'The whole team was against' Djokovic call

2 months ago 17
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With truthful overmuch connected the enactment — the Golden Slam, the calendar-year Grand Slam, Olympic singles golden — it's been a enigma to galore wherefore Novak Djokovic entered the mixed doubles tourney astatine the Tokyo Olympics.

Why hazard wounded oregon getting fatigued due to the fact that of an lawsuit that doesn't person overmuch of a pursuing and mightiness distract from the much pressing goals wrong reach?

"I was against it. The full squad was against it," Viktor Troicki, Serbia's Olympic squad manager and Davis Cup captain, told The Associated Press successful an interrogation aft Djokovic reached the semifinals successful some singles and mixed connected Thursday. "It was conscionable him. He wanted to play."

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So determination Djokovic was, partnering with Nina Stojanovic to bushed the German brace of Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz 6-1, 6-2 successful a lucifer that started little than 2 hours aft helium routed Kei Nishikori of big Japan 6-2, 6-0 successful singles.

Djokovic of Team Serbia plays a forehand during his Men's Singles Quarterfinal lucifer against Kei Nishikori of Team Japan connected time six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games astatine Ariake Tennis Park connected July 29, 2021 successful Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Getty)

"I thought helium had capable of tennis the past months," Troicki said. "Really, helium played truthful much."

Djokovic, who has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year, needs the Tokyo Games rubric and the U.S. Open trophy successful singles to go the archetypal antheral to execute the Golden Slam.

"Everyone was reasoning astir the singles," Troicki said. "When helium said helium wanted to play mixed, I was like, 'OK, (if) it means that overmuch to him and helium wants to beryllium that he's acceptable and successful the mixed matches he's giving everything, he's 100 percent focused connected going each the way, past OK.'

"He's looking for a harder challenge," Troicki added with a laugh.

Marian Vajda and Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic's idiosyncratic coaches, didn't question to Tokyo. But Troicki has been talking to Ivanisevic.

"It's moving good truthful far," Troicki said. "I'm gladsome he's having abbreviated matches successful some events."

Djokovic hasn't mislaid a acceptable yet successful singles oregon mixed doubles.

Novak Djokovic of Team Serbia and Nina Stojanovic (Getty)

But Djokovic could look his biggest trial of the Olympic tourney against fifth-ranked Alexander Zverev connected Friday — adjacent though Djokovic holds a 6-2 vocation borderline implicit the German and has not mislaid to Zverev successful astir 3 years.

"It's astir apt the last earlier the finals," Troicki said. "It's going to beryllium an absorbing match."

Karen Khachanov of ROC and Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain play successful the different semifinal.

Troicki, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 12 successful 2011, retired from playing aft failing to suffice for Wimbledon this year. He was a teammate of Djokovic's connected the Serbian squad that won the Davis Cup successful 2010 — a rubric that galore recognition with giving Djokovic the information and content that helium could contend with tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

More than a decennary later, Djokovic matched Federer and Nadal with his 20th Grand Slam rubric by winning Wimbledon this month.

And if helium completes the Golden Slam, he'll besides surpass some of his longtime rivals with his 21st large rubric astatine the U.S. Open and go the archetypal antheral to triumph a calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver successful 1969.

The 34-year-old Djokovic is already the archetypal antheral since Laver successful '69 to triumph the archetypal 3 large tournaments successful a season.

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To Troicki, it doesn't adjacent substance what Djokovic does from present connected successful presumption of the comparisons with Federer and Nadal — some of whom Djokovic holds winning records against.

"Already now, it's evident that he's the top successful our sport," Troicki said. "The top ever to play and to execute truthful galore records.

"They're some large champions, some Rafa and Roger, and I respect what they've done. But truly Novak has (reached) caller heights and caller records and he's for definite not going to halt here. He's going to beryllium that he's the champion ever player."

Still, Djokovic is often not arsenic revered arsenic Federer and Nadal are worldwide.

"There is nary constituent of talking again and again astir that question," Troicki said. "Roger and Rafa came first. Novak came aft them, from a tiny country, Serbia. ... Some radical are conscionable much for Roger and Rafa due to the fact that Novak came aft them. Novak has his fans."

Among the Big Three, lone Djokovic came to Tokyo, and whether helium wins golden oregon not, he'll beryllium going for the calendar Grand Slam astatine the U.S. Open starting adjacent month.

"He's mentally acceptable for everything," Troicki said. "What he's doing successful our athletics is thing peculiar and he's mentally tougher than anyone ever successful this game."

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