TENNIS: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have served notice they will buck the trend of top sporting stars not competing at the Rio Olympics.
After going past Rod Laver’s open-era record by winning his 30th straight grand slam match, Djokovic said he would most likely skip Serbia’s Davis Cup tie with Great Britain next month to prepare for Brazil.
“Immediately after Wimbledon my focus will be on the Olympic Games and I will do my best to get a good rest first and then start fully serious preparations for Rio,” the world No.1 said.
“I will do my best to win the gold, but other players are coming to Brazil with the same objective.
“There is no bigger event in sport than Olympics, it’s a huge honour being part of it. I look forward to it.”
World No.4 Nadal, missing Wimbledon with a wrist injury, also confirmed he would be going to Rio, saying: “I will be there and that’s the most important thing, but I do not know how my level of tennis would be. What I am doing at the moment is working every day to compete well again.”
Djokovic continued his grand slam-winning form, defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3 7-6 to reach the third round at the All England Club on a third day ruined by rain.
The 29-year-old now has Donald Budge, who owns the overall record of 37 straight slam wins set in 1938, in his sights.
“The record that I managed to break today is one of the better ones because as a professional tennis player, you always aim to play your best in grand slams,” said Djokovic, who will aim for the Golden Slam – winning all four grand slams and Olympic gold in the same year.
“Knowing that I won 30 in a row, it’s very pleasing. I want to keep on going. Let’s see where it takes me.”
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