Novak Djokovic and Jan-Lennard Struff won their respective first-round matches at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, thereby setting up a mouth-watering second-round clash against each other.
While Struff is regarded as a dangerous opponent for any player on the tour, he has not troubled Novak Djokovic much in the past. The two have met five times before, with the Serb winning all of them, dropping just one set in the process.
Despite his poor record against Djokovic, Struff appears upbeat about his prospects. Speaking to Bild after his opening-round win against Thiago Monteiro in Tokyo, Struff said facing the Serb in his current form would be "special."
Struff acknowledged he had to be at his best to stand a chance against Djokovic, but asserted his belief in his own ability.
“I really wanted the match," Struff said. "It's absolutely special. Novak is currently in incredible form. I have to play my best tennis, otherwise I don't have a chance. I've played him a couple of times and unfortunately I always lost. But I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn't even play. Everyone wants to trip him up - me too."
I still need a few tips from Sascha: Jan-Lennard Struff on upcoming encounter with Novak Djokovic
Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Zverev are representing Germany in the men's doubles event at the Olympics. They won their opening match against the Polish pair of Hubert Hurkacz and Lukasz Kubot on Saturday.
After the win, the pair spoke to Bild on a number of topics, including Struff's upcoming encounter with Djokovic.
While Struff said he would prefer to take on the Serb in the evening, Alexander Zverev explained why facing Djokovic during the day would be a better option for the 31-year-old.
Struff: "I hope that I might play (Novak Djokovic) in the evening."
Zverev: "During the day is better!"
Zverev: "Better for you too."
Struff: “Well, let's leave it like that. You can hear that I still need a few tips from Sascha."
Zverev also highlighted Djokovic's imperious record in night matches at the Australian Open to back up his claim.
Zverev: “Take a look at his Australia Open Night record. That's kind of 27: 1 or 30: 1. The only match he lost was against Wawrinka. He would have won against aliens too. "
Zverev and Djokovic will face each other in the semifinals should both of them advance to that stage.