Novak Djokovic will have to wait another four years to try and complete a golden slam. Up against the man – Juan Martin Del Potro -- who denied him the bronze medal in London 2012, Djokovic crashed out in the first round of the tennis tournament of the Rio Olympics 2016 on Sunday night.
The Indian tennis doubles teams might have disappointed with their early exits, but this was an upset of epic proportions, considering the Serbian was the clear favourite for the gold medal on the hardcourts, the surface that the Serbian excels in the most.
However, on Sunday, Djokovic ran into a determined Del Potro, who brought out that ridiculous forehand of his into play, time and again, in a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2) victory.
This was a title that Djokovic absolutely wanted to win, and after completing a career Grand Slam with French Open victory in early June, all of his focus would have been on joining the elite who have won all four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal, but it was not to be as Del Potro showed signs of his old self.
When the Argentine, roared on by a raucous crowd under the lights at the Olympic Tennis Centre, finds his range with his forehand, he is pretty hard to stop. A slew of wrist injuries and various other ailments might have stalled his career and pushed him way below the rankings – he is currently 141 in the world – but there is no denying his talent.
Having beaten Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon, Del Potro topped that with a brilliant show, in which 41 winners rained down on Djokovic, 29 of which came from the Argentine's forehand. Djokovic might have still been able to make something of the match, push it to the deciding third set, had he been near his best, but the fact that the world number one had 32 unforced errors to his 26 winners, said it all.
Earlier, Andy Murray pushed himself one match closer to defending his gold medal at the Olympics with a straightforward win over Djokovic's compatriot Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 23 minutes. Murray, though, would go down in the men's doubles with his brother Jamie in a couple of tough tiebreakers.
Rafael Nadal was in cruise mode as well, as he beat Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 26 minutes, easing though the first test from his own wrist injury recovery with flying colours, even if the Spaniard and 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist, who also won his men's doubles match, admitted he is still far from a 100%.
There was no such luck for the Williams sisters in the women's doubles as Serena and Venus, who crashed out in the first round of the singles as well, suffered a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Lucie Safarova and Barbara Strycova. Having won Wimbledon together, Serena and Venus were the favourite to take gold, but as Djokovic also showed, maybe that particular favourites tag is becoming a bit of a poisoned chalice in this Rio Olympics tennis event.
Serena, though, is still on course in the women's singles, after defeating Australia's Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-2.
Results (all first round): Women's singles: 3-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat Andreea Mitu (Romania) 6-2, 6-2; Laura Siegemund (Germany) beat Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2; 10-Johanna Konta (Britain) beat Stephanie Vogt (Liechtenstein) 6-3, 6-1; Alize Cornet (France) beat Johanna Larsson (Sweden) 6-1, 2-6, 6-3; Caroline Garcia (France) beat Teliana Pereira (Brazil) 6-1, 6-2; Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) beat Cagla Buyukakcay (Turkey) 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (8-6); 13-Samantha Stosur (Australia) beat Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2; Nao Hibino (Japan) beat Irina Begu (Romania) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) beat Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) 6-2, 6-2; Misaki Doi (Japan) beat Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) 6-3, 6-4; 11-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) beat Timea Babos (Hungary) 6-1, 6-2; 8-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) beat Wang Qiang (China) 6-1, 4-6, 6-0; 2-Angelique Kerber (Germany) beat Mariana Duque (Colombia) 6-3, 7-5; Monica Puig (Puerto Rico) beat Polona Hercog (Slovenia) 6-3, 6-2; 1-Serena Williams (US) beat Daria Gavrilova (Australia) 6-4, 6-2; Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) beat Sloane Stephens (US) 6-3, 6-3; Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium) beat 5-Venus Williams (US) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) beat 6-Roberta Vinci (Italy) 7-5, 6-4; 14-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Magda Linette (Poland) 6-0, 6-3; 15-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) beat Andrea Petkovic (Germany) 2-6, 6-1, 6-3; Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) beat Karin Knapp (Italy) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1; Heather Watson (Britain) beat Peng Shuai (China) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3; Monica Niculescu (Romania) beat Veronica Cepede Royg (Paraguay) 6-2, 6-3; Zheng Saisai (China) beat 4-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) 6-4, 7-5; Zhang Shuai (China) beat 12-Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (9-7 ); Darya Kasatkina (Russia) beat Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1; 9-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2; Sara Errani (Italy) beat Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; 16-Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) beat Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1; Ana Konjuh (Croatia) beat Annika Beck (Germany) 7-6 (7-5), 6-1; Kristina Mladenovic (France) beat Aleksandra Krunic (Serbia) 6-1, 6-4; 7-Madison Keys (US) beat Danka Kovinic (Montenegro) 6-3, 6-3.
