Djokovic wary of power threat from Edmund
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
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.”