps Supporting Her, Everything Else You Need to Know

Barty explains what makes players like Djokovic great

The Aussie ace conveyed that when you are an athlete in a stressful environment, at times, it’s challenging. But she added that while it can be heartbreaking, it can also be euphoric.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Mixed Doubles – Medal Ceremony – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Bronze medallists Ashleigh Barty and John Peers of Australia celebrate on the podium REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

In addition to that, Barty suggested that one must push themselves to that nth degree, and that’s what makes great athletes great. However, she also agrees that everyone has limits, and that separates the great from others.

She said, “I think being able to find that limit to push that limit time and time again is what makes the greatest the greatest and what makes these really special achievements extra special.”

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Both Barty and Djokovic have withdrawn from Rogers Cup due to their tiring schedule. Hopefully, they will be back soon to try and clinch the US Open 2021 title.

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Purav Joshi

1118 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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