‘Pablo Carreno Busta pushed himself to exhaustion for phenomenal win’, says expert
Pablo Carreno Busta fully earned his Olympic bronze medal by pushing himself to “sheer exhaustion” to defeat Novak Djokovic, believes Annabel Croft.
The former world number 24 admitted she thought the Spaniard would “go away mentally” after seeing the second set slip away having had a match point.
World number 11 Carreno Busta edged world number one Djokovic 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 in two hours and 49 minutes in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Games.
Djokovic saved a match point in taking the second set tiebreak, but his 30-year-old opponent finally converted on a sixth chance to claim the bronze.
“My goodness did he (Carreno Busta) earn that medal. He really pushed himself to sheer exhaustion, almost three hours out there in brutal conditions. But the manner in which he did it, having that match point in the second set, he wasn’t able to close it out,” Croft told Eurosport.
“I thought he’d go away from it mentally at that point but he came right back at it. And to do it beating the world number one, who’s only had four losses during 2021, that was a phenomenal victory – something he’ll be extremely proud of.
“I think it’s got to be right up there [as his biggest career moment] just looking at his emotion, absolutely floods of tears, just what it means to him. We’ve seen him in a couple of semi-finals in Grand Slam action in tennis before, but medals at Olympics.
“I think all of these athletes that are here in the Olympics – it’s kind of the pinnacle of sport. When you’re a tennis player obviously in our sport the Grand Slams mean so much but I think being around it, the other athletes, and knowing what the Olympics is to any athlete.”
Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on Discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics
Photo credit: Kopatsch/Sato/Sidorjak
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