Novak Djokovic calls for change to Olympics tennis schedule
Novak Djokovic has urged organisers to reconsider the Olympic tennis schedule as a result of the hot and humid conditions in Tokyo.
The world number one eased to a 6-2 6-2 victory over Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, though described the match as ‘brutal’ and a ‘real challenge’ as temperatures soared north of 30 degrees Celsius.
Following his victory, Djokovic’s disapproval of the extreme weather conditions was palpable as he called for organisers to rethink their scheduling.
“I’m still waiting to meet the player that likes this kind of weather,” said Djokovic with a wry smile. “Playing in extreme heat and humidity that is 90 per cent or God knows how much, it’s very challenging.
“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.
“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.”
Despite an ITF spokesperson reiterating that player health is paramount and that an ‘Extreme Weather Policy’ is in place, the Serbian has questioned why the organisation are hesitant on changing the schedule.
“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,” said the Wimbledon champion.
“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.”
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