Vulnerable Djokovic looks to right ship against Vesely

Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:29pm EDT
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By Simon Cambers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic, faltering and looking unusually vulnerable in his opening match at the U.S. Open, will attempt to right the ship on Wednesday when he plays Czech Jiri Vesely in the second round.

The defending champion struggled with his form and fitness in a labored 6-3 5-7 6-2 6-1 win over Poland's Jerzy Janowicz on Monday, adding a right elbow issue to the left wrist injury that has dogged him in recent months.

The left-handed Vesely beat Djokovic on clay in Monte Carlo earlier this year but the Serbian world number one said that defeat would have no bearing on Wednesday's encounter.

"Different surface, different circumstances, best-of-five," said Djokovic, a 12-times grand slam champion who lost early at Wimbledon this year and also at the Rio Olympics this month.

"But still, Vesely deserves respect. He's somebody that has been kind of trying to break through as the next generation.

"A couple of years ago, he already was there. He made a name of himself. Just gained the consistency, I think, over the last couple of years. He has a big game, a big serve, big forehand, and moves well for his size. So let's see.

"Obviously he hasn't played many times on the Arthur (Ashe) Stadium. Conditions are quite suitable to my style of the game. Hopefully I'll be able to slow his serve down a little bit and then take it from there."

Fourth seed Rafa Nadal, who is recovering from a wrist injury that forced him to pull out of the French Open and then to miss Wimbledon, plays in Wednesday's night session against Andreas Seppi of Italy.   Continued...

Aug 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits to Jerzy Janowicz of Poland on day one of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports