Australia's Ashleigh Barty and John Peers claimed the Tokyo 2020 mixed doubles bronze medal via walkover over the Serbian team of Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic, after Djokovic withdrew due to a left shoulder injury.
It is a first Olympic Games medal for both Barty and Peers, and a sixth tennis medal for Australia. Previously, Alicia Molik took bronze at Athens 2004 in women's singles; in women's doubles, bronze went to Elizabeth Smylie and Wendy Turnbull at Seoul 1988, and Rachel McQuillan and Nicole Bradtke at Barcelona 1992. In men's doubles, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde won gold at Atlanta 1996 and silver at Sydney 2000.
"Obviously it seemed incredibly tough to Team Serbia to not be able to get on the court tonight, but for John and I it's a dream come true," Barty told the ITF Website. “We came here to fight, we came here to win a medal for our nation, and now to be able to take a bronze medal back home and add to the Australian tally is incredible."
Barty and Peers were teaming for the first time this week since the unseeded pair enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals at the 2014 US Open. The Australians moved past Argentine tandem Nadia Podorska and Horacio Zeballos, and Greeks Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the semi-finals.
The mixed doubles #bronze medallists are Ashleigh Barty and John Peers of @AUSOlympicTeam. #StrongerTogether | #Tokyo2020 | @ITFTennis— Olympics (@Olympics) July 31, 2021
| #Tennis | #AUS pic.twitter.com/Aow30R5eD5
However, Barty and Peers narrowly missed out on a place in the gold medal match on Friday as they squandered a match point before being edged out by the ROC’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev 5-7, 6-4, [13-11].
"Ash and I both had the Olympics on the schedule this year, it was one of our goals to walk away with a medal for Australia," said Peers. "To be able to say we did, it’s something really special and amazing.
"If you actually just watch all the matches and (see the) raw emotions that came out the Olympics, is so special for all of us to be here. And it means so much to represent our country."
.@ashbarty and @johnwpeers have won Mixed Doubles #bronze at #Tokyo2020! It's our first tennis medal since 2004 👏👏👏#TokyoTogether #Tennis @TennisAustralia pic.twitter.com/X2wrz8nicL— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 31, 2021
Barty, ranked World No.1 in singles and World No.36 in doubles, has captured 11 WTA Tour doubles trophies, with her most recent success coming in Stuttgart (with Jennifer Brady) in April.
Peers, who reached a career-high of No.2 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings in April 2017, has won 24 ATP Tour titles, including ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Toronto, Shanghai, and Paris.