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Djokovic Cites 'Special Joy' Of Playing For Serbia In Announcing He Will Compete In Olympics

Novak Djokovic (file photo)
Novak Djokovic (file photo)

World tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic has announced that he will play at the Tokyo Olympics after all, giving him a shot at the first calendar Golden Grand Slam by a male player.

"I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics," Djokovic wrote in English on Twitter.

He then switched to Serbian in a separate tweet, writing, "With much pride I'm packing for Tokyo and joining our national team in the fight for the brightest medals at the Olympic arenas.

After his Wimbledon win on July 11 -- his 20th career Grand Slam crown -- Djokovic admitted he had cooled on competing in the Olympics, saying he was “a little bit divided” about making the trip.

But any worries about COVID-19 overshadowing the competition apparently were overcome by the importance of playing for his home country.

“For me playing for Serbia was always a special joy and motivation and I will give my best to make us all happy. Let's go," he said on Twitter.

The 34-year-old has already won the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon this year. An Olympic gold medal combined with a victory at the U.S. Open in September would make him the first man to capture the Golden Grand Slam.

Only women's tour legend Steffi Graf has previously won all four majors and the Olympics in the same year. She achieved the feat at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Djokovic's path to potential gold in Tokyo has been eased by the decision of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to skip the tournament. U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem is also an absentee.

Djokovic has one Olympic medal, a bronze from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa