Novak Djokovic kickstarted his Tokyo Olympics 2021 campaign in fine fashion, defeating Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien comfortably in the first round on Saturday.
Djokovic was in control of the proceedings throughout, breaking his Bolivian opponent twice in the first set to take it 6-2. The second set followed a similar pattern as the World No. 1 broke Dellien twice more to complete a 6-2, 6-2 win.
While the spoils of victory went to Djokovic, Dellien did make his country proud on the world stage. In fact, the Bolivian was so overwhelmed by the occasion that he ended up asking Djokovic for his shirt at the end of the match.
Dellien even spoke a few words to Djokovic in Spanish, letting the World No. 1 know that facing him was one of the greatest moments of his life. The chat between Novak Djokovic and Hugo Dellien can be heard in the tweet below:
Novak Djokovic later confirmed to the Serbian press that he exchanged shirts with Hugo Dellien in the locker room. The 34-year-old also revealed that Dellien was really nice to him when they greeted each other at the net.
“He said some really nice things to me at the net,” Novak Djokovic told the Serbian press.
The shirt exchange is a way for players to show their mutual respect towards each other. This is not the first time Novak Djokovic has done it; the Serb also swapped shirts with Nikolay Davydenko and Carlos Berlocq a few years ago.
Hugo Dellien later posted a picture on his Twitter handle showing the shirt that was given to him by Novak Djokovic. He accompanied the image with the caption, “The most beautiful memory of my life.”
“I don’t understand why they don’t move the start of the first matches up” – Novak Djokovic on the brutal conditions in Tokyo
Novak Djokovic also gave his thoughts on the conditions at the Ariake Tennis Park, where the tennis event is being held at the Tokyo Olympics. The Serb questioned why the organizers don’t start matches a bit earlier, implying that it is tough to deal with the afternoon heat.
“I don’t understand why they don’t move the start of the first matches up,” Djokovic said.
Novak Djokovic also spared a few words for his countryman Damir Mikec, who won the silver medal in the air pistol men’s final at the Games.
“Fantastic news! He had to leave for practice early every day, shooting gym is very far, so we joked that he can’t hang out with us,” Novak Djokovic said.