The draws of the Tokyo Olympics 2021 tennis tournaments will begin on July 24 at the Ariake Park, a facility much appreciated by players but where heat and humidity will play a fundamental role.
Novak Djokovic leads the men’s singles, Ashleigh Barty the women’s singles. The Serbian chases the fourth goal of the season in Tokyo (and the first Olympic gold after the 2008 bronze) that would follow the triumphs in Australia, at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and before attempting to climb the Grand Slam in New York.
In history, only Steffi Graf in 1988 achieved the Golden Slam, that is the success in the same year in the four Majors and at the Games, while among the men only Agassi and Nadal have won the five titles, but in different seasons.
Djokovic will make his first round match against Bolivian Dellien and on his side is number 4 seeded Zverev. Probable round of 16 against the Spaniard Davidovich Fokina or Lorenzo Musetti, who in the first round finds the stingy Australian Millman and then precisely the winner between the Spaniard and the Portuguese Sousa.
Among the most interesting first round matches in this part, the match between Hurkacz, semifinalist at Wimbledon, and Fucsovics. The other part of the scoreboard is obviously manned by number 2 seed Medvedev, who makes his debut against the unpredictable Kazakh Bublik, while Tsitsipas, seed number 3, finds Kohlschreiber.
Andy Murray, winner of the last two Olympic gold medals, will meet the Canadian Auger-Aliassime: the match is perhaps the most anticipated of the whole first round. In the doubles, the blue couple Musetti-Sonego face the Spaniards Andujar / Carballes Baena on their debut, but immediately afterwards they should find the favorites, the Croatians Mektic and Pavic. Barty made her first round against the Spanish Sorribes, complicated draws for the blue, all against seeded.
Out Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. Novak Djokovic, one of the most anticipated stars of Tokyo 2021, had considered the idea of not showing up in Japan because he did not know what it would be like to play without a crowd.
In the pre-Olympic press conference he said: “The absence of the crowd was a problem, yes. In the end, however, I thought that the Olympics are always the Olympics. And I’m happy I decided to come. I don’t speak to Steffi Graf regularly, but I’d be happy to hear how she did it! I have the utmost respect for you, for the indelible mark you have left in the history of tennis
I did not think it possible that someone could even approach her business, instead it has become realistic, it has become my goal. Di Steffi has always inspired me with her mentality: I hope to have it too and use it in my next mission. At the risk of being trivial, I want to face one day at a time and one opponent at a time. This is the approach I need to have, because in the past I didn’t have it and I got hurt.
I am motivated to pursue history, I have worked hard to make it happen. But I prefer to talk about it if I have to. For now I want to focus on the present. We will be on the central, the public will be missing. I feed on the energy of the fans, which is one of the reasons why I continue to play even at 34 years-old.
Olympics are a unique experience, they make me feel part of a team, the Serbian team. I go to the pitch alone, but the energy of the other athletes, the one I breathe every night at the Village, gives me wings and pushes me to give my best.
There are neither Roger Federer nor Rafa Nadal: I haven’t done many tournaments without them, it’s strange not to see them. But there are still some of the best players in the world in this tournament. Luckily I’ll tackle them later, so now I can focus on playing my way.
I feel good, physically and mentally: I had the best possible season, I arrive at this appointment with the best possible preparation: I hope to have a good tournament, also because on the field of the Games I have already won a tournament, even if it was not so hot.”