When Simone Biles pulled out of multiple events at the Olympics, a lot of top athletes came to her defense. Balking at the team vault event, Biles knew that attempting her high-level skills with her current mental state could lead to fatal injuries. And who else could empathize with the pressure she felt than fellow athletes.
But there was one that didn’t quite agree with her decision. Tennis player Novak Djokovic dismissed Biles’ experience. But just a few days later, he made a statement quite contrary to his original stance.
Novak Djokovic criticized Simone Biles for pulling out
The gymnastics legend had caught a case of the ‘twisties’, a condition that causes gymnasts to lose spatial awareness while up in the air. With the difficulty level of the moves Simone Biles had planned for her routines, going through with the competition could have led to major injuries.
“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt,” Biles explained after her withdrawal. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.” But Novak Djokovic was critical of her move.
He claimed, “If you are aiming to be at the top of the game, you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments, on the court and off the court.” For the tennis player, the Olympics had always been a bit of a challenge.
His only medal at the Games came in the form of the bronze he won during Beijing 2008, his very first Olympics. In London, he finished out of the podium in fourth, and in Rio, he couldn’t push past the first round.
Djokovic had a meltdown on the court just a few days later
The winner of 20 grand slams made his statement, criticizing Biles on Wednesday (during Tokyo Olympics). And on Saturday, Novak Djokovic lost his cool after losing to Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain in the bronze-medal match. Frustration mounting from his previous two losses in the last two days, Djokovic abused his racket.
The Serbian smashed the offending racket against a pole, breaking it, before swinging it to the stands. Fortunately, there were no spectators due to the COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo. His statement after the match differed greatly from his scathing remarks on Biles’ withdrawal. “We’re all human beings,” he said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to control your emotions.”
Unable to handle the pressure himself, Djokovic’s hypocrisy made headlines. He was eyeing the Golden Slam when he entered, just short of the Olympic and US Open titles to achieve the unprecedented. Instead, he left with an injury in his left shoulder and had to withdraw from the mixed-doubles bronze medal match.