In men’s Tennis, the Fab 3 of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer have dominated many opponents in dazzling ways. Even among the three, the level of competition is intense. Nadal has a poor record against Djokovic but has an excellent head-to-head against Federer. Federer has a negative head-to-head against both Djokovic and Nadal while Djokovic has a positive head-to-head against both Nadal and Federer. In fact, there are very few players who have a superior head-to-head record against the trio.
When one talks about Nadal, he has a negative head-to-head record against Nikolay Davydenko with a 5-6 record against the Russian. Dustin Brown and Alex Corretja are the other players who have a good head-to-head record against Nadal. Djokovic has a negative head-to-head against Ivo Karlovic and Nick Kyrgios. But, if there is one person who has troubled Djokovic in the recent past and denied him glory, there is one upcoming Spanish Tennis player.
Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta had played each other three times before US Open 2020. The Serb had emerged victorious on all three occasions. But, in the fourth round, something snapped for Djokovic. The number of unforced errors meant that he was trailing 5-6 in the first set. The calmness displayed by Busta was also forcing Novak Djokovic to lose his cool. In one of the games, he angrily hit a ball towards a linesperson and he was disqualified.
Although Djokovic had apologized, the damage was done. The match was awarded to Busta by default and Djokovic’s quest to end 2020 on a high was jolted. The tournament was played amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and that meant that the US Open was played first and the French Open later.
Busta had somehow gotten into Djokovic’s skin. Although Djokovic got his revenge by winning the quarterfinal clash in the French Open, Busta was now about to inflict the biggest pain in Djokovic’s career.
The year 2021 was proving to be a brilliant one for Novak Djokovic. He had won the Australian Open. But, he created history when he finally won the French Open for the second time. He became the only player in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams two times or more. When Djokovic clinched Wimbledon, he equaled the tally set by Nadal and Federer of 20 Grand Slams. Now, the talk went to the Golden Grand Slam. In the history of Tennis, only Steffi Graf had managed to win all four Grand Slams and the Olympic Gold when she achieved the feat in 1988.
Djokovic had won the three Grand Slams and he now headed into Tokyo Olympics 2020. The Seb made a great start and breezed into the semi-final. His opponent, Alexander Zverev, was tough but Djokovic had a good record against him. After winning the first set 6-1, many felt that Djokovic’s journey to gold was about to be achieved. But, in a stunning display of Tennis, Zverev turned the tables and won the next two sets 6-3, 6-1 to eeny Djokovic the chance of a Golden Grand Slam.
The Serb now looked to at least seal a bronze medal. But, in his path was yet again, Pablo Carreno Busta. He had hurt Djokovic in the US Open and he was about to inflict a similar amount of pain now in Tokyo. Busta won the first set 6-4 but Djokovic leveled the game by winning the tie-breaker. Busta, though, held his nerve against Djokovic who was visibly tired. With the fatigue, frustration crept in and he flung his racquet in the empty court. Busta won the match by winning the final set 6-3. In the space of two days, Djokovic was not just denied a gold but a bronze as well. Busta had ensured that Djokovic left Tokyo Olympics empty-handed.
After securing the bronze medal at the expense of Djokovic, Busta is now set to make a big impact in the US Open 2021. Born in Gijon, Spain in 1991, at the age of 30, time is not on Busta’s side. He had made his professional debut in the ATP Circuit at the age of 20. After struggling for five years, Busta finally had his moment of glory.
In the 2016 Winston-Salem Open, Busta clinched his first ATP title when he defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in the final. He entered the top 40 of the ATP Rankings for the first time as a result, becoming world No. 39. When 2019 came, Busta was approaching the top 10 but his crowning moment would be the Davis Cup win against Spain in 2019.
Busta had reached the French Open semifinal as well as the US Open semifinal in 2020 to showcase his talent. Having gotten the better of Djokovic in Tokyo and with the withdrawal of Nadal and Federer, the likes of Busta and several players now have another opportunity to forge a name for themselves in the Tennis world.