World No. 1 Novak Djokovic insists there is nothing bad in feeling pressure as he feels it's a privilege. Djokovic, a record 20-time Grand Slam champion, beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets to make the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinal.
Djokovic entered the Tokyo Olympics as the top favorite to win it all and there is pressure on him to deliver. "Pressure is a privilege. Without pressure there is no professional sport," said Djokovic after his 6-3, 6-1 win over Davidovich Fokina, per Firstpost.
"If you are aiming to be at the top of the game, you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments. "On the court, but also off the court, all the expectations and all that buzz and all that noise...
I've learned to develop a mechanism how to deal with it in such a way that it will not pose a distraction to me, it will not wear me down. "I feel I have enough experience to know myself how to step on the court and play my best tennis."
Djokovic worked on becoming mentally strong
"No one is born with those abilities, those abilities come with time," he said. Djokovic suffered a disappointing first round exit at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
"Rio was a very tough loss for me. I came into Rio also a big favourite, winning four out of the last five Grand Slams and number one in the world so I know that feeling," said Djokovic. "It's a kind of similar feeling now, but I'm a more experienced player and I know what I need to do mentally, and how to work things around on and off the court in order to feel the best I possibly can."
Djokovic plays next against home favorite Kei Nishikori, who beat Ilya Ivashka to set up a clash against the world No. 1. Nishikori is hoping to deliver a strong performance and stun Djokovic. "Djokovic is the strongest player in the draw.
I've been playing well this week, I want to keep that good feelings and take a full swing. I have to play well with something extra, otherwise I'll lose," Nishikori said. "I'm getting better, only that gives me confidence.
(If I had had to play with him) several months ago, I'd have had no confidence. Finally I've started making decent rallies, feel like I can clash with him to some extent."