Pressure is on Djokovic, claims Kyle
KYLE EDMUND was not kidding when he described facing Novak Djokovic as ‘the hardest match on tour right now’.
The British No 2 will tonight, over the best of five sets, try to do what no man has managed in this truncated year and defeat the imperious looking Serb.
Edmund earned his shot in the second round of the US Open through an excellent victory over Alexander Bublik, which saw him come back to win 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-0.
The mercurial Kazakh was virtually unplayable early on, but the 25-year-old from East Riding rode out the storm.
Djokovic has a 24-0 record in 2020, and last week his form survived even the substantial off- court distractions of creating a new players’ union to try to shake up the tennis establishment.
Edmund (below) will, of course, be playing with house money, but he pointed out that it is not as simple as going out with the freedom to exercise his bludgeoning forehand.
‘All the pressure is on Novak in terms of him being expected to win,’ he said. ‘ That phrase “go and have a free hit” is OK, but you can’t just go and swing against Djokovic. You have to be very disciplined when you swing. You can’t just hit through him. The way he plays doesn’t allow you to do it.
‘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 No 1.
‘It takes a lot of resilience to play against him. It is going to be a very tough match.’
In two of their last three meetings, Edmund has caused Djokovic genuine problems, taking the first set when they met at Wimbledon in 2018 and beating him at the Madrid Open on clay earlier that year.
From the 33-year-old Serb’s point of view, it is not the easiest second-round match-up he could have, but he has picked up quickly from where he left off before lockdown.
British No 3 Cam Norrie, who knocked out ninth seed Diego Schwartzman in the first round, faces another Argentine, the world No 103 Federico Coria.
It is an excellent chance for the 25-year- old left- hander to reach a Grand Slam third round for the first time, and he will be looking to his Argentine coach Facundo Lugones to give him an edge.