Novak Djokovic admits capping his dominance as the number one tennis player in the world by winning Olympic gold in Rio is among his main priorities in 2016. The Serbian swept aside all before him last season in winning three grand slam titles but the 28-year-old has other concerns in the New Year.
In Djokovic's two previous appearances at the summer Olympics the 10-time major champion has come up agonisingly short in pursuit of gold. Both at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 he was ousted in the semi-finals by the eventual champion in the form of Rafael Nadal and then Briton Andy Murray.
Djokovic did claim bronze in the Chinese capital after defeating James Blake in an emotional victory but the medal is small consolation for the patriotic right-hander. He will arrive in Rio with his best, and perhaps only remaining, chance to win singles gold and will therefore prioritise the event amid a busy term.
"It's definitely right up there at the top of the priorities of this season," said Djokovic of the tennis competition at the Olympics, which is much derided, according to The Daily Telegraph. "I have already had the very unique experience of representing my country at the Olympics. I was part of two Games, in Beijing and London.
"And with the way the last couple of seasons have gone for me, I feel I can do very well Rio. The tennis will be played on a hard court, in the middle of the summer, when the conditions will be quite challenging for everybody in terms of heat and humidity. I am going to take a week in preparation. That means going there earlier, and becoming used to those conditions so that I can get the best out of myself.
"I am already looking forward to the opening ceremony, and to being alongside some of the best athletes in the world. There's a different dimension to the Olympics: a dimension of pride and honour and passion. I look forward to being part of that energy, absorbing that energy and giving my energy to that."