Rafael Nadal has criticised his great rival Novak Djokovic for his behaviour at the Tokyo Olympic Games after the Serb had several meltdowns before missing out on bronze on Saturday.
Djokovic struggled to contain his frustration on numerous occasions as he left Tokyo without a medal, having lost to Spanish journeyman Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match.
The world number one was out of sorts and lost his cool twice in the deciding set, throwing his racket into the stands and then violently smashing another into the net post shortly afterwards.
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Asked about his behaviour against Carreno Busta - the same opponent he was defaulted against in infamous fashion at the US Open - Djokovic put it down to being in the "heat of the battle".
"It was an emotional outburst and it happens," said Djokovic. "You’re tense on the court, in the heat of the battle.
"It’s not the first time and it’s not the last time probably. It’s not nice, of course, but it’s part of, I guess, who I am.
"I don’t like doing these things, I’m sorry for sending this kind of message, but we’re all human beings and sometimes it’s hard to control."
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'He's got to be careful!' - Djokovic hurls racket into stands in fury
Djokovic's great rival, along with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, took a dim view of the Serb's behaviour and said it was not good conduct for children to see from a role model.
"Luckily there were no people in the stands and nothing else happened, but hey, they are things that happen from time to time," Nadal said.
You have to try to avoid them. The image is not the best.
"It is important to avoid this, especially as a role model for many children. He is the number one in the world and one of best in history.
"It’s strange that someone so successful reacts this way from time to time, but in the end he’s very competitive and reacts like that."
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was surprisingly beaten by Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on Friday, ending his chances of winning all four Grand Slams and Olympic gold in the same year.
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