US Open champion Dominic Thiem and World No 8 Andrey Rublev are eying Olympic glory in 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics, which were supposed to be held in the summer of 2020, have been delayed by a year due to the pandemic and the younger players have another goal to train for apart from the four Grand Slams in the year.
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“This tournament is every four years, it is special anyway,” Rublev, who won five titles this season to finish in the top-10 for the very first time, told Sports24 in an interview.
“Just to be there, to play is already unreal emotions, this is very important. In Tokyo, I want to play as completely great as in the Grand Slam tournaments. And time will tell where it will turn out.
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“The main thing is to come out with the thought, ‘I did everything I could, not to find fault with myself.’”
Tennis returned as a medal sport at the 1988 Olympics, but through the 1990s it wasn’t a priority for most of the big players. However, it has gained in prestige over the years, especially with ATP superstars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray putting their best foot forward.
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More than a year ago, Thiem started working with former player Nicolas Massu and won the US Open under his guidance this year. The Austrian hopes to emulate his coach Massu, who won the singles as well as the men’s doubles gold for Chile at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“I am going to participate at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo starting on July 23!” Thiem wrote on his website recently.
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“I have been thinking about it for a longer period of time, and next year it eventually fits into my tournament schedule.
“I am looking forward to it to compete for a medal. My coach Nicolas Massu won two gold medals in Athens in 2004, he told me about the incredibly wonderful emotions. I want to feel these kind of emotions myself. For an athlete the atmosphere at the Olympics must be unique, I want to soak it all up.”
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