The prospect of winning an Olympic gold medal for Serbia outweighs the disappointment of playing in an empty stadium in the Tokyo Games, said the world number one in the sneakers masculine, Novak Djokovic, in this Monday.
After winning the Wimbledon title this month, Djokovic considered giving up on the Olympics due to covid-19-related restrictions in Japan, but decided to go to Tokyo for what he called patriotic reasons.
Full of confidence in a television interview with Montenegro’s Mina news agency while traveling in the country, Djokovic said that former Croatian Olympic athlete Blanka Vlasic helped convince him not to give up.
“It all comes down to patriotism and my feelings for Serbia,” said Djokovic after completing a practice session on a hard court.
“I’m not very happy about playing without fans present or the various coronavirus restrictions in place in Japan, but representing your country at the Olympics is indispensable,” he added.
“I met Blanka Vlasic a few days ago and she said that people will only remember who won the medals, not what the conditions were like or whether there were fans or not,” he said.
“Her words stayed with me and I am very happy that I decided to participate in the Olympics. I am motivated to play my best tennis and confident that I can win the gold medal after a tremendous campaign so far this season.”
Vlasic won the silver medal in the women’s high jump at the Beijing Games 2008 and the bronze medal at Rio 2016.
Djokovic, who clinched his 20th Grand Slam title by taking the Wimbledon title this year, drawing with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, is looking to win an unprecedented men’s Golden Slam — all four Grand Slam titles in the same year.
Should he win Olympic gold as well, the only title he has not yet held in his career, Djokovic would become the first man to win all four championships in one year plus an Olympic title.
The 34-year-old admitted it will be difficult, although Federer and Nadal have both withdrawn from Tokyo.
“The Olympics and US Open are obviously my biggest goals for the rest of the season, and it’s going to be tough,” Djokovic said.
“But I’m full of confidence and motivated to represent Serbia in the best possible way. I’m looking forward to a medal in Tokyo, I’m hoping for gold, and then I’m going to New York with the aim of completing it all.”
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