Tennis world erupts over Novak Djokovic's Olympics announcement

Novak Djokovic, pictured here celebrating with the trophy after winning his sixth Wimbledon title.
Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his sixth Wimbledon title. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has confirmed his participation at the Tokyo Olympics, setting the stage for a historic charge at tennis' 'Golden Slam'.

The World No.1 announced the news on Thursday amid a raft of high-profile tennis stars withdrawing from the Games.

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

"With much pride I'm packing for Tokyo and joining our national team in the fight for the brightest medals at the Olympic arenas.

"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."

Djokovic has the chance to become the first male player in tennis history to complete the 'Golden Slam'.

Only Steffi Graf in 1988 has won all four majors and an Olympic singles gold medal in the same year.

Djokovic is three-fifths of the way there after winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.

The Serbian star's participation is a huge boost for the Olympics tennis event missing the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.

Reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem is also an absentee.

Djokovic won bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he was defeated by Nadal in the semi-finals.

At London in 2012 he carried Serbia's flag at the opening ceremony but was again a semi-final loser at the hands of Andy Murray.

He was defeated by Juan Martin del Potro in the bronze medal match that year, while Del Potro also beat him in the first round in Rio four years later.

Tennis fans were sent into a frenzy over Djokovic's announcement on Thursday.

Djokovic had cast doubts on Olympics participation

The 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.

"As I said, my plan was always to go to the Olympic Games. But right now I'm a little bit divided," he said.

"It's kind of 50/50 because of what I heard in the last couple of days."

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

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, pictured here at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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

Foreign visitors have been barred as have family members of visiting athletes.

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

"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."

with agencies

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