Tennis: Djokovic says he will play Tokyo Olympics

PARIS (AFP) – World number one Novak Djokovic said on Thursday (July 15) he will play at the Tokyo Olympics, paving the way for the first Golden Grand Slam by a male player.

“I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics,” tweeted Djokovic.

The Serb has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles this year and needs just Olympic gold and the US Open to become the first man to sweep the Golden Grand Slam.

The 34-year-old’s announcement came just four days after he had cast doubt on his participation at the Games.

Having defeated Matteo Berrettini for a sixth Wimbledon title and 20th career Grand Slam crown on Sunday, Djokovic admitted he had cooled on making the trip, saying it was “50/50” if he would participate.

“I’ll have to think about it. As I said, my plan was always to go to the Olympic Games.

“But right now I’m a little bit divided. It’s kind of 50/50 because of what I heard in the last couple of days,” said Djokovic at the All England Club.

The Serb had always insisted he would think twice if the Covid-19 protocols in Japan became too strict and if fans were banned.

All venues at the Games, which start on July 23, will be closed to spectators as the Japanese authorities look to limit the dangers of Covid-19.

Foreign visitors had already been barred as had family members of visiting athletes.

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“That was really disappointing to hear. I also hear that there’s going to be a lot of restrictions within the Village,” said Djokovic.

“Possibly you would not be able to see other athletes perform live.

“I can’t even have my stringer that is a very important part of my team. I’m limited with the amount of people I can take in my team as well. I’ll have to think about it.”

Fellow Grand Slam title winners Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Dominic Thiem and Angelique Kerber have all withdrawn from the Games.

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