All in all quiet debut for Novak Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics. Hugo Dellien, already over the moon for having removed the pass for the Games, could not represent a serious threat to the number 1 in the world. The Bolivian, who had played just 16 matches in his career on hardcourt (winning 5), bowed with a double 6-2 showing a compliant attitude from the start. For the Serbian champion there could not have been a better debut, as he was able to become familiar with the balls and the surface. The 34-year-old from Belgrade is the big favorite for the gold medal, especially after winning all three majors on stage in 2021. The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who equaled Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal thanks to the sixth seal at Wimbledon, he made no secret of wanting to make the ‘Calendar Golden Slam’, an epic feat that would project him even higher in the history of sport. The next obstacle in his path will be the German Jan-Lennard Struff, an opponent of a very different caliber than Dellien.
Novak Djokovic could not have been a better debut
“It was a challenge, but I’m happy to get over the first hurdle. I think I was solid on the court. I could always do better, but for a first game I am satisfied. I think I played well enough to win, but I also know that I can do better. There were some moments that were better in training in the previous days, but that is something to be expected, because the game is a different story. As much as I have experience, this is the Olympics: the expectations, the pressure to start, to play well, at the level you want … Still, 6-2, 6-2 at the end, I didn’t spend much time in field” – Novak Djokovic said. “It was the h*ttest day so far. The humidity is brutal. It’s certainly hot, but it’s also damp, and hard courts absorb the heat and it gets trapped there. There wasn’t much wind, not much breeze. Conditions are definitely tough. It’s tiring, especially when it’s sunny. I do not understand why the start of the first matches did not move, since the television broadcast is not an excuse either, because due to the time difference it would be good for both Europe and America” – he added. The World number one assured that the Bolivian dedicated him some very nice words when they went to greet each other on the network. That is why later, in the locker room, both exchanged shirts in a great gesture of sportsmanship.