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"I thought Novak Djokovic was going to feel pressure for the Golden Slam, but he's very calm" - Davidovich Fokina after 3R loss to the Serb

Novak Djokovic during his match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Novak Djokovic during his match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
ANALYST

Novak Djokovic produced a clinical display to defeat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3, 6-1 in the third round of the Olympics on Wednesday. Djokovic faced only two break points, both of which came in the first set and were quickly snuffed out by the Serb.

The World No. 1 is bidding to become the first man to achieve the Calendar Golden Slam, having already won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year. He now needs an Olympic singles gold and US Open title to emulate Steffi Graf's legendary feat.

Despite coming into the Olympics under tremendous pressure with regards to his Golden Slam ambitions, Djokovic has shown no signs of nerves. He has not dropped a set all week despite barely moving out of second gear.

After his defeat to the World No. 1, Davidovich Fokina asserted that he tried his best to take down Djokovic, but admitted the Serb was "much superior" in every aspect of the game.

The Spaniard further revealed that he thought Djokovic would be nervous since he's within touching distance of the Golden Slam, and is surprised that that's not the case.

"I tried to give it my all, I had break options at the beginning, but he was much superior," Alejandro Davidovich Fokina said. "He is playing at a very high level, enormously consistent and he looks very motivated to win here and then in New York. I thought he was going to feel some pressure for the Golden Slam, but he's very calm."

As things stand, Djokovic is just three wins away from his first-ever gold medal at the quadrennial event. The World No. 1 will face home favorite Kei Nishikori in the last eight on Thursday, after which he could lock horns with Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.

Should Novak Djokovic make the summit clash, he could face second seed Daniil Medvedev.

Donna Vekic lauds Novak Djokovic for "fighting for the players"

Meanwhile, Donna Vekic heaped praise on Novak Djokovic for his role in ensuring the schedule for tennis matches at the Olympics was changed.

Tennis matches in Tokyo were, until Wednesday, scheduled to begin at 11 am local time. However, the sweltering conditions in the Japanese city at that time of the day made things extremely difficult for several players.

Paula Badosa suffered a heatstroke in her quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova on Wednesday and had to retire after one set.

Daniil Medvedev also struggled to cope with the heat in his third-round encounter against Fabio Fognini on Wednesday. The Russian, who received medical treatment several times, was heard telling the chair umpire during the second set: "I can finish the match, but I can die. If I die, who will take responsibility".

Paula Badosa being wheelchaired away
Paula Badosa being wheelchaired away

Numerous players complained about the timing of their matches, including Novak Djokovic, who took it upon himself to initiate dialogue with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to alter the start times.

The ITF finally paid heed to the requests of the players by releasing a statement on Wednesday in which they confirmed that matches would begin at 3 pm local time instead of 11 am from Thursday.

Against that background, Donna Vekic, who lost to Elena Rybakina in the third round on Tuesday, expressed her gratitude to Djokovic for the support he had provided.

"Bravo @DjokerNole thanks for always fighting for the players," Vekic tweeted.
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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