The extreme weather at the Tokyo Olympics influenced the first day of matches in the wonderful Ariake Tennis Park. The scorching heat – combined with the worrying levels of humidity – have in fact induced the ITF to create an ‘Extreme Heat Policy’ to suspend matches in the event of excessive temperatures. Both Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini complained about the conditions in which they had to play, so much so that we have not seen any memorable challenges at this start of the tournament. Although it was known that heat would play an important role in mid-summer, it was still decided to start the program at 11 am. ATP number 2 Daniil Medvedev also expressed himself on the subject, setting the unpredictable Alexander Bublik at his debut by offering a good performance. The Russian had a small blank pass only in the opening of the second set, when he had to recover from 0-3 before engaging the high gears. The 2021 Australian Open finalist, aiming for a medal, could not help but harshly criticize the playing conditions.
Medvedev is among the favorites to win the gold medal
“I think, like they do in Mexico, the matches should maybe start at like 6 pm because the heat actually gets much lighter,” Daniil Medvedev said after the match. “We’re here and we know the matches will be early and you couldn’t practise at this time.” The changeover time is usually 90 seconds long at other tennis tournaments. “I don’t think they’re going to change it in the middle of the tournament, but that’s what can be done and the fact we only havey one minute between changeovers is a joke,” Medvedev said. “I think if you ask 200 tennis players here, I think 195 will say one minute is a joke and it should be 1:30 like it is in Asian tournaments.” The biggest obstacle in the 25-year-old’s quest for gold is Novak Djokovic, who is gunning for an unprecedented Calendar Golden Slam this year. Daniil Medvedev acknowledged on Saturday that he was eyeing the gold medal, but in the same breath admitted that he wasn’t the top contender for it. “My first goal is to try and win every match here,” Medvedev said. “When I come to the Olympics all I want is a gold medal, but we all know who is the favourite and it’s not me. I’m may be kind of close but not the favourite, so I just try to do my best.”