Novak Djokovic moved one win closer to a first Olympic gold medal. The World No. 1 opened his Tokyo campaign cruising past Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien in just over an hour.
“It’s just a different kind of energy, coming into the Olympics and representing your country, than any other tournament,” Djokovic said. “The Olympics is once every four years, we have four Grand Slams and many tournaments every year in our sport – we are lucky to have many opportunities.
“But the Olympics, it’s four years. That’s why the build-up is so important, and of course if you lose you feel like the whole world fell apart in that moment. But the next day you move on – that’s sport. Hopefully I can keep smiling in a week’s time, let’s see.”
Djokovic, who has now won his last 19 matches, will next meet Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday in Tokyo. He leads the German 5-0.
No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev struggled a bit but survived a tough test against Alexander Bublik 6-4 7-6(8).
“There are a few players that you don’t want to play in the first round, like Fucsovics, Struff, Bublik – I’ve played them a lot in first rounds lately, and it’s not easy.
“But the good thing is, you know that if you manage to go through this round, you’re going to have some momentum. That’s what happened at Roland Garros: it was not an easy match against him, but I managed to beat him and went on to win many matches in a row.
“I hope it’s going to be the same here.”
Medvedev will face Sumit Nagal ahead on Monday.
Marin Cilic won it on his 11th match point holding off Joao Menezes in a final set breaker. The Croatian led 5-1 in the third, barely avoiding a colossal collapse.
In the afternoon heat, Lorenzo Sonego also won a third set breaker beating Japan’s Taro Daniel. Pablo Carenno Busta, Fabio Fognini and Aslan Karatsev were also winners.
Tomorrow, 2-time defending gold medalist Andy Murray is back on court against Felix Auger-Aliassime. Kei Nishikori will career Japan’s hopes against Andrey Rublev. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are also in first round action.
SUNDAY TOKYO OLYMPIC SCHEDULE
Centre Court – starting at 11:00
WS 1 (1) BARTY Ashleigh (AUS) vs SORRIBES TORMO Sara (ESP)
WS 1 ZHENG Saisai (CHN) vs (2) OSAKA Naomi (JPN)
MS 1 MURRAY Andy (GBR) vs (9) AUGER-ALIASSIME Felix (CAN)
MS 1 KOHLSCHREIBER Philipp (GER) vs (3) TSITSIPAS Stefanos (GRE)
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