|Novak Djokovic speaks to the media at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Ont., Aug. 7, 2012. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)
TORONTO - Top-seeded Novak Djokovic popped into the Rexall Centre Tuesday to reassure the assembled media that, yes, he would indeed be on the court Wednesday night.
There were fears Djokovic, the defending Rogers Cup champ, would pull the chute for the Toronto tourney after making it to the Olympic bronze-medal match last week in London. But he says he never considered withdrawing from a tournament he has won twice and compiled a 17-3 record in the process.
"Well, I was planning to play Rogers Cup from the start so I didn't give any thought of actually skipping this week, even though I played a lot of matches in London," he said. "I've talked with my team and we all agreed that it is possible for me and it is good for me to play this week. I had lots of success in Canada in previous years and I love coming back here and playing here.
"People in Canada love tennis and appreciate the tennis players. For us it's great to be part of such a great event."
Losing Djokovic would have been a huge blow to the Rogers Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick -- big-name players who tend to put butts in seats -- withdrew before the tournament started. So, too, fifth-ranked David Ferrer. And second-seeded Andy Murray isn't scheduled to play until Wednesday so the possibility remains he could still back out.
But Djokovic will give it a go Wednesday night against Aussie Bernard Tomic despite feeling the effects of jet lag and making the transition from grass courts to a hard surface. He's a trooper, see.
"How it's going to go, I'm not sure," Djokovic said. "I cannot predict anything else in my opening match. It will obviously take a bit of time to (adjust).
"I think it's going to be our first encounter on a hard court. Obviously with his style of game he prefers a bit faster surfaces and plays a lot of flat shots. He comes up with some shots that are really unexpected, so he can be very dangerous."
Murray is scheduled to take on Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla at 3 p.m. on Centre Court.