Djokovic says ‘pressure is a privilege’ that he can handle

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Tokyo

With the topic of athletes’ mental health and pressure being discussed at the Olympics, Novak Djokovic said “pressure is a privilege.”

The top-ranked Serb was asked how he deals with the pressure of attempting to accomplish something that no man has done before in tennis: completing a Golden Slam.

Steffi Graf in 1988 is the only tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam, winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold in the same calendar year.

“Pressure is a privilege, my friend,” Djokovic said in answer to a reporter’s question after winning both of his matches at the Ariake Tennis Park on Wednesday, beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain to reach the quarterfinals in singles then teaming with partner Nina Stojanovic for another victory in the opening round of mixed doubles. “Without pressure there is no professional sport,” Djokovic added.

“If you are aiming to be at the top of the game you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments — on the court but also off the court.”

Djokovic, who has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year and needs the Tokyo Games title and the U.S. Open trophy to complete a Golden Slam, said he has learned to deal with all expectations.—AP

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