Novak Djokovic Announces He Will 'Proudly' Participate in Tokyo Olympics

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 15, 2021

Novak Djokovic attends a press conference after winning the men's final against Italy's Matteo Berrettini at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Joe Toth/Pool via AP)
Joe Toth/Pool via AP

Twenty-time major winner Novak Djokovic announced that he will represent Serbia in the Tokyo Olympics.

Novak Djokovic @DjokerNole

Cannot disappoint my little friend Koujirou. I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamSerbia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamSerbia</a> for the Olympics. 🇷🇸 <a href="https://t.co/23TmSdvc4x">pic.twitter.com/23TmSdvc4x</a>

That message was amid a happy birthday video sent to six-year-old Kojiro Owaki, per ESPN News Services.

"Konnichiwa Kojiro! Happy birthday my friend, happy sixth birthday, you're looking great," Djokovic said.

"I'm following your tennis, your progress, all the best, I wish you luck and hopefully I can see you in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Bye bye, my friend."

ESPN provided some context behind the video.

"Djokovic had texted advice on using the backhand to Owaki through his father, Kosuke, in the past after watching videos of he and his older brother Yunosuke playing tennis on an Instagram account created by the father."

Djokovic added in a follow-up tweet that he was proud to pack for Tokyo and that representing Serbia brings a special joy and motivation.

As BBC Sport noted, Djokovic previously said he was "50-50" to compete at the Olympics. The Serbian earned bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The 34-year-old just earned his 20th major victory after winning Wimbledon. He's also earned victories at the Australian Open and French Open this year and will be going for the  Grand Slam at the U.S. Open beginning in late August.

If he also wins gold at the Olympics, he'll become just the second professional tennis player to accomplish the "Golden Slam," which Steffi Graf earned in 1988.