Djokovic Makes Fast Start To Olympic Gold Bid Despite ‘Brutal’ Heat

July 24, 2021
News
Novak Djokovic 3

Novak Djokovic launched his quest for Olympic gold on Saturday with a straight-sets win at the Tokyo Games as tennis stars toiled in the searing summer heat on the opening day of the tournament.

World number one Djokovic, the undisputed favourite for the men’s title in Japan, easily dispatched Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2, avoiding a repeat of his first-round exit five years ago in Rio.

“It was challenging but I’m pleased to overcome the first hurdle,” said Djokovic, who was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro at the 2016 Olympics.

“I think I was solid on the court. I could always do better but for a first match I’m satisfied.”

Djokovic dodged the worst of the sweltering conditions at Ariake Tennis Park as late afternoon cloud cover provided some respite from the hot sunshine that confronted players in the earlier matches

Novak Djokovic 3

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic serves to Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s singles first round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 24, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

“It was the hottest day so far. Humidity is brutal. It’s certainly hot but also humid, the hard courts absorb the heat and it stays trapped in there. There was not much wind, not much breeze,” said Djokovic.

The 19,900-seat venue, home to 11 outdoor courts and the showpiece Ariake Coliseum court, was almost empty, with fans barred from all but a handful of Olympic sites in Tokyo because of strict Covid-19 rules.

Djokovic, a 2008 bronze medallist, is hoping to emulate Steffi Graf’s 1988 feat of winning the Golden Slam after already snapping up the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.

He will take on Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in round two, in an event missing half the men’s top 10 players, including 2008 Olympic champion Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

One of the Serb’s chief rivals for gold in Tokyo is Daniil Medvedev, who saved a set point in the second set before completing a 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) win over world number 40 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com