Novak Djokovic's stunning act of defiance against coach at Olympics

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Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic, pictured here in action for Team Serbia in mixed doubles.
Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic in action for Team Serbia in mixed doubles. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Serbia coach Viktor Troicki has revealed Novak Djokovic defied the wishes of the team to play mixed doubles at the Tokyo Olympics.

With a rare 'Golden Slam' on the line if Djokovic can win singles gold and the US Open next month, many were surprised to see Djokovic enter the mixed event in Tokyo.

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With risk of injury or fatigue in an event that doesn't have much of a following and might distract from the more pressing goals, Djokovic's move certainly raised eyebrows.

And Troicki has now revealed he and his coaching team didn't want the World No.1 playing mixed doubles at all.

"I was against it. The whole team was against it," Troicki revealed after Djokovic reached the semi-finals in both singles and mixed on Thursday.

"It was just him. He wanted to play."

Djokovic partnered with Nina Stojanovic to beat the German pair of Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz 6-1 6-2 in a match that started less than two hours after he routed Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-0 in the singles.

"I thought he had enough of tennis the last months," Troicki said. "Really, he played so much.

"Everyone was thinking about the singles. 

"When he said he wanted to play mixed, I was like, 'OK, (if) it means that much to him and he wants to prove that he's ready and in the mixed matches he's giving everything, he's 100% focused on going all the way, then OK.'

"He's looking for a harder challenge. It's working well so far. I'm glad he's having short matches in both events."

Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, pictured here in action against Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani at the Olympics.
Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic in action against Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani at the Olympics. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic on fire in singles and doubles

Djokovic hasn't lost a set yet in singles or mixed doubles.

He will face his biggest test against fifth-ranked Alexander Zverev on Friday, even though Djokovic holds a 6-2 career edge over the German and has not lost to Zverev in nearly three years.

"It's probably the final before the finals," Troicki said. "It's going to be an interesting match."

Karen Khachanov and Pablo Carreno Busta will play in the other semi-final.

The 34-year-old Djokovic is already the first man since Road Laver in 1969 to win the first three major tournaments in a season.

He can join Steffi Graf as the only players in tennis history if he wins the 'Golden Slam' - all four majors and Olympic gold in the same year.

"Already now, it's obvious that he's the greatest in our sport," Troicki said. "The greatest ever to play and to achieve so many records.

"They're both great champions, both Rafa (Nadal) and Roger (Federer), and I admire what they've done.

"But really Novak has (reached) new heights and new records and he's for sure not going to stop here. He's going to prove that he's the best ever player.

"He's mentally ready for everything. What he's doing in our sport is something special and he's mentally tougher than anyone ever in this game."

with agencies

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