Novak Djokovic discusses ‘very strange’ ATP Finals win over Diego Schwartzman
Novak Djokovic conceded it felt “weird” to play in an empty O2 Arena on Monday as he beat Diego Schwartzman in his opening match at the ATP Tour Finals. Djokovic comfortably beat the Argentine underdog in straight sets.
It took just over an hour and a quarter for Djokovic to dispatch of Schwartzman in an empty O2 Arena.
Djokovic took control of the match early in the first set and never lost it as he comfortably won his first group game.
The world number one had a brief wobble after losing serve in the third game of the opener, but quickly recovered and broke twice to see out the set.
Then, in the second, he was much more aggressive and dominated proceedings.
He broke service in the opening game of the second set, before doing so again to take a 3-1 lead.
Djokovic continued his dominant streak to see out the match, barely putting a foot wrong before closing out 6-3, 6-2 win.
But afterwards, he conceded that the match felt strange due to the lack of fans in the arena.
The 33-year-old has won the tournament five times, but has never had to do so in an empty arena.
Djokovic said: “Obviously we don’t get to experience this format in any other tournament this season.
“Even if you lose a match in a group you have an opportunity to qualify for the semi-finals.
“I’ve been playing [here] for many years, been blessed to experience some incredible matches and atmospheres. I must say it feels very strange to play in front of empty stands.
“For everyone at home and for all the tennis fans out there, we love you guys and miss you guys.”
Djokovic is one of the favourites to win the year-ending tournament, and seemed in confident mood after beating Schwartzman.
Assessing the match, the Serbian explained that he felt he was getting more comfortable as the match progressed.
He said: “I think the beginning of the match wasn’t that great for me.
“He broke my serve in the third game. I managed to re-break, it was a close encounter until I broke his serve at 4-3 and managed to close out.
“The second set I started swinging through the ball a little bit more, a little less hesitation from both corners.
“I was very pleased with the way I played in the second especially. It was tough for Diego, his debut and first match in the arena.
“He probably wasn’t playing his best in the closing moments of the first set.
“He gave me some unforced errors which allowed me to be in the lead.
“It was a good match and I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
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