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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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U.S. men’s basketball team loses again for worst-ever tourney result

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The U.S. men’s basketball team lost for the second straight day at the FIBA World Cup, ensuring its worst-ever major international tournament result. It will be seventh or eighth place.

The Americans, whose 58-game, 13-year tournament win streak with NBA players was snapped by France on Wednesday, suffered another defeat in a consolation-round game Thursday in China.

Serbia dumped the U.S. 94-89 in a rematch of the Rio Olympic final. Serbia led 32-7 after the first quarter. A full box score is here.

Serbia advances to a fifth-place game on Saturday. The U.S. plays for seventh place on Saturday.

“There’s no regrets from our group in terms of what we’ve given, what we’ve sacrificed, the commitment everyone has made,” said Harrison Barnes, the lone player on the U.S. team with Olympic experience. “For some of us, potentially all of us, it could be the last time we wear a USA jersey.”

MORE: Colangelo says he will remember World Cup no-shows

The U.S. earned medals at all 18 Olympics it entered, including 15 golds. At worlds, the U.S. earned medals all but three times. Its worst previous finish was sixth in 2002, when it hosted in Indianapolis.

The U.S. qualified for the Olympics this week, before suffering its losses to France and Serbia. The Tokyo 2020 team should look very different from this World Cup team, save new head coach Gregg Popovich returning.

The U.S. roster at the World Cup includes two 2019 NBA All-Stars, Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton. It is typical for World Cup rosters to be less star-studded than for the Olympics.

Given how respected Popovich is, expect superstars to sign up for next summer. Perhaps LeBron James and Stephen Curry, who were among the big names to withdraw from Rio Olympic consideration in Mike Krzyzewski‘s third and final Olympics at the helm.

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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Argentina upsets Olympic silver medalist Serbia in FIBA World Cup quarterfinals

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The glory days of the Golden Generation are now more than a decade in the rearview, but El Alma Argentina can still play at the highest level.

Argentina knocked out Olympic and world silver medalist Serbia 97-87 in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals in China on Tuesday, advancing to a Friday semifinal against Wednesday’s U.S.-France winner.

Longtime NBA forward Luis Scola is the only man on Argentina’s roster who was part of its past Olympic and world success — the biggest being an Olympic gold in 2004, the only time the U.S. hasn’t taken the title in the Dream Team era.

Argentina declined in the previous Olympic cycle, exiting the 2014 World Cup in the round of 16 and the Rio Olympics in the quarterfinals (to the U.S., after losing twice in group play). Stalwarts Manu Ginobili and Andres Nocioni retired from the national team. Carlos Delfino hasn’t played for it since, either.

Scola, a 39-year-old who could become the second-oldest Olympic basketball player in history next year, starred on Tuesday with 20 points. Argentina shot 54 percent overall, compared to 42 percent for Serbia. Point guard Facundo Campazzo had 18 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. A full box score is here.

“Campazzo absolutely dominating the game,” Serbian coach Aleksandar Đordevic said. “This is really his victory. Scola is their emotional leader and maybe one of the biggest legends of all times in basketball, and he really picked up their winning ability.”

MInutes after, Scola had already become frustrated with media declaring it an upset.

“It just bothers me that people keep talking about miracle and keep talking about surprise, keep talking about, people, nobody believing,” Scola said in the mixed zone. “I tell you, there was 22 people that believed from the last two months that we were going to be here. That’s all we need. Just 22. We’ve got them, and we believe this is far from a miracle.”

Scola now plays in the Chinese league. Nobody on the team plays in the NBA, making it the first Olympic or World Cup semifinalist without an NBA player since Greece in 2006. In fact, last season was the first in the league without any Argentine players seeing a minute of game action since 2001-02.

The Serbians, paced by Denver Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokić, could now be relegated to a last-chance qualifying tournament next year to get into the Tokyo Olympics.

“I want to apologize to our people, our country, who believe in us,” Sacramento Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica said. “Maybe we were a better team than Argentina, but they showed us and they wanted this victory more than us.

“We weren’t ready for this game, mentally. … I played like s—.”

Surprising, given they were the world’s second-best team in the last Olympic cycle. Serbia overcame 2-3 group-play records at both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics to reach finals against the U.S., where they were soundly beaten by a combined 67 points. It’s no secret this U.S. roster lacks superstars. Serbia’s outlook became even brighter when the Americans eked out a one-point overtime win over 17th-ranked Turkey last week.

Now, Serbia must hope that the U.S. beats France and that Australia beats the Czech Republic in Wednesday’s quarters.

In that scenario, the consolation-round games will determine an Olympic qualifier out of Europe among Serbia, France, the Czech Republic and Poland, which lost to Spain in Tuesday’s later quarterfinal.

“You can see through [Bjelica’s] words what kind of mental pressure these guys were through all this tournament and before,” Dordevic said. “It was euphoria in our country. Everybody followed us. Everybody gave us a hand. Everybody really was eager to see us play in this tournament. We became favorites just like that. Everybody was writing, not only in our papers but everywhere around the world, that we are the team. We are the ones. We will win. This and that. That kind of thing, sometimes, does not help, but on the contrary. From his saying now I understand what kind of pressure he’s been through.”

Argentina already qualified for Tokyo as one of the top two Americas teams at the World Cup, along with the U.S. Now it eyes its first global medal since 2008.

“We are not big. We are not athletic. So we need to play really smart.” coach Sergio Hernandez said. “[Scola] is the man. We follow him.”

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

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