Ash Barty and John Peers have snared bronze without swinging a racquet in the medal match after Novak Djokovic’s Serbian team sensationally withdrew minutes before the scheduled clash.
The much-anticipated showdown between the two players ranked world No.1 never eventuated, with Djokovic unable to take his place on court alongside Nina Stojanovic.
Djokovic was on court for almost three hours in the immediate lead-up to the match for his singles bronze medal clash, which he lost to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 6-7 6-3.
It is unclear if the toll of that match was the reason for Serbia’s withdrawal, with the 20-time grand slam winner reportedly battling a shoulder injury and pictured with an ice pack on his face amid Tokyo’s 30C heat with high humidity.
Djokovic had at one point taken out his frustration by slamming his racquet into the Olympic ring logo on the side of the net as he failed to get past the world No.11.
It meant an automatic bronze medal for Peers and Barty, after the latter had suffered early exits in both the women’s singles and doubles this week.
Djokovic and Barty had previously clashed once, in the now defunct Hopman Cup in Perth in 2016.
More to come