Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev have lead calls from players to start play later due to the intense Tokyo heat.
Play started at 11am Tokyo time on Saturday with temperatures reaching 33C and a humidity of 70%.
Many players struggled in the heat as first round singles and doubles action got under way.
Although Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev both won their opening matches, they both also complained about the heat with Djokovic calling for later start to matches, “To be honest I don’t understand why they don’t start matches at say 3 pm,” Djokovic said.
“I heard for tennis there’s some kind of curfew for them to finish by midnight. If that’s the case I just finished the last match. It’s not even 5pm.
“We still have like seven hours to play. They have the lights on all the courts, they’re going to make life much easier for all of us players. I just don’t understand why they don’t move it, I sincerely don’t understand. I doubt that they will change the decision but we’re hoping that they will.”
Meanwhile Daniil Medvedev called the conditions a ‘joke’ and slammed the decision for one minute changeovers, “The fact that we have only one minute between changeovers is a joke,” Medvedev told Reuters.
“I think if you ask, let’s say 200 tennis players that are here, I think 195 will tell you that one minute is a joke and it should be 1:30 like it is in ATP tournaments.”
When asked for comment the ITF defended their decision citing COVID-19 protocols and unpredictable weather patterns, “Player health is paramount and great consideration has been given to the 11am or a later start,” the ITF said in a statement to Reuters.
“The decision to retain 11 am was made based on data, a nine-day event and to accommodate factors such as local authority restrictions due to COVID-19 and the unpredictability of the weather. Extreme conditions will always put pressure on a schedule and make an optimum schedule challenging. Rainfall is as much of an issue as extreme heat.”
Meanwhile Maria Sakkari actually enjoyed the conditions in her win over Anett Kontaveit although she admitted some players will struggle with the heat, “It’s great to play in these conditions,” Sakkari said.
“I grew up playing in the heat. Maybe not that humid, but heat is the way we grew up playing in Greece and I actually embrace that. It’s normal that players react differently, if you put me in minus 20 degrees I would also struggle. It’s different conditions for everyone. I have to say. Many players will struggle with the heat.”
Play continues on Sunday with the heat continuing to test the players ability at the Olympics.
Ash Barty Reveals ‘Excitement’ After Mixed Doubles Medal In Tokyo
Ash Barty has revealed her excitement after her and John Peers won Australia’s first Olympic tennis medal for 17 years.
Ash Barty revealed her excitement at winning Bronze in the mixed doubles in Tokyo with John Peers.
The world number one along with doubles specialist John Peers claimed Australia’s first tennis medal at the Olympics since 2004.
Despite benefiting from a bronze medal match withdrawal from Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, that hasn’t taken away the happiness of claiming an Olympic medal.
Speaking to the Channel 7 programmes Sunrise Barty proudly spoke about the achievement, “It’s been an amazing week for both John and I,” Barty was quoted as saying by Tennis Australia.
“We’ve played some great tennis, probably the best we’ve ever played together. To walk away with a medal and contribute to the team total here in Australia has been incredible.
“Johnny and I, we put ourselves in a position all week to play good tennis and I feel like we really deserve this one. We were so close to being in that gold medal play-off and I think for both of us, it’s been awesome. We’ve played great. I felt like we really deserved this one for Australia.
“No, I think for us it’s excitement. I just hope as athletes, as a whole Australian team that’s here – all 480 odd of us – we can bring a smile to people’s faces at home when they’re sitting on the couch enjoying watching us trying (to) go out there and do Australia proud.”
As for John Peers it was an achievement of a lifetime, inspired by the traditional Olympic spirit, “Any chance you get to represent your country and to do it alongside Ash, to be able to say we’re the first mixed doubles medallists at an Olympics for Australia is something really special,” the 33 year-old commented.
“There was so much uncertainty leading into the Games and to be able to see the way the Australian team’s come together and sort of really bonded has really shown the Australian spirit, the way that all the athletes get behind each other.
“To be able to show the Olympics is going on in uncertain times is just something really special and unique and hopefully it can be the turning point for the world, and Australia, to come out the other side.”
Both will be hoping that this week will be the start of something special for Australian tennis as they will look to capitalise on this success in three years time in Paris.
Next for John Peers will be Washington next week where he and Filip Polasek are the top seeds.
