Ahead for Novak Djokovic are the most important seven weeks of his tennis career, and it begins Saturday in Tokyo where he will open play in his bid for a first gold medal at the Olympics.
If he’s successful at completing the “Career Golden Slam” joining Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi as men to do it, he’ll move on to New York for the US Open where he’ll try for the “Golden Slam” and to break the 20-20-20 tie he shared atop the Grand Slam Leaderboard with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Serb, who has stated he wants both gold and the US Open title, is ready for the challenge.
“I feel great. Physically and mentally, I’m ready to perform at my best,” Djokovic told the press Thursday in Tokyo. “I’m going to be ready to fight. I’m the type of player who plays better the more the tournament advances, so I believe in myself.
“I’ve had arguably the best Grand Slam season in my sport so far, winning three out of three Grand Slams, so I could not have a better preparation and lead-up to the Olympic Games than I’ve had this year. Hopefully, I can have another great tournament.
“As for the pressure, in sport, all of us are aware of what pressure means and it is something we are not afraid of. However, the older you are, the more experience and the more matches you have behind you.”
Despite winning his third straight Slam at Wimbledon and running his win streak to 18, Djokovic is still on edge.
“I was nervous in previous Olympics, and it is obviously normal that when I represent my country and I’m playing for the Serbian Olympic team at the Olympics, it is different,” Djokovic admitted.
“But I’m not also going to consider these Olympics as a normal tournament, I’m very aware that a lot of people are expecting the best from me and hoping I will have the best result.
Djokovic won the bronze medal in 2008 Beijing where he lost to Nadal in the semifinals but recovered to beat James Blake for the medal. It’s his fourth Olympics after losing the last two matches to Juan Martin del Potro in the London bronze match and in the Rio first round.
“It’s an honor to be part of the Serbian Olympic team once again,” he added. “I’m happy to have been at an Olympic Games three times so far in my career and to have had the fortune to win a bronze medal back in 2008. It feels like quite a long time ago right now.
“The Olympic experience is a unique experience. It is the most special and most historic sports event in the history of sport.
Djokovic will open against the lightly-regarded No. 1239 Hugo Dellien of Bolivia.
You Might Like:
Monica Puig Couldn’t Believe Mike Tyson Knew She Won Gold In Rio
Russians Makarova/Vesnina Win Women’s Doubles Gold In Rio, Beat Bacsinszky/Hingis
Nadal Adds Olympic Gold to His Diet
Bravo/NBC Olympics Tennis TV Schedule
Bencic Better Than Vondrousova, Becomes First Swiss Woman To Win Olympic Gold