An exclusive interview with Novak Djokovic, the world No 2, who will carry Serbia’s flag in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.
Have you been practising to carry the flag at the opening ceremony? “I will actually have a little chat with Jasna Sekaric (who is in her seventh Olympics) because she has more experience in carrying the flag for the country.”
I take it you’re looking forward to it? “Of course. It will be a unique experience, maybe a once in a lifetime experience, you get to be out there, be a leading athlete of your country with the flag. It is an incredible honour so I will have to be very responsible. I will be very nervous and excited at the same time so it will be one of those things you never forget.”
How have you prepared for the Olympics? “I did take some time off and I haven’t played any events. I came to London about seven or eight days ago in London and have been practising on grass since. I already feel better with each day passing. I had a lot of practice and rest on and off the court.”
Being here must remind you of how it felt in Beijing, when you won the bronze medal? “Of course it brings back memories. It was very emotional. My semi-final loss against (Rafael) Nadal was very emotional, my bronze medal match, when I won it, was emotional as well. I think every win and loss is a lesson for every athlete. You can’t be disappointed, everything happens for a reason, you try to get back stronger and learn from things so hopefully I can get at least one step further in this Olympics.”
You look like you are loving the whole Olympic experience? “I am and I have seen the majority of the athletes and they cannot remove the smile from their faces. It is an excitement that is like no other. It is the most recognisable event in the history of sport. In the past, when you won the Olympic Games you were considered immortal and you got eternal glory – I don’t think it has changed much really because that is how much it means to the world of sport and to the athletes.”