“I played under medication in Tokyo”; Djokovic hopes to be fit for the US Open and wants to play at Paris 2024
Novak Djokovic hopes that having played through injuries at the Olympics won’t hinder his US Open chances, but insist he has no regrets as he loves playing for his country
Following his loss to Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics and his withdrawal from the mixed doubles battle for bronze with Nina Stojanovic, Novak Djokovic explained that exhaustion had taken its toll and that he is dealing with injuries which may threaten his hopes at the US Open next month.
Carreño Busta produced a wonderful performance to beat Djokovic 6-4. 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, leaving the Serb without a medal for the third consecutive Olympic Games, his lone medal a bronze from Beijing in 2008.
“I am dealing with injuries. Not one, more than one“, Djokovic told Serbian reporters in Tokyo, “I hope that it won’t stop me from going to the US Open, which is my next big goal.” The final Slam of the year kicks off a month from today, August 30th, with Djokovic having won the other three in 2021.
“I do not regret coming or giving my all; how can I have regrets, it is normal when you are at the Olympic Games representing your country” Djokovic added. “Unfortunately, for the third time at the Olympics, I am losing in the semi-finals. I won the medal only once. I mean, ’only’, a medal is a medal, but for my standards and expectations and wishes, not an ideal outcome“.
“I want to play in Paris. If I am there, I hope to win a medal” – Novak Djokovic
So far in Tokyo, Serbia has won four medals (one gold, one silver and two bronze medals), and many people back home expected Djokovic’s medal to be a sure thing.
“I apologise to all the fans in Serbia who I have disappointed. I know everyone expected a medal, I did too. I feel bad for Nina because we did not fight for a medal in mixed, but my body said ’enough’: I have played under medications and abnormal pain and exhaustion. But again, my heart is in the right place, because I know that I gave my all. I love to play for my country. Unfortunately, I did not get the result I wanted, but that is sport, we move on.”
Djokovic said he wants to play in the Olympics in Paris 2024, by which time he will be 37.
“Three years… Not that far, but on the other hand it is, since I do not have 25 years anymore” Djokovic said. “I do not see the finish line of my career. Olympics, Davis Cup, ATP Cup, and the Grand Slams, those are the tournaments that inspire me the most to go on. It is a privilege to play for Serbia, I want to play in Paris. If I am there, I hope to win a medal.”