Djokovic braced for 'demanding' summer as he targets Golden Slam

Djokovic braced for 'demanding' summer as he targets Golden Slam

Novak Djokovic says he is braced for a “demanding” summer as he bids to win Olympic gold and the US Open to complete the Golden Slam.

Djokovic has won three Slams this year and will be aiming for gold when the tennis event starts in Tokyo on July 24.

He will then turn his attentions to the final major of 2021 in New York as he looks to become the first male player to win four Slams and a gold medal in the same year.

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“The Olympics and the US Open are obviously my biggest objectives for the remainder of the season, and it’s going to be demanding,” said Djokovic ahead of his departure to Tokyo.

“But I am full of confidence and motivated to represent Serbia in the best possible way. I am yearning for a medal in Tokyo, hopefully gold, and then I’ll go to New York aiming to complete it all.”

Djokovic is 34-3 this season and starts as a strong favourite in Tokyo following the withdrawal of several big-name players, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.

However, his best result at the Olympics so far is a bronze in 2008 and he expressed some doubt about competing at the Games due to the lack of fans and the tight Covid-19 restrictions.

Djokovic says he recently spoke to double Olympic medallist Blanka Vlasic about the need to ignore outside factors.

“She said that people will only remember who won the medals, not what the conditions were like or whether there were any fans or not.

“Her words stuck with me and I am delighted that I decided to take part in the Olympics. I am inspired to play my best tennis and confident that I can win the gold medal after a tremendous run so far this season.”

On his decision to compete in Tokyo, he added: “It came down to patriotism and my feelings for Serbia.”

Djokovic looking ‘unbeatable’ ahead of Games

Pablo Carreno Busta acknowledges Djokovic looks “unbeatable” ahead of the Olympics, but also thinks the world No 1 has plenty of pressure on him.

Carreno Busta, who is heading to Tokyo as Spain’s top-ranked player following Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal, told Marseille News: “Djokovic is above all. He seems unbeatable.

“He is at a very high level and if there is a favourite in Tokyo, it is him. But he is also the rival to beat, the one who has all the pressure behind him.

“Either way, I’m not watching him or what he’s going to do. I have to focus on myself.”

Asked about Nadal’s absence, Carreno Busta said: “In the end, he’s a 34 or 35-year-old player who has already won two gold medals, one individual and one in doubles. He has played a lot throughout his career.

“But he had already given up on Wimbledon. It was certainly not a whim. Of course you have given it a lot of thought and what is best for your career.”

Carreno Busta will be one of the top eight seeds in Tokyo with plenty of top-10 players not competing. He accepts that the strict restrictions at the Games and the lack of fans means it could be a challenging week.

“I’m not going to do everything I want or have the time I want, but in the world of tennis we are used to it.

“It’s true that there are a lot of injuries and everyone has their reasons. Some because of the timing, others because of the injuries. I gave the reasons why I wanted to go from the start and I will.”

The tennis event is set to start on July 24.

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