World No. 1 Novak Djokovic underlined playing conditions were extremely tough following his first round win at the Tokyo Olympics over Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2. “Obviously it’s the same for everyone and it’s something we’ve known coming into Tokyo, we expected that the conditions were going to be very tough, but before you come here and experience that you don’t really know how difficult it is," Djokovic said, per Tennis365.
“Today there was not much of a breeze. I felt like there was trapped hot air that was absorbed by the surface. It was tough, and probably tougher for the earlier matches. I at least had half of the match in shade so I could see the ball better and not feel dizzy on the court”.
Djokovic suggested the matches in Tokyo should start at a later time and not 11 am. “Player health is paramount and great consideration has been given to the 11am or a later start. The decision to retain 11am was made based on data, a 9-day event and to accommodate factors such as local authority restrictions due to COVID-19 and the unpredictability of the weather," an ITF spokesperson said.
“Extreme conditions will always put pressure on a schedule and make an optimum schedule challenging. Rainfall is as much of an issue as extreme heat. An Extreme Weather Policy is in place. Tokyo 2020 competition officials have set procedures to monitor the heat stress index which determine whether play should be modified and have implemented these procedures today”.
Yet Djokovic hopes something will change
“I don’t really get why ITF doesn’t want to move the matches. This was the last centre court match and it was finished before 5pm. “There is hopefully some kind of an understanding from ITF on what they’ve seen.
All the athletes train and dream of being at an Olympic Games and then playing for half an hour and retiring, you don’t want to have the Olympic experience that way. But we have to accept whatever the circumstances are”.
While explaining how he felt on the court, Djokovic said: “You’re constantly dehydrated, you feel you have weights on your shoulders because there’s so much heat and humidity and stagnated air. “You don’t feel yourself, you feel slow with your legs.
It’s not the first time we get to experience tough conditions. I actually spoke to a couple of guys in the locker room and all of them said this is the toughest that they have experienced day to day”.