Novak Djokovic announces intent to play Tokyo Olympics

The quest for the Golden Slam is on… Novak Djokovic took to social media on Thursday evening to announce that he intends to play the Tokyo Olympics.

Djokovic 2021 Wimbledon

After Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic described his chances of playing the Tokyo Olympics as “50-50.” Now it seems they are 100 percent.

The world No 1 announced his intentions on Thursday on Twitter, saying “I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics.”

The Golden Slam: a true possibility

Djokovic is fresh off winning his sixth Wimbledon and 20th major singles title, where he became the first ATP player to capture the first three Grand Slams of a tennis season since Rod Laver in1969. If he can win the gold medal in Tokyo and take the title at this year’s US Open, Djokovic would become the first male player in history to win the Golden Slam (comprised of all four major singles titles plus the Olympic gold), which has previously only been won by Steffi Graff, in 1988.

Djokovic has had trouble breaking through on the Olympic stage before. He won the bronze medal in Beijing in 2008 (losing to eventual gold medallist Nadal in the semis), and narrowly missed medalling in 2012 when he lost the bronze medal match to Juan Martin del Potro in London after falling to eventual gold medal winner Andy Murray in the semi-finals.

At the 2016 Rio Games, Djokovic lost to eventual silver medal winner Juan Martin del Potro in his first match. He left the court in tears, and has recently called that defeat the one match in his career that he would like to have back.

Tokyo Olympics hit hard by withdrawals

Djokovic will get a chance to erase that memory and continue his quest for the Golden Slam in a tournament that has been significantly diluted due to players opting out over the past few weeks. Already ten top-25 players – including Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer – have opted out on the men’s side.

After Wimbledon, Djokovic expressed reluctance to participate, citing the strict protocols and the fact that fans will not be allowed to attend.

“I also hear that there’s going to be a lot of restrictions within the Village,” he said on Sunday after defeating Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final. “Possibly you would not be able to see other athletes perform live. I can’t even have my stringer that is very important part of my team. I can’t have a stringer. I’m limited with the amount of people I can take in my team as well.”

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