World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the top seed at Rio 2016, was upset by tall Argentine Juan Martin del Potro today in the pair’s first round match at the men’s singles at the Olympics. The tall Argentine beat Djokovic in straight sets, 7-6, 7-6 to take the win today, at an Olympics that many expected Djokovic to take eventual gold at given his current form.
2009 US Open champion Del Potro is an experienced Olympian, having won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics – incidentally, beating Djokovic for that medal.
145th ranked Del Potro has struggled in recent years with injury, but this year ousted Stan Wawrinka, the fourth seed at Wimbledon, making this his second top-5 victory this year.
Del Potro’s forehand, long considered his signature weapon, was out in full form today, destroying Djokovic’s admittedly strong gameplay, with his signature devastating shot bouncing off the net cord and into Djokovic’s half, sealing match point for the tall Argentine.
Back in 2009, aged only 20, Del Potro beat then five-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer to the title.
Although Djokovic has been in his characteristically strong form all year, he has struggled on a few occasions this year, most recently at Wimbledon, where the defending champion crashed out in the third round to American Sam Querrey. That loss had been surprising coming on the back of his maiden win at the French Open, a title that had eluded Djokovic until 2016.
Djokovic’s exit means that the Olympic field has now been opened up significantly. Defending champion Andy Murray has been in incredibly consistent form and is fresh off a title win at Wimbledon, while 2008 singles gold medal winner Rafael Nadal could now have a shot at another medal, as could Japanese ace Kei Nishikori, who has also been very consistent in 2016.