*Wimbledon.com uses cookies.Find out more
CONTINUE > We use simple text files called cookies, saved on your computer, to help us deliver the best experience for you. Click continue to acknowledge that you are happy to receive cookies from Wimbledon.com.

Olympic Inspiration

Novak Djokovic in the ITF Olympic book
by Caroline Cheese
Wednesday 4 July 2012

For Novak Djokovic, the answer is Italian skiing great Alberto Tomba. Petra Kvitova picks gold medal machine Michael Phelps. Ask Roger Federer and he'll tell you it's fellow tennis player Marc Rosset.

The question: who is your Olympic hero?

Thirty-six of the world's leading players have given their answer for the International Tennis Federation's official book to help promote the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Their responses are printed alongside striking photographs of the players posing with pictures of themselves as children.

Federer, who holds a photo of himself sitting at the side of a court and grasping a white tennis ball, explains that Rosset’s 1992 Olympic win was an inspiration to him as an 11-year-old.

“It was amazing news, people couldn’t believe that he came back, he was a big hero,” Federer says. 

Djokovic comes from a “skiing family” and recalls staying up late to watch three-time gold medallist Tomba in action. The world No.1 is now looking forward to his second Olympics after winning a bronze in Beijing four years ago.

“I can’t wait for the moment when I’m walking into the stadium with the Serbian flag in front of me,” he said. “That’s what I’m thinking of the most when I’m thinking about the Olympics, the opening ceremony, holding the flag — it’s an incredible honour.

“I will try to represent my country in the best possible way because it’s not just me, all the athletes that will be there representing Serbia will have a lot of responsibility.”

Andy Murray also carries plenty of responsibility as Britain’s best hope of gold in the Olympic tennis event to be hosted by the All England Club.

The Scot, along with French players Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, chooses American sprinter Michael Johnson as his Olympic inspiration. 

“I got the chance to meet Michael. I actually went on the running track with him one day,” Murray says. “I was so in awe of him I was just listening and keeping my mouth shut.

“I liked watching him because when you see someone in sport like that, how much better he was and how far in front he was, I find that exciting, that each time you get on the track you have the potential to break records and win medals.” 

And Johnson has some stirring words for Murray as he bids to become the first British gold medallist in tennis since 1920.

“My advice to you would be to do everything in your power to make the most of the opportunity to make history in front of your home crowd.”

The Olympic tennis event begins July 28 at Wimbledon, with mixed doubles added to the Olympic programme for the first time since 1924. Paralympic tennis will be held at Eton Manor within the Olympic Park, beginning September 1. 

The ITF book, entitled Aspire, Inspire, can be viewed online at www.itftennis.com/olympics 

Back to news

Latest Photos

Buy Wimbledon Merchandise from The Shop

Live Blog

20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

View all