SUBMITTED BY JOE MCDONALD FROM THE U.S. OPEN TENNIS CENTER

Djokovic Cruises To The Second Round

By Joe McDonald

There are big changes this year for Novak Djokovic at this year’s open.

The No. 1 seed comes in as a newlywed and a soon to be expantant father and you have to wonder if that would take anything off his game, after all we have seen athletes settle down and something comes off the fastball.

And this summer, the Serbian had some problems on the hard courts in Toronto and Cincinnati, so you have to start wondering.

“Conditions were a little bit different, I have to say, from the ones that I practiced in in last week or so,” Djokovic said after beating Argentine Diego Swartzman in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round. “I didn't practice in the night, so it's surprisingly very quick surface. But I think I managed to adapt very well. Yeah, I had a good timing in general. So last three weeks actually, Toronto and Cincinnati, were a bit tough emotionally for me. I wasn't finding my game. I wasn't able to feel comfortable on the court.

“But look, you know, this is sport. I had many things that happened in my private life as well in the last two months, so I probably was not mentally ready to still compete at a high level in Toronto and Cincinnati. But now it's different. I feel emotionally recharged and ready to go.”

Djokovic is going to have a very tough road ahead of him if he is going to win his second US Open crown. A very tough draw will see him facing American Jon Isner, US Open Series winner Milos Raonic, Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka and perennial threat Andy Murray.

But that doesn’t faze the Space Cowboy.

“It's not the first time and hopefully not the last time that I'm first seed,” he said. “It's definitely a privilege, you know, and responsibility. Pressure is part of the sport. I'm used to it already. I enjoy pressure in a way because it brings meaning to what I do. It definitely motivates me more.”

Djokovic will now face Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round. 

See more of Joe McDonald’s work at www.nysportsday.com.