Will Novak Djokovic play until 2028 if his Olympic dream is shattered in Paris?
Novak Djokovic has made it clear that he is motivated to win an Olympic gold medal and will have a great chance in Paris next year.
Djokovic bagged a bronze at his first Olympics but that has proven to be his best effort.
The Serbian lost semi-finals in London and Tokyo and suffered a stunning opening round defeat in Rio in 2016.
He has set out his stall for a big push for gold in Paris to finally complete his career Golden Slam.
“I look forward to the Olympics,” Djokovic said in Dubai earlier this season.
“I hope I’ll be able to play healthy for next year in Paris. It’s going to be played on clay at Roland Garros, so I’m familiar with those grounds. I hope the best Olympic result for me will come there.
“I always try to be very clear with myself what the goals are, what I want from competitive tennis.
“This is the way I’ve been brought up and taught by some of the key people in my life, including my parents, and some of the coaches I had early on.
“This kind of mentality helped me to always be so devoted to the game. I always remind myself it’s the willpower, the desire to succeed that’s an essential ingredient in the whole formula.”
Djokovic has rebuffed any talk of him retiring with jokes but is it possible that he could play until 2028 if an Olympic gold medal eludes him in Paris in 2024.
Tennis analyst Gill Gross believes that anyone expecting a retirement from Djokovic might have to wait quite a bit longer than currently estimated.
Gross believes that the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz will drive Djokovic to keep going for longer than two or three years.
“When you have Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic’s retirement that you’re alluding to is not really it doesn’t look like it’s coming in the next 2-3 years. I mean who knows right but it’s not here right now. He is still dominating so you have Novak at the top, you have Alcaraz at the top,” Gross said.
If Djokovic can win the Australian Open for an 11th time in 2024, he will become the second oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title, while another US Open title next yeat would see him eclipse Ken Rosewall’s record as the oldest Major champion.
While he would be 41 by the time of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, his coach Goran Ivanisevic has suggested that he could still be in action.
When asked if Djokovic would retire if he won a 25th Grand Slam, the Croatian claimed his charge would be in action at LA 2028.
“I don’t think so, no. No, he’s planning to play (at the) Olympic Games in Los Angeles,” Ivanisevic said, seemingly as a joke although it is hard to tell when it comes to Djokovic.
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