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

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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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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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