Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro left World No 1 Novak Djokovic in tears after overpowering him in the first round of the Rio Olympics. The World No 144 displayed a powerful forehand to put up a 7-6, 7-6 score on the board. The Serbian was looking to go big at the Games after picking up the Australian and French Open titles this year.
Martin del Potro, who won the 2009 US Open and whose highest ranking hit World No 4 in 2010, has falling off the grid in the last few years due to repetitive wrist injuries. Interestingly, he also beat Djokovic to clinch the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
“This victory is bigger than last time because I know how tough it was to come back from three surgeries,” said the 27-year-old Argentinean. “Tonight I played one of the best matches of my career.”
Djokovic said, “Delpo was the better player and he deserved to win. That’s sport.” He added, “It’s very sad and disappointing to go out of the tournament this early but I am glad that a good friend of mine, who has struggled with injuries, has won.”
Incidentally, del Potro’s day in Rio was not off to a good start after he got stuck in an elevator for 40 minutes at the athletes village, before being rescued by the Argentina handball team.
Separately, the Williams sisters were ousted from the Rio Olympics on the women’s doubles front. Serena and Venus went down fighting to Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4. The American duo, who have won the Olympics double champions, are losing for the first time. They lost in the first round.
Serena Williams, however, breezed past Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-2, in the women’s singles. Venus lost her opening match on Saturday.