Djokovic wary of power threat from Ed­mund

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport / Us Open - By Si­mon Briggs

En­ter­ing the US Open on Mon­day night, Bri­tish No 3 Kyle Ed­mund had ev­ery rea­son to feel anx­ious. He was about to take on the whim­si­cal and of­ten self-de­struc­tive tal­ent that is Kaza­khstan’s Alexan­der

Bub­lik.

True to form, Bub­lik mixed un­der­arm serves, dou­ble faults and 130 mph aces with no ap­par­ent logic. At the other end, Ed­mund did well to re­group af­ter a slow start. Crank­ing up his blun­der­buss of a fore­hand, he sealed vic­tory in four sets.

What a con­trast, then, to to­day’s sec­ond-round match. Ev­ery­one knows ex­actly what Ed­mund will face from world No1 No­vak Djokovic. Ice-cold bril­liance.

Djokovic is on a 24-match win­ning streak in 2020, and the way he is play­ing he has a real chance of fin­ish­ing the sea­son un­beaten.

You could see the stan­dards he ex­pects from him­self in his own open­ing-round match, against Damir Dzumhur. Hav­ing saun­tered through the first set, Djokovic al­lowed Dzumhur to pick up four games in the sec­ond. He then turned around and screamed so loudly at his back­room staff that you could have heard him 15 miles away in Man­hat­tan.

Ed­mund will hope to wit­ness more such erup­tions to­day. At least he is blessed with the sort of all-ac­tion game that can worry the very best with its de­struc­tive po­ten­tial.

“He does have a re­ally good serve and fore­hand, two re­ally big weap­physio

ons,” said Djokovic of Ed­mund, whom he leads 5-1 in their head-to­head meetings.

“He doesn’t feel so much pres­sure, I think, play­ing on the big court. I have a lot of re­spect for him. He puts a lot of hours on and off the court into per­fect­ing his game. He does have the game and po­ten­tial to be in the top 20 with­out a doubt.”

Ed­mund is now ranked No 44, af­ter per­sis­tent knee sore­ness held him back last sea­son. He has used lock­down well, pack­ing four more ki­los of mus­cle on to his al­ready ath­letic frame. But for an un­favourable draw, he could have tar­geted the sec­ond week of this tour­na­ment.

“It’s the hard­est match on tour right now,” Ed­mund said af­ter his win on Mon­day. “He’s just such a tough player to break down. I have an ag­gres­sive game, I have suc­cess break­ing peo­ple down, but there is a rea­son he is world No1. It takes a lot of re­silience to play against him.

“All the pres­sure is on him, be­ing ex­pected to win. You can’t just go and swing against Djokovic, you have to be dis­ci­plined. My strength isn’t try­ing to play them at their game. I’ve got to play my game.”

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