Rafael Nadal has advised Novak Djokovic to react better under stressful situations after the Serbian suffered a meltdown following his loss in the bronze medal match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
Djokovic was the favourite to win gold at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, but suffered a loss in the semifinals against German and eventual gold medal winner Alexander Zverev. He then followed it up with another loss in the bronze medal match against Carreno Busta.
The ATP world number one was not at his best - in terms of his game and behaviour during and after the match. Djokovic threw a racket into the stands after losing a point and then went on to smash another racket into the net pole after his defeat.
To make matters worse, Djokovic then let down the Serbian team by refusing to participate in the mixed doubles semifinal, leaving his partner Nina Stojanovic stranded. The Serbian ace cited mental and physical exhaustion after his loss in the singles.
Nadal, who is a former gold medal winner in singles and doubles, was at a loss to understand such a reaction from a player he believes is one of the "best in history." The Spaniard feels Djokovic, being a role model to a number of young tennis aspirants should know how to keep his emotions in check.
"Luckily there were no people in the stands and nothing else happened, but hey, they are things that happen from time to time," Nadal said talking about Djokovic throwing his racket into the stands, as quoted on Tennis Head. "You have to try to avoid them."
"It is important to avoid this, especially as a role model for many children. He is the number one in the world and one of best in history," the former world number one added. "It's strange that someone so successful reacts this way from time to time, but in the end he's very competitive and reacts like that."
Djokovic did apologise after the match, stating: "I am sorry for sending this kind of message." But the Serbian was criticised for his reactions, especially because of his inability to be fit enough to compete for the bronze medal in the mixed doubles.