Tennis-Djokovic not ruling out gold medal tilt at LA 2028

By Thomson Reuters Mar 7, 2024 | 7:46 PM

By Rory Carroll

INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic will be 41 by the time the Los Angeles Games roll around but the world number one says he has not ruled out competing for Olympic gold in 2028.

The 36-year-old Serb has won a men’s record 24 Grand Slam titles but only managed a bronze in four trips to the Olympics, though he will have another opportunity to improve his medal record at the Paris Games this summer.

“Everything is on the cards, I just don’t know how many cards I have left,” Djokovic said with a smile when asked about LA 2028 at an Indian Wells press conference on Thursday.

“It’s still very far to think about Los Angeles Olympic Games but the thought of it excites me of course. I’d love to play that but … I can’t really commit to that yet.”

Djokovic said he would take things “year by year” to see how his body and motivation holds up.

“It’s becoming harder and harder but I still love this sport and have still been competing at the highest level,” he said.

“I am still number one, so I feel at the moment that I want to keep going, keep trying to make more history.”

Djokovic is gunning for a record sixth Indian Wells crown after being unable to enter the U.S. for the past five years due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He won the tournament three times in a row from 2014-2016 but lost in the third round to now-retired German Philipp Kohlschreiber in his last appearance in 2019.

The top seed plays Aleksandar Vukic in the second round on Friday, and while there is no shortage of talent in the field he will not have to face the other two members of the ‘Big Three’ – the trio who dominated men’s tennis for two decades.

With Roger Federer retired and the injured Rafa Nadal expected to hang up his racket at the end of the year, Djokovic said things were different on the tour.

“It is beautiful for our sport that we had amazing rivalries that marked an incredible two decades,” he said.

“With Roger retiring and Rafa not playing very much at all, it’s a strange feeling.

“I’m trying to find a new rival and I had some great matches with (Carlos) Alcaraz and (Jannik) Sinner lately, but they still remain the two biggest rivals I’ve ever had.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Indian Wells)