Won Australian Open 2021. Won French Open 2021. Won Wimbledon 2021. By now, you know whom I am talking about. None other than the Serbian Tennis star Novak Djokovic. Undoubtedly, he is one of the greatest players to have played the sport. Generally players become legends after they retire but at 34, having won 20 Grand Glams and at least 4 years being ahead of him - he is already a legend. But can we term legends as Gods? The question here is - when we say god, who are we referring to? Holistically, God can be termed as someone who cannot make mistakes. Mistakes? Where did that come from? Hold on. You have just arrived.
On 24th July 2021, Novak Djokovic started his Tokyo Olympics journey with a hope to win gold medal. It wouldn't be wrong to say that he came to Tokyo just to get Gold Medal. Let me repeat, just to get Gold Medal in Men's Singles event. But why? This was probably the best chance for the 34-year-old to write history and go one step close to become only second tennis player and first man to win "Golden Slam". Yes, four grand slams along with gold in olympics would have written his name in a book which is waiting to get filled.
He outclassed opponents with ease. Winning straight sets and showing composure like no other. Class was written on every shot he played. Until Quarter Finals, he, his fans, and populous had the perception that he will win remaining two games as well. If you're reading the article until now, you may have noticed the word 'perception' - Well, sports isn't played on perceptions, it's played on field.
On 30th July 2021, Novak Djokovic was playing semi-finals against Alexander Zverev. First set of the match saw the same result as of earlier games. Novak outclassed Zverev, being just 1 set away of entering his first-ever Olympics Final. Just 1 set. And after he won first set 6-1, almost everyone across the world thought the game will finish early with Novak winning another set and game. But again, Sports is funny. At times, things happen when you least expect them to happen and on the other, it will surprise you when you try to be ahead of yourself.
Well, by now you know that he lost. Yes, he lost second and third set to lose semi-final and with it the hope of Golden Slam. On the next day, 31st July 2021, Novak lost bronze medal game against sixth seed Carreno Busta. During the match, Novak Djokovic was impassioned. He threw one of his racquets in stands while broke another. The calm Djokovic turned fury. Anger was on his face and in his game. He never looked the Djokovic populous know thereafter. In mere 24 hours, all changed for Djokovic. From being favourites to win gold medal in men's single event to returning home without medal.
Fans and media persons lashed Djokovic for his attitude on the field. Lashed and how. In minutes, #NovakDjokovic started to trend on Twitter. 'Yay' turned 'Nay'. Yes, he shouldn't have done that but everyone make mistakes and he did too. Most importantly, Djokovic apologised for his behaviour on the field and after all of it, we all are humans right?
Believe me, the happiest of winning a Golden Slam would have been him and on the contrary, not winning a medal for his country would make him saddest too. In a player's life, there are more bad days than good. For Djokovic, the good part is - he made his good days great to be termed as legend.
Being termed as G.O.A.T of your game and the world having expectations from you, is not easy. Having 20 Grand Slams in your cabinet with 21st looking well on cards until he withdraws his name from US Open 2021, is not easy. It's not easy to have prediction meter tilted in your favour even when you're 4 sets down. Let's accept, it's not easy to be Novak Djokovic.
Humans make mistakes. They lose too. Give it to Novak. He deserves it.
He will bounce back.
He will return.
He will win.
He will write history.