Novak Djokovic said there’s no extra pressure as the world No. 1 battled his way into the second round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic defeated Damir Dzumhur in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1, to breeze into the second round of the tournament.
But some of his aggressive play and gesticulations during the match were more akin to a matchup at the sharp end of the tournament. He even found time to argue with the umpire during the matchup.
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But, after extending his wining streak to 24 consecutive matches, Djokovic said he wasn’t feeling the pressure at the behind-closed-doors Grand Slam.
“You care about winning a tennis match, obviously you’re a professional,” he said.
“If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be here. This is how I play, I play with a lot of intensity and try to bring a lot of energy to the court.”
Djokovic has already been crowned as the champion-in-waiting at Flushing Meadows, due to the absence of his two big rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
But, speaking to the press after his win, the Serbian star said he’s embracing the expectation as he looks to continue his remarkable run of form.
“I know pressure is a privilege. Pressure is part of what we do,” he said.
“I try to embrace it. I know what I need to do and how to behave, how to make myself calm and composed and focused on what really needs to be done.
“Do I want to keep the streak going? Of course, I do. Am I thinking about it as a priority number one every single day? No.
“It’s there, and of course it’s an additional motivation for me. It actually fuels me to play even stronger, play even better, I think I bring the right intensity every match.”
Djokovic will take on British player Kyle Edmund in the second round.