Novak Djokovic was clearly struggling in the soaring temperatures. © AFP
Novak Djokovic said it was a “magnificent feeling” when he and US Open opponent Marton Fucsovics sat naked in separate, adjacent ice baths during a heat break on Tuesday. For the first time in the history of the Grand Slam event, male players have been told they can take a 10-minute break from the searing heat when a match has reached two sets to one. Djokovic and Hungary’s Fucsovics spent their brief time off court at the Arthur Ashe Stadium by stripping down and plunging into ice baths to cool off from the 38-degree heat.
“I want to thank US Open for allowing us to have a 10 minute break. I think we both needed it,” said Wimbledon champion and two-time US Open winner Djokovic.
“We had the ice baths next to each other. We were naked in the ice baths — it was a magnificent feeling I must say to be naked with the guy you are still battling when the match hasn’t finished.”
Djokovic won the first round tie 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Djokovic was clearly struggling in the soaring temperatures that contributed to at least three retirements on Tuesday, but he regrouped for the win in his first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium court since he fell to Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 final.
The Serb star next faces American Tennys Sandgren, a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Serbian Viktor Tricki.
Novak Djokovic Tennis