If you are a very young athlete who finds himself participating in his first Olympiad and sharing the Olympic Village with some of the most legendary athletes ever, it is not always easy to hold back emotions. This was exactly the case with Rose Keddell, a field hockey player, who was stunned when she met 17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic at the last Rio Olympics in 2016.
This year's edition, which should have been held in Tokyo, it slipped to 2021 due to the situation related to the Coronavirus emergency. Keddell was eating in the dining room with his teammates when they received the news that the world's number 1 was training a few meters from them.
The New Zealander, winner of a bronze medal at the Youth Olympics in 2010, did not hesitate to join her idol.
Keddell on Novak Djokovic
"I remember we were sitting in the dining area one day and everyone was running over to the tennis court because Novak Djokovic was having a hit," Rose Keddell said.
"All of a sudden I was like, ‘Wow, I'm at this event and so is Djokovic. I can't believe I'm playing at the same thing that he is.’ It's a weird realization that you’re actually there,” Keddell added.
For Keddell, New Zealand has not been a good edition of the Games, given that the medal goal has vanished against Germany. The same applies to Djokovic, who started with the number 1 favorite on the eve of the tournament. The Serbian champion did not receive a hand from the draw, which immediately confronted him with a revived Juan Martin del Potro.
The Argentine giant imposed himself in a game full of emotions, with Nole forced to leave the field in tears after what still represents the most scorching disappointment of his magnificent career. At least until the recent Adria Tour accident.
Djokovic is now inclined to play the US Open, as long as quarantine laws upon his return to Europe don’t impact the clay season. A week after the US Open finishes the Madrid Masters begins, with the Rome Masters quickly following seven days later.
That means that, should players be forced to self-quarantine for two weeks after returning from America, they would be unable to play in either of those tournaments, limiting their potential rankings points return more than skipping the US Open would.