If Novak Djokovic could change one match in his tennis career — the Olympics

Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic has won just about everything in tennis — all four Grand Slam tournaments, the only man to win all nine Masters Series events, a Davis Cup. But, his trophy cabinet is missing an Olympic gold medal.

So this exchange on Friday with Andy Murray, in an Instagram live, came as little shock:

Murray: If you could go back and change one result in your career, which would you choose?

Djokovic: I think it would be related to Olympic Games. So, maybe the match I played against you in London [7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals] or Rafa in Beijing 2008 [6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the semifinals].

Murray: Was that in the semis?

Djokovic: Yeah, I lost semis, also very close [to Nadal]. It was 3-all, 4-all, I had like 15-30, 15-40, something like that. I lost like, I think, 6-4 [or] 7-5 in the third. I missed an overhead, very easy overhead, which is quite typical of me throughout my career.

Murray: I think I’ve seen that one a couple of times.

Djokovic: I would say Olympic Games because I for sure, I was very fortunate to have the great success in my career and win all four Slams. And all Masters Series. But, you know, I did win bronze in Beijing, but I was really feeling good about myself. For example, in ’16, in Brazil, in Rio.

Murray: You had a tough draw there, to be fair. [Juan Martin del Potro won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) in the first round]

Djokovic: Del Potro, [who] went on to play with you in the finals. It was a very tough match, two tiebreaks, and I remember two days before the match, I was practicing, and I was feeling great. I did lose third round of Wimbledon, so I had enough time to get ready. I won Canada, and I came to Rio full of confidence, was probably, I had like 15 best months of my career behind me before Rio. Then I remember, I was practicing for two hours on the center court singles. Then I went on with Serbian guys to practice for another hour, hour and a half doubles, and I started to feel my wrist at the end of the doubles sets that we played. And I was like, well, I’m tired. It started to be more painful, more painful, and I don’t want this to sound like an excuse, that it’s because of that I lost to del Potro. Absolutely not. I was able. I did get some injections. I had to go out on the court and try, but I felt really sad that I wasn’t at my best, and I had a really tough draw. I felt like, if I had maybe a slightly better draw, that I could kind of work my way in the tournament. So, probably, yes, if I had a chance to turn back the time and maybe change the outcomes, it would be probably Rio or London with you in ’12.

Murray, the Olympic singles gold medalist in 2012 and 2016, said the one match he would like to have back was his 2016 French Open final loss to Djokovic. Murray has played Djokovic in seven Grand Slam finals, winning two of them.

Djokovic was all but assured of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics when sports were halted due to the coronavirus. Murray, coming back from a hip injury he thought would be career-ending, needed decent results in the spring to automatically qualify in singles, though he also is eligible for a wild card as a past Grand Slam or Olympic champion.

MORE: Top U.S. tennis player says he will skip Tokyo Olympics

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U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics
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Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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