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By Adrianna Outlaw | Saturday, July 24, 2021


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic rolled past Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2 in his Olympic opener in Tokyo.

Photo credit: International Tennis Federation Olympic Facebook

Novak Djokovic was flying high in his Olympic opener and stuck the landing.

World No. 1 Djokovic dismissed Bolivia's Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2 in his Olympic opener on a sweltering day at Tokyo's Ariake Tennis Park.

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Playing his first match since beating Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final to capture his record-tying 20th Grand Slam crown, Djokovic scored his 19th consecutive victory following title runs at Belgrade, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Continuing his hunt to make history as the first man to win the calendar Golden Grand Slam—and join Steffi Graf as just the second player in history to attain that magical feat—Djokovic improved to 35-3 on the season.

It was a near-flawless start for Djokovic, who was toppled by Juan Martin del Potro in a fierce first-round fight at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games that saw the emotional Serbian embrace his conqueror and depart the court in tears.

Today, Djokovic was all business and said he's aiming for two immediate goals: focus fully on each match and maintain a smile on his face amid severe pressure playing for history.

“I cry a lot, you just don’t see it,” Djokovic said. “The Olympics, representing your country, has always raised the expectations, the pressure and the emotional involvement from my side. All the tennis players and athletes would agree.

“It’s just a different kind of energy, coming into the Olympics and representing your country, than any other tournament. The Olympics is once every four years; we have four Grand Slams and many tournaments every year in our sport – we are lucky to have many opportunities."

A bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, Djokovic will try to exert his experience against German Jan-Lennard Struff in round two of the 64-player Olympic draw. The big-serving Struff swept Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 6-3, 6-4. 

“But the Olympics, it’s four years. That’s why the build-up is so important, and of course if you lose you feel like the whole world fell apart in that moment. But the next day you move on— that’s sport. Hopefully I can keep smiling in a week’s time, let’s see.”

Tennis Express

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev battled by Alexander Bublik 6-4, 7-6(8) and will face India's Sumit Nagal in round two. Nagal was a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 victor over Denis Istomin in his opener.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic withstood first-round stress converting his 11th match point to finally subdue Brazil's Joao Menezes 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(7) in a tense opening-round win.


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