A Golden Opportunity

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games could open doors to one of the important achievements in sports history for Novak Djokovic. And what is more, exactly 33 years later…

German tennis legend Steffi Graf completed the Golden Slam in 1988, which was an unprecedented achievement that no one else had done before. Let us explain quickly, she won the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the US Open and eventually have her name written in gold letters in tennis history. Of course, Graf’s chance was to coincide the Olympic year with the best season of her career. In the previous years, Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Rod Laver also had won four slams, yet they did not have the opportunity to play in the Olympics in the same season. Meanwhile, tennis has not been a part of the Olympic program since Paris 1924 Olympics. After playing as a demonstration sport in 1968 and 1984, it returned as a medal event in 1988. Graf was in the right place at the right time, but that wouldn’t overshadow her unprecedented success.

Despite 33 years, all the incredible championships, records and tennis history, no one could repeat Graf’s Golden Slam. Even in 2015, which was not just an Olympic year, Serena Williams had a claim to win four Grand Slams, but she threw in the towel at the semifinals of the last ring, the US Open. Besides, Williams and Novak Djokovic have consecutively won four slams in different years. Also, Serena, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reached three slam trophies in the same season. No one else showed any signs of reaching Graf’s famous 4+1 in 1992,1996,2000,2004,2008,2012, and 2016 Olympic years. Until 2021…

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which have been postponed for a year due to the pandemic, have a little bit of star power compared to their previous games. Turning the track and field into a record-breaking party place, Usain Bolt and the pool’s medal monster Michael Phelps won’t take place on the headlines of the summer games after a long hiatus. The absence of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams means a similar effect for the tennis match. Under these circumstances, the arrival of Novak Djokovic to Tokyo, by winning the first three Grand Slams of the season, was the development that saved the ratings of the games in tennis. With Novak’s wink at the Golden Slam, which has not been approached since 1988, all eyes turned to competitions. In other words, despite all impossibilities, deficiencies and no-spectator games, tennis can leave a mark in Tokyo, and also Tokyo can leave mark in the history of tennis.

As one of the most popular sports stars in the Olympic village, Novak Djokovic is in the spotlighst nowadays.The Serbian athlete, who has been somewhat unfortunate in getting the attention he deserved throughout his career, should be happy to feel this pure love. What’s more, when his Tokyo adventure is over, Novak may have single gold, which is the only major missing his career, and begin waiting for the US Open in order to complete the Golden Slam.  Let me see if world number one can use this golden opportunity.