Olympics

"It's Not The First Time" - Djokovic Blasts Olympic Organisers For Hot Conditions

"It's Not The First Time" - Djokovic Blasts Olympic Organisers For Hot Conditions

World Number One Novak Djokovic was one of many detractors of the tennis conditions after the opening stages of the 2020 Olympics.

The 34-year-old was less than pleased at having to play in the sweltering heat in Tokyo. Many players have called for matches to be played later in the day.

"I don't understand why they don't start the matches at, say, 3pm," Djokovic said. "We still have seven hours to play. They have lights on all the courts."

Djokovic, who will no doubt be favoured for an Olympic gold medal, came out a comfortable winner over Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 in the his opening match.

"You feel you have weights on your shoulders because there's so much heat and humidity and stagnated air," he said. Temperatures in Tokyo have averaged in the low 30s, with humidity reaching 80 percent.

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Djokovic continued to describe how the conditions affected him on the court. "You don't feel yourself, you feel slow with your legs. It's not the first time we get to experience tough conditions," the Serbian said.

"I 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. I don't really get why ITF doesn't want to move the matches."

The 2021 Wimbledon champion was joined in his transgressions by second ranked Daniil Medvedev. The Russian, who also played his opening game in peak warmth, said it was "some of the worst" conditions he experienced.

Organisers have moved some events outside of Tokyo to deal with conditions, with some competitions taking place later in the day, including the rowing due to fears of a typhoon.

Medvedev also called the new changeover rules a "joke" - as players are only allowed a rest time of 60 seconds as opposed to the usual 90.

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The statements come after Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 30, took a timeout for medical reasons on Friday due to dizziness. Pavlyuchenkova was given an air tube and ice packs to cool down.

The International Tennis Federation have responded to the players comments, saying "great consideration" was given to the start times based on statistics and data collected before the 2020 Olympics.

"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."

The Japanese Government issued heatstroke alerts earlier in the week, advising the general public not to exercise outdoors. You can see the irony there..

See Also: Dealing With The Heat - Tokyo 2020's Plans To Combat High Temperatures

Jonathan Byrne

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