Novak Djokovic to compete at Paris Olympics

By Sports Desk June 19, 2024

Novak Djokovic is set to compete in the Olympic Games after being named in Serbia's squad for the tennis tournament.

The 24-time grand slam champion will target a gold medal for the first time, with his appearance in Paris set to be his fifth at the Olympics.

Djokovic won a 2008 bronze medal in Beijing after losing to eventual winner Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals before beating James Blake for third place.

He came fourth at London 2012 after suffering defeats to Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Porto in the final stages and lost early at Rio 2016 before narrowly missing out on a medal in Tokyo three years ago, with Alexander Zverev and Pablo Carreno Busta getting the better of him to end a historic bid for a Golden Slam.

Djokovic, 37, said in April that winning an elusive gold medal was a priority for him this year, but there was some uncertainty over his participation after he withdrew from the French Open before his quarter-final match this month through injury.

The Serbian suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and underwent surgery but now looks to be on track to return to Roland-Garros for the Games, with Dusan Lajovic also selected for Serbia.

"Team Serbia for Paris 2024 got new representatives," the Serbian Olympic Committee announced. 

"Tennis players Novak Djokovic and Dusan Lajovic fulfilled the requirements, according to the ATP ranking, and confirmed their performance at the Olympic Games."

Djokovic's involvement in the men's tournament comes as a boost for the Paris Games after some high-profile female players like Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur and Emma Raducanu announced they would not be participating.

The Olympic tennis tournaments are scheduled to run from July 27 until August 4.

It is not yet known whether Djokovic will be able to participate at Wimbledon, which takes place before the Olympics.

Wimbledon begins on July 1 and Djokovic is a seven-time champion at the event, just one title behind the men's singles record held by Roger Federer. 

Djokovic lost an epic final to Carlos Alcaraz at last year's Wimbledon.

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  • Hayes out to make history with USWNT at Paris Olympics Hayes out to make history with USWNT at Paris Olympics

    New United States women's head coach Emma Hayes is hopeful of creating "a new history" with the national side, starting at the Olympic Games in Paris. 

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  • Henry's France gunning for gold as Spain and Argentina look to build on summer success in Paris Henry's France gunning for gold as Spain and Argentina look to build on summer success in Paris

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    There will be a new champion this time around, with Brazil, who triumphed in Tokyo, not participating in this year's tournament. 

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    Football at the Olympics

    In Olympic football, the general rules align with those of domestic and international play. However, for the men's teams, there's a notable difference in the age requirement for each nation. 

    Each of the 16 countries have confirmed their 18-man squads ahead of the tournament, but are only allowed to select three players over the age of 23. 

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    A bronze medal match will take place a day prior to the final, and due to the number of fixtures needing to be played, the action will kickstart two days before the Olympics' official opening ceremony on July 26. 

    How do the groups look?

    While France are considered among the favourites at their home Games, they have been placed in a group that contains one-time silver medallists United States and Tokyo 2020 quarter-finalists New Zealand, as well as minnows Guniea.

    Henry's side have impressed in their pre-tournament preparations, scoring 12 goals in their three matches against the Dominican Republic, Japan and Paraguay. 

    Having been placed in the 'group of death' at Euro 2024, albeit they went on to lift the trophy anyway, Spain will sleep a little easier knowing they are to play two sides in Group C who are yet to participate at the Olympic Games. 

    La Roja feature in a group containing Uzbekistan and the Dominican Republic, but will also play Egypt, who are making their 12th appearance in the competition. 

    Argentina are placed in Group B, with their biggest test coming in their opening game against Morocco, with Iraq and Ukraine rounding out that pool.

    Japan are the standout side in Group D, having previously featured in 11 editions of the Games; they will square off against Paraguay, Mali and Israel. 

    Spain and Argentina gunning for gold, but France will have their say

    Spain and Argentina are the hot favourites to build on their summer tournament successes, though France, as hosts, are certainly right in the mix.

    Argentina have the chance to clinch a record-equalling third gold medal in Paris, and would go level with Great Britain and Hungary as the most successful nation in the competition's history. 

    La Albiceleste previously triumphed in back-to-back Olympic Games, securing their maiden win in Athens 20 years ago, followed by another gold in Beijing four years later. 

    Javier Mascherano is coaching Argentina, and his squad includes two Copa America winners in the form of Nicolas Otamendi and Manchester City's Julian Alvarez. Thiago Almada, who has just signed for Botafogo in Brazil, was a star of MLS in recent years and is certainly one to watch.

    Argentina have, however, failed to get out of the group in their previous two appearances at the games, but will be confident of reaching the knockout stages this time around. 

    Spain are in search of a first gold medal since Barcelona 1992, and they will hope to make up for their defeat to Brazil in the Tokyo final.

    Their squad includes Fermin Lopez, Eric Garcia and Pau Cubarsi.

    But France will pose a significant threat, especially with the advantage of the Games being played on home soil.

    Eleven of Les Bleus 18-man squad play their football in France, and they will be hopeful of leading their nation to a first gold medal since the Los Angeles games back in 1984, and there are some real stars in Henry's squad.

    Alexander Lacazette brings the experience as captain, Jean-Philippe Mateta is coming off the back of a fine season, and new Bayern Munich winger Michael Olise is arguably the best player involved in the entire competition.

