Rafael Nadal criticises Novak Djokovic’s ‘strange’ Olympics tantrum

Rafael Nadal has urged Novak Djokovic to avoid lashing out during his matches (AFP/AP)

Rafael Nadal admits he found Novak Djokovic’s outburst in the Olympics ‘strange’ after the Serb took out his anger on his racquet.

Djokovic’s hopes of being the first male tennis player to win a Golden Slam were ended last week following his semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev, who went on to win the gold medal in the men’s singles.

The world No.1 was then beaten by Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta for the bronze medal.

During the match against the Spaniard, Djokovic let his frustrations get the better of him as he threw his racquet into the stands during the early stages of the third set.

Djokovic also smashed his racquet on the floor after losing a point and Nadal has urged the Serb to control his anger as ‘the image is not the best’.

When asked about Djokovic’s behaviour, Nadal replied: ‘Luckily there were no people in the stands and nothing else happened, but hey, they are things that happen from time to time.

Novak Djokovic threw his racquet into the stands during his bronze medal match (Reuters)

‘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 No. 1 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.’

Novak Djokovic’s racquet took heavy punishment (AFP via Getty)

Djokovic, meanwhile, apologised for his conduct and admitted that his anger during games is sometimes difficult to control.

‘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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