While Ash Barty will be starting her preparations for the US Open in Cincinnati which starts on the 16th of August.
Czech Republican Trailblazers Inspire Krejcikova and Siniakova To Olympic Gold In Tokyo
Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova reflect on Czech Republic’s Olympic past after Olympic gold.
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova admit that former Czech Republican trailblazers inspired them to win doubles gold in Tokyo.
The top seeds claimed gold with a 7-5 6-1 win over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.
After edging a tight opening set, the Czech Republican duo eased to victory to claim gold in Tokyo.
It was a historic gold as the pair went one better than trailblazers Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova who won silver in Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1992.
After the victory today Krejcikova paid tribute to those before them and said that they were inspired by those who came before them, “The motivation we got from the previous medallists is really big,” the Roland Garros champion told the ITF website.
“I think we got really inspired by them. I think we really need to thank them because without them we just wouldn’t have the motivation and the inspiration.
“It’s really big. We’re really happy and really grateful that we could be here. We did such a great job during these 10 days and we have this beautiful gold medal. It’s pretty much a dream come true.”
While Katerina Siniakova also outlined how special it is to win the gold medal as the top seeds remain the team to beat in the Women’s doubles game, “It’s really special this one,” Siniakova admitted.
“I really enjoyed my whole time here. It was really tough and I’m so glad we kept fighting and in the end we have this one, this gold medal. It’s really amazing. I feel so honoured I got to represent my country.”
The Czech Republican will be favourites to win their fourth grand slam at the US Open in late August.
As for Bencic and Golubic, it has been a successful tournament especially for Bencic who won Olympic gold yesterday.
After the match Bencic admitted it’s not just about Olympic medals and that its about the memories created, “It’s not just about the medals or the titles, it’s about the memories you create that will last forever,” Bencic claimed.
“To share this with Viki is unbelievable. The whole week I never felt like I was in a normal tournament or playing alone. She was alongside me the entire way. I always tell her we won this gold medal together as well.
“When we will be 80 years old and have a coffee, we will talk about these moments and I cannot wait for that.”
Alexander Zverev Ends Germany’s 33-year Wait For Olympic Singles Gold
The new champion reacts to his historic win in Tokyo.
Alexander Zverev produced a dominant performance against Karen Khachanov to clinch the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The world No.5 dropped just five games during his 6-3, 6-1, win over his Russian rival. Impressively Zverev won 84% of his first service points and hit 27 winners against 15 unforced errors in the 79-minute match. It is the third time the German has won a title this season after the Mexican Open and Madrid Masters.
“It’s incredible; this is the biggest tournament you can win in any sport doesn’t matter what anybody else says doesn’t matter what some of the tennis players say,” Tennis Now quoted Zverev as telling the Olympic Channel.
“I can’t believe it. I’m an Olympic gold medalist. This is not even something you can dream about. It’s like so far away. It’s the first time in my life I don’t know what to say in an interview—this is how much it means.”
Zverev’s milestone win came just 24 hours after he stunned world No.1 Novak Djokovic in three sets to end his bid for a Golden Slam in 2021. Earlier in the tournament, he also scored wins over Kei Nishikori, Jeremy Chardy, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Daniel Elahi Galán and Lu Yen-Hsun.
The 24-year-old has become the first player from his country to win a gold medal in singles since Steffi Graf did so back in 1988. The year tennis returned to the Olympic Games. Since then the only other German success in the Games occurred in the doubles with Boris Becker and Michael Stich claiming silver in 1992.
“Because this tournament is not about yourself; I didn’t walk on court for one second for me,” Zverev said. “I walked on court for everybody back at home, everybody here at the village, the whole country of Germany. I never gave up and never lost the spirit.”
Meanwhile, Khachanov can take comfort in being the first Russian man to win a singles medal at the games since Yevgeny Kafelnikov won the title back in 2000. Tokyo was also the first time he has reached a singles final of any sort since winning the 2018 Paris Masters.
“You can analyse as much as you want, but we played an outstanding match from my point of view,” Khachanov told the Olympic News Service. “That’s how I felt, I tried to do basically the same things, had the same game plan. But, you know, he was just better, really. All credit to him.”
On Saturday Pablo Carreno Busta claimed the bronze medal after beating Djokovic in three sets.
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