Gael Monfils: 'Djokovic is Djokovic, a champion'

Paola Ditto
Gennaio 20, 2018

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic, however, complained about the brutal conditions during his second-round win over Gael Monfils, when the temperature peaked at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Afterwards, he called the conditions "risky" for the players, especially with the new rule restricting the time between points to 25 seconds.

Federer backed the stance, saying that the current agreement no longer suitably rewarded the players, who reportedly split around seven per cent of the revenue from the grand slam tournaments.

"For sure we took a risk", the 31-year-old Frenchman said.

"He hit harder than me the service and the forehand and I had to run a lot, but I think I took my chances to win the match", he said. But, like I said on court, I would back myself playing during the daytime also.

Fans had yesterday fumed at the Australian organisers for putting such a marquee second-round match on during the day, when it would inevitably be hotter, while Roger Federer's clash with world No 55 Jan-Lennard Struff is on during the evening session.

The statement read: "The Extreme Heat Policy comes into effect once the ambient temperature exceeds 40C & the Wet Bulb index (WBGT) exceeds 32.5C".

Angelique Kerber did her bit for media relations on Thursday by giving her 30th birthday cake to the tennis press.

Sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia and No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska also advanced.

She saved one match point in the ninth game on her serve before Hsieh served out the match in the next, clinching it with a winning backhand to the corner. Pera, who didn't even know she had a spot in the main draw until another player withdrew, will next play No. 20 Barbora Strycova.

While he didn't mention any kind of boycott the Swiss veteran said players must present a united front to force the increase.

"I hope I survive under those conditions too because if you want to get to the top you have to play in all sorts of conditions". Djokovic, however, improved his serve in the second set, firing four aces and zero double faults, and earned 80 percent of the second serve points. He forced Djokovic to win it.

"It was brutal conditions and we both suffered, it was a big challenge for both of us", Djokovic said on-court.

Djokovic said the conditions were some of the toughest he's ever played in, and had some advice for organizers with temperatures predicted to rise to 42 degrees C (108 degrees F) on Day 5.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, had issues with the heat but still advanced along with No. 19 Tomas Berdych, No. 21 Albert Ramos and No. 5 Dominic Thiem, who rallied to beat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

"There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognize that you might need to give players few extra hours", he said. "If you don't play matches, people will be unhappy".

"But I think there is a limit, and that is a level of, I guess, tolerance between being fit and being in danger in terms of health".

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