    Who could upset the odds?

    Uzbekistan, led by Timur Kapadze, are one of three teams making their debut at the Olympics, alongside Ukraine and the Dominican Republic. 

    They qualified for the tournament after reaching the final of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup earlier this year, losing to Japan 1-0 in May. 

    However, they face a difficult task to reach the knockout stages in their maiden appearance at the tournament, having been placed in Group C alongside Spain and Egypt. 

    Japan, meanwhile, are competing at their 12th Olympics, a record only bettered by the United States (15), France (14) and Egypt (13) of this year's participating sides.

    Having won all three of their group games at the Tokyo Games, Japan went close to equalling their best result in their home games, having previously claimed bronze in 1968. 

    They were beaten 3-1 by Mexico in their bronze medal match four years ago, and will be keen to earn a first top-two medal finish. 

    The USA are another side looking to restore some pride on the international stage following their group stage exit at the Copa America last month. Their best result came in 1904 when they won silver in St. Louis, with Marko Mitrovic the man tasked with delivering in Paris this time around. 

    No Paris return for Mbappe or Messi

    While some of the world's brightest talent will descend on Paris this month, there are some huge omissions from the 16 nations taking part. 

    Kylian Mbappe is arguably the biggest of those.

    Having failed to lead Les Bleus to European Championship glory, the former Paris Saint-Germain striker will not be able to make up for it in the city he called home for the past seven years. 

    Mbappe has completed his move to Real Madrid, signing a five-year deal with Los Blancos. The 36-time LaLiga champions said they would not release any of their squad to compete at the Games, although Mbappe said he was keen to play earlier this year.

    Lionel Messi is another huge player who will not be present in Paris, having just led Argentina to a third-straight major tournament win. 


    Messi played five times for Lionel Scaloni's side at the Copa America, scoring once in their semi-final win over Canada. 

    The 37-year-old was forced off in the final against Colombia after picking up an ankle injury, but would not have featured anyway having alerted Mascherano of his desire not to feature. 

    Messi has won all there is to win as a professional footballer, including an Olympic gold he clinched at the 2008 Games.

    And having become the youngest player to appear in a major international tournament final, Spain's Lamine Yamal will also not be competing at the Paris games. 

    Yamal starred for La Roja at Euro 2024, tallying five goal involvements in seven appearances in Germany.

    The 17-year-old played 50 times for Barcelona last season and will miss the tournament in order to manage his workload ahead of the new La Liga season. 



    France - Jean-Philippe Mateta

    All eyes will be on host nation France, with Henry's squad boasting a plethora of attacking talent heading into the games. 

    Les Bleus will be led by former Arsenal striker Lacazette, but attention will be focused on Crystal Palace striker Mateta, who enjoyed a rich vein of form in the Premier League.

    Mateta scored 16 goals last term, having previously only scored seven times for the Eagles, including a run of nine goals in Palace's seven-game winning run under new head coach, Oliver Glasner. 

    His former Palace team-mate Olise, fresh from his £50million move to Bayern Munich, is also a part of Henry's plans, along with Lacazette's Lyon team-mate, Rayan Cherki. 

    Argentina - Julian Alvarez

    Fresh from his Copa America success, Alvarez will be keen to add another international honour to his trophy cabinet. 

    Alvarez is one of three overage players picked by Mascherano alongside Otamendi and Geronimo Rulli.

    The 24-year-old scored two goals in Argentina's 16th Copa success, netting 19 times in 54 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola's side last term as they claimed a record fourth consecutive Premier League crown. 

    With his participation in the tournament, Alvarez will miss City's pre-season tour of the United States and their Community Shield fixture against rivals Manchester United.


    Spain - Fermin Lopez 

    Along with Alex Baena, Fermin is one of two players from Spain's Euro 2024-winning squad heading to the Olympics.

    Lopez played just 28 minutes for La Roja in their record-setting fourth success at the Euros, but he is guaranteed more game time in Paris. 

    The 21-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough year, scoring eight goals for Barcelona in La Liga, which included a strike against Real Madrid in his second Classico appearance. 

    Lopez and Baena are looking to make history by becoming the first outfield players to win both the Euros and Olympic gold in the same summer.

    Morocco - Achraf Hakimi 

    Despite failing to build on their World Cup 2022 semi-final run at the recent Africa Cup of Nations, PSG star Hakimi will be hopeful of guiding Morocco to gold.

    Hakimi will lead the Atlas Lions out for their eighth appearance at the Games, having been given permission to miss his club's pre-season preparations. 

    The 25-year-old, who has made over 70 appearances for his nation, helped Luis Enrqiue's side to a domestic treble last term, recording nine goal contributions in 25 Ligue 1 outings. 

    Guinea - Naby Keita

    Having endured a difficult season with injury at Werder Bremen, former Liverpool midfielder Keita will captain Guinea in their second appearance at the Olympics. 

    Keita made the switch from Anfield to Germany last year but made just five Bundesliga appearances, missing the final five games of the season after refusing to play their game against champions-elect, Bayer Leverkusen.

    The 29-year-old has 56 appearances for Guinea across a seven-year international career, scoring 11 times.

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