Novak Djokovic began his hunt for the Gold Medal in an emphatic way as he went on to defeat Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2 in just 61 minutes. Novak was clinical throughout the match and easily went past Dellien who had no answer to the Serbian’s simultaneous big questions. Djokovic held his serve throughout the match and did not offer a single break opportunity to Hugo.
Despite an astounding win, Djokovic was not satisfied at the end of the match. The Serbian was unhappy with the match timings and called out International Tennis Federation (ITF) to move the time of the matches ahead as it was extremely humid and hot at the Ariake Tennis Centre where the matches are currently being held.
“These are the most difficult conditions I have ever played in. I really don’t think anybody likes to play in such heat and humidity. I expected the conditions to be tough, but when you come here you realize that you are never prepared enough. The air was absorbed by the court. I don’t understand why the ITF doesn’t move the matches a little later,” said Novak after the match.
“You have half the pitch in the light and the other in the shade” says Novak Djokovic
Novak talked about how the conditions were dampening the experience of playing in the Olympics. The matches begin at 11 AM local time and with the afternoon sun over the head, the visibility of the ball also gets affected in the growing heat which takes a different physical toll on the players who are already engaging in high-intensity play.
“It was hard, especially when playing at this hour and with the way the stadium is built, you have half the pitch in the light and the other in the shade, and so it’s not easy to see the ball. We can play until midnight. I understand that there is a curfew, but I hope the ITF understands that it is not good.
“The Olympics are a fantastic experience and it is not fair that it ends like this. So the only thing to do is to place the matches in the late afternoon or evening. There is nothing we the players can do but take note of the decisions that are made by others, but that way it is not easy to play,” added Djokovic after his match against Dellien.
Daniil Medvedev, who played on the Centre Court before Novak, had also talked about the conditions being difficult to play in.
“I think there will be a lot of cramps, and sunstroke too. But I don’t want to bemoan or criticize these conditions, it’s like that. Anyway, tennis is always a fight, a fight against yourself,” said Medvedev.
With issues arising on the opening day of the event, it will be interesting to see how the ITF takes note of this and will they make any changes to the schedule to prevent any mishaps.