Women's doubles: Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan (Taiwan) beat Irina Begu/Monica Niculescu (Romania) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3; Andreea Mitu/Raluca Olaru (Romania) beat Timea Babos/Reka Jani (Hungary) 6-3, 6-4; Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) beat Olga Savchuk/Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 7-6 (7-1,) 1-6, 6-4; Kirsten Flipkens/Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) beat Yaroslava Shvedova/Galina Voskoboeva (Kazakhstan) 6-1, 0-0 (retired); Eugenie Bouchard/Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) beat Klaudia Jans-Ignacik/Paula Kania (Poland) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3; Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat Angelique Kerber/Andrea Petkovic (Germany) 6-2, 6-2; Lucie Safarova/Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) beat Serena Williams/Venus Williams (US) 6-3, 6-4; Xu Yifan/Zheng Saisai (China) beat Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok (Ukraine) 6-0, 6-3; Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (US) beat Anabel Medina Garrigues/Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spain) 6-1, 6-1; Timea Bacsinszky/Martina Hingis (Switzerland) beat Daria Gavrilova/Samantha Stosur (Australia) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Peng Shuai/Zhang Shuai (China) beat Sania Mirza/Prarthana Thombare (India) 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 7-5; Garbine Muguruza Blanco/Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat Paula Goncalves/Teliana Pereira (Brazil) 7-6 (8-6), 6-2; Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (Russia) beat Anastasia Rodionova/Arina Rodionova (Australia) 6-1, 6-2; Johanna Konta/Heather Watson (Britain) beat Jelena Jankovic/Aleksandra Krunic (Serbia) 6-2, 6-1; Misaki Doi/Eri Hozumi (Japan) beat Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (France) 6-0, 0-6, 6-4; Darya Kasatkina/Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Laura Siegemund (Germany) 6-1, 6-4.
Men's singles: Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina) beat 1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2); 11-Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) beat Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) 6-3, 6-7 (8-10), 6-3; Radu Albot (Moldova) beat Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; 16-Benoit Paire (France) beat Lukas Rosol (Czech Republic) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) beat Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; 8-David Goffin (Belgium) beat Samuel Groth (Australia) 6-4, 6-2; 3-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Federico Delbonis (Argentina) 6-2, 6-1; Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Victor Estrella (Dominican Republic) 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0; Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat Robin Haase (Netherlands) 6-1, 7-5; 2-Andy Murray (Britain) beat Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 6-3, 6-2; Gilles Muller (Luxembourg) beat Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(12-10); 10-Roberto Bautista (Spain) beat Andrey Kuznetsov (Russia) 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 0-0 (retired); Rogerio Dutra Silva (Brazil) beat Thomas Fabbiano (Italy) 7-6 (7-4), 6-1; 7-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 6-2, 6-1; Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) beat Dustin Brown (Germany) 4-6, 5-4 (retired); 15-Gilles Simon (France) beat Borna Coric (Croatia) 6-4, 7-6 (7-1); 6-Gael Monfils (France) beat Vasek Pospisil (Canada) 6-1, 6-3; Dudi Sela (Israel) beat Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 6-4, 6-4; 13-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) beat Guido Pella (Argentina) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2; Juan Monaco (Argentina) beat Mirza Basic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 6-2, 6-2; Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) beat Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) 6-3, 6-4; 12-Steve Johnson (US) beat Darian King (Barbados) 6-3, 6-2; Yuichi Sugita (Japan) beat Brian Baker (US) 5-7, 7-5, 6-4; Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Illya Marchenko (Ukraine) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6); Gastao Elias (Portugal) beat Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6(7-3); 5-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) beat Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3; Andrej Martin (Slovakia) beat Denis Kudla (US) 6-0, 6-3; Taro Daniel (Japan) beat 14-Jack Sock (US) 6-4, 6-4; Kyle Edmund (Britain) beat Jordan Thompson (Australia) 6-4, 6-2; 9-Marin Cilic (Croatia) beat Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 6-1, 6-4; John Millman (Australia) beat Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) 6-0, 6-0; 4-Kei Nishikori (Japan) beat Albert Ramos (Spain) 6-2, 6-4.
Men's doubles: Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (Canada) beat Marcus Daniell/Michael Venus (New Zealand) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6); Thomaz Bellucci/Andre Sa (Brazil) beat Andy Murray/Jamie Murray (Britain) 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (16-14); Brian Baker/Rajeev Ram (US) beat Gael Monfils/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) 6-1, 6-4; Gastao Elias/Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat Andrej Martin/Igor Zelenay (Slovakia) 6-4, 6-2; Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (Colombia) beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (France) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; Fabio Fognini/Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Illya Marchenko/Denys Molchanov (Ukraine) 6-4, 6-3; Marc Lopez/Rafael Nadal (Spain) beat Robin Haase/Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) 6-4, 6-4; Steve Johnson/Jack Sock (US) beat Julio Peralta/Hans Podlipnik (Chile) 6-2, 6-2; Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (Brazil) beat Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (Thailand) 6-0, 7-6 (7-1); Novak Djokovic/Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) beat Marin Cilic/Marin Draganja (Croatia) 6-2, 6-2; Oliver Marach/Alexander Peya (Austria) beat Alexander Bury/Max Mirnyi (Belarus) 7-6 (7-4), 7-5; Juan Martin Del Potro/Maximo Gonzalez (Argentina) beat Chris Guccione/John Peers (Australia) 6-4, 7-5; Roberto Bautista/David Ferrer (Spain) beat Lukas Rosol/Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) 6-1, 6-4; Lukasz Kubot/Marcin Matkowski (Poland) beat Rohan Bopanna/Leander Paes (India) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6); Florin Mergea/Horia Tecau (Romania) beat Federico Delbonis/Guillermo Duran (Argentina) 6-3, 6-2; Santiago Gonzalez/Miguel Angel Reyes (Mexico) beat Colin Fleming/Dominic Inglot (Britain) 6-3, 6-0.