Novak Djokovic made it through Round 2 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics tennis competition with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday July 26 at Ariake Tennis Park. It took the World No. 1 an hour and 14 minutes to finish it on center court in a clinical performance. Despite a decent start from the current world number 48, Struff, who served well and stayed with his Serbian opponent early in the first set, Djokovic took care of business quickly and efficiently. The two tied service game for service game at 4-4 in Set 1, but as soon as the opportunity arose, Djokovic pounced. Leading 5-4 on Struff’s serve, he applied the pressure to win four straight points and break the love affair, claiming the first set 6-4. The break came much earlier in the second set, at 30-15 in the second game, Djokovic took the point and pumped his fist, letting out a roar with increasing intensity. There was another roar from the Serbian as a beautiful backhand crossed on the court made it three games to one in the second set as Djokovic turned the screw. Going through his record of brilliant passing shots on the line, carefully crafted drop shots, unrecoverable serves, and lightning serve and volley attacks, it was all over in one hour and 14 minutes. The victory put the 6-0 head-to-head between these two as Djokovic’s giant advances. The victory means the 34-year-old is one step closer to a historic ‘Golden Slam’, which means winning all four major tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in a single year. No male tennis player has ever done it, Steffi Graff is the only one to have won all five titles in the same year, in 1988. Djokovic has already won the Australian and French Open this year, as well as the Wimbledon title last month to claim the 20th Grand Slam title of his career.
Novak Djokovic on people’s expectations
A month ago Novak Djokovic was in two minds about participating in the Olympics, given the fact that there are no spectators allowed in the stands. But he finally made the decision to play, much to the delight of his fans. “I didn’t allow any pressure from anybody,” Djokovic said. “I switched off actually; I was with my family and I spent three, four days after the Wimbledon finals. Didn’t really use my phone much at all and just needed that time to recover and rejuvenate a little bit so I could have a clear mind for the decision-making process – whether I wanted to come to Tokyo or not. As I said in London, for me one of the biggest obstacles to coming here was the absence of crowds,” he went on. “I felt like after playing three Olympic Games, it’s not like it’s my first Olympic games, so I felt maybe I didn’t know whether I wanted to come and play in front of the empty stadium. But there were a lot more positives on the other side of things – like what I’ve just talked about (the experience in the Olympic village) and of course representing my country at the most important sports event in history,” Djokovic added. “That prevailed, and I’m happy because once I made a decision I was very clear that it was the right decision and I’m just enjoying myself very much here.”