LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is hoping to leave London with a better result than the bronze medal he won on his Olympic debut in Beijing - eternal glory.
Djokovic is the second seed for the men’s singles, having been nudged off the world number one spot earlier this month by Roger Federer after the Swiss snapped up his seventh Wimbledon title.
“In the past when you win Olympic Games you are considered immortal and you get eternal glory, so I don’t think it has changed much really because that is how much it means to the world of sport and to the athletes,” he told reporters at a Serbian Olympic team press conference.
“This is the most recognisable sport event in history.”
In Beijing the five-times grand slam winner lost his semi-final to eventual gold medallist Rafa Nadal but was left in tears after he beat American James Blake in the play-off to take the bronze.
“It was very emotional,” said 25-year-old Djokovic.
“Every win and every loss is a lesson for every athlete ... you try to get back stronger and learn from every experience that you are in so hopefully I can get at least a step further in this Olympics.”
But Djokovic, who will face Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the first round at the weekend and could meet British number one Andy Murray in the semi-finals, still rates Federer as the favourite.
“Roger, as recent Wimbledon winner, stands probably the best chance to win gold because of his career, success and history ... but the Olympic Games are different from any other event.” (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Pritha Sarkar)