Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka the Leading Lights in a Galaxy of Tennis Stars at Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 07/17/2021, 8:45 AM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini Pool via REUTERS/David Gray


Several top names in the world of tennis would be missing in action at Tokyo Olympics 2021 but the quadrennial showpiece, postponed from last year, would still see a galaxy of stars including men’s and women’s World No.1s Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty.

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Of the marquee names missing at the Tokyo Games this year are 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, current World No.6 Dominic Thiem, British tennis stars Dan Evans and Johanna Konta, among others.

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Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty will lead the men’s and women’s fields in Tokyo Games

However, the biggest names in the men’s and women’s draw — Djokovic and Barty — are ready, willing and motivated to gun for glory at the Games.

While leading the challenge for their respective homelands on the biggest sporting stage that there is, the two top-ranked stars would also be in pursuit of their individual goals at the Olympics.

Of all his remarkable accomplishments in tennis, all the records he has broken and set and the title he has won, there’s one that has proven elusive till date – an individual Olympic Gold. Hence, the World No.1 would be fiercely motivated to get the monkey off his back.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 10, 2021, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty poses as she celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova Pool via REUTERS/Jed Leicester

What would spur him on even more to clinch the yellow metal is that he is in sight of a ‘Golden Slam’ – winning all four Grand Slams and an individual Olympics gold in the same calendar year.

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Djokovic is in sight of a ‘Golden Slam’ this year

Djokovic has scored 3 out of 3 at the Grand Slams this year and should he land gold at the Tokyo Games and follow it up with another Major title at the US Open, he would become the second tennis star since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win a ‘Golden Slam’.

Barty would arrive in Tokyo in quest of her first Olympic gold and, given the red hot form this season that has seen her lift four titles, including a maiden Wimbledon Championship, one wouldn’t bet against her chances of doing so.

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However, it’s a tough draw that she would have to navigate to get there as also in the Tokyo fray are World No.2 Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka, Karolina Pliskova, Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza and last year’s surprise French Open champion Iga Swiatek.

Also in the mix are Elina Svitolina, Maria Sakkari, Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina.

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On the men’s side, apart from Djokovic, are Russian hotshots Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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