Novak Djokovic is the big favorite to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, also thanks to the numerous forfeits that characterized the troubled eve of the event. The world number 1 has won all three Grand Slams staged so far, as well as nurturing the dream of realizing the 'Calendar Grand Slam' and writing an indelible page in tennis history.
The Serbian champion passed the first two rounds without any difficulty, having ruled both the Bolivian Dellien and the German Struff in two sets. Not even the latter's serve created particular headaches for the 34-year-old from Belgrade, who imposed himself with a clear 6-4 6-3 without ever being overwhelmed by the power of his opponent.
The main obstacles on his way to gold appear to be Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. World number 5 could be Nole's opponent in the semifinals, after Sascha dismissed poor Daniel Galan Riveros with a double 6-2.
Interviewed by 'Bild', Zverev admitted that he is already looking forward to the clash with Djokovic for a place in the final.
Alexander Zverev on Novak Djokovic
“I hope that I might play Novak Djokovic in the evening,” world number 48 Struff told Bild.
Alexander Zverev replied “During the day is better! Take a look at his Australian Open Night record. That’s kind of 27-1 or 30-1. The only match he lost was against [Stan] Wawrinka [in the 2014 quarter-finals]. He would have won against aliens too”.
The German duo are competing together in the men’s doubles event – where they will next face the French pairing of Gael Monfils and Jeremy Chardy in the second round. Novak Djokovic has been turning heads lately not just because of who he is, but also because of what he has a chance to accomplish this year.
"I'm representing my country and myself, but I'm also representing tennis," Djokovic said. "So it (the attention) is a huge honor, honestly. I am very happy to see there's a lot of attention towards tennis players.
There's a lot of people that follow tennis and give us support. For me of course it feeds me with good energy to perform well. I try to focus on that," he added. "I know there is a lot of following and a lot of expectations.
I know history is on the line, (it) is in my thoughts, it's in my heart. But I've got to keep things quite simple for me in order to get to the desired destination."