Novak Djokovic advances in Olympic tennisBy Steven Wine
WIMBLEDON, England – Novak Djokovic waited out a 3½-hour rain delay Sunday, and when his Olympic match resumed, he paid a heavy price for losing the first two points.
They cost him the opening set against Fabio Fognini of Italy.
The interruption came at 7-all in a tiebreaker, and Djokovic knew he needed to come out of the delay with a fast start on Wimbledon’s grass.
“I was thinking about those two points and the way I should play them,” he said. “But of course this is a specific surface. Everything happens very fast.”
Once Djokovic fell behind, he quickly rallied and overtook Fognini 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-2.
It was the only match played on Court 1, and it took all day. The start was delayed nearly three hours.
Djokovic, seeded No. 2, played better as the match progressed and committed only one unforced error in the final set. The victory was his first since he lost three weeks ago to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals.
“I haven’t played an official match since Wimbledon, so it took me a set and a half to really get into a rhythm,” he said. “Obviously the rain delay affected the game, and I wasn’t sharp enough after the rain delay.”
But he’s into the second round, where he could face Andy Roddick, a two-time Wimbledon runner-up. Roddick’s first-round match was postponed, as were 31 others.
Djokovic, a bronze medalist in 2008, carried the Serbian flag in Friday’s opening ceremony. He said those involved in this year’s tennis tournament regret that Wimbledon is a 90-minute commute from the athletes village.
“It’s really an honor and a privilege to be part of the Olympic Games,” he said, “although we would wish to be part of the Olympic Village and feel that atmosphere beside the best athletes in the world.”