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Djokovic, Nadal, Federer Reveal Heroes In Olympic Book

London, U.K.

Djokovic© ITFBronze medalist Novak Djokovic reveals Alberto Tomba as his Olympic hero in the new publication, "Aspire, Inspire: Celebrating Tennis at the Olympics 2012".

The current crop of ATP World Tour stars may be high on the list of Olympic heroes these days, but the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer also had athletes they looked up to in their youth.

In the ITF’s new book Aspire, Inspire: Celebrating Tennis at Olympics 2012, 36 of the world’s leading tennis players pose with photos of themselves as children and reveal their sporting inspirations.

FedererBronze medalist Djokovic, who grew up in a family of professional skiers, listed three-time gold medalist Alberto Tomba of Italy as his inspiration. Reigning doubles gold medalist Federer, selected as Kei Nishikori’s hero in the book, named 1992 Barcelona champion and fellow Swiss Marc Rosset as the Olympian he admired. Meanwhile, his partner Stanislas Wawrinka chose U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant.

American sprinter Michael Johnson proved the most popular pick amongst ATP World Tour players, with British No. 1 Andy Murray and Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils all choosing the four-time gold medalist as their Olympic idol.

Reigning Olympic champion Nadal, who will carry the flag for his country in the opening ceremony, didn’t choose just one player, instead sharing his memories of the Spanish Olympic Team at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

“I believe this book shows the impact the Olympics has had on the lives of the current generation of tennis players, and how proud they are to represent their countries in the Olympic and Paralympic Tennis Events,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The book also highlights the mutual respect between tennis players and athletes from other sports, with the Games providing a unique opportunity for all athletes to come together.”

del PotroThe 140-page publication, which also features women’s players and Paralympians, includes good luck messages from Olympians such as Usain Bolt, Sergey Bubka and Cathy Freeman.

Here is a list of the Olympic heroes selected by ATP players in the book:

Tomas Berdych: Czech men’s ice hockey team (ice hockey)
Bob BryanMike Bryan: The Dream Team (1992 U.S. men’s basketball team)
Marin CilicGoran Ivanisevic (tennis)
Juan Martin del Potro: Javier Sotomayor (high jump)
Novak Djokovic: Alberto Tomba (skiing)
Roger Federer: Marc Rosset (tennis)
David Ferrer: Jordi Arrese (tennis)
Mardy Fish: Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson (decathlon)
Jurgen Melzer: Carl Lewis (athletics)
Max Mirnyi: Vladimir Salnikov (swimming)
Juan Monaco: Manu Ginobili (basketball)
Gael Monfils: Michael Johnson (athletics)
Andy Murray: Michael Johnson (athletics)
Rafael Nadal: Spanish Olympic Team at 1992 Barcelona
Kei Nishikori: Roger Federer (tennis)
Milos Raonic: Pete Sampras (tennis)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Michael Johnson (athletics)
Stanislas Wawrinka: Kobe Bryant (basketball)

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