Saturday 24 July in Tokyo marks the start of Novak Djokovic’s journey towards the ‘Golden Slam’: The big four and Olympic gold in the same season.
Looking to emulate Steffi Graf’s accomplishment in 1988, Djokovic looks to become the first man to achieve the feat.
“When I was thinking about the ultimate achievement that she [Graf] had, I did not think that it would be, I don’t want to say achievable, but that there’s a slim chance that someone could make it again, male or female”, said the Serb.
In the absence of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Djokovic seems the clear favourite to win gold in Tokyo.
“I have not had too many big tournaments in the past 15 years without Roger and Rafa playing, so it’s a little bit strange because I’m used to seeing at least one of them”, he said.
“But sill there are some of the best players in the world here. [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Alexander] Zverev and Andrey [Rublev], they’re top six, seven in the world.”
When asked about how he felt to be there, Djokovic spoke glowingly of the tournament.
“It’s the most special, most historic sporting event in the history of sport.”
“Representing your country, being part of a collective team is something that I treasure. It’s something that encourages me personally and gives me a lot of confidence and great energy for my own personal performance.”
Having been critical of the absence of the fans in the past, the 20-time Grand Slam winner remained relatively neutral on the matter.
“I had doubts but, in the end, I decided to come and I am happy, because for me there are many things that are beautiful about the Games and I am trying to focus on them so they inspire my game.”
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