Does playing during the day give Taylor Fritz a better chance against Novak Djokovic?

A relaxed Novak Djokovic during a match
Novak Djokovic reacts during his tennis match

Before his match against Adrian Mannarino on Sunday, Novak Djokovic had played in Rod Laver Arena under the floodlights 15 times in a row, a streak that dates back to 2021. 

On Tuesday, he will take on Taylor Fritz outside in the daylight once more and he doesn’t seem too thrilled with that situation.

Whether that genuinely enhances Fritz’s chances of a win is a subject that for now is purely conjecture.

Especially considering the way Djokovic dismantled Mannarino in the heat of the day.

“It’s no secret I love to play at 7pm!” Djokovic said.

“But it wasn’t bad at all today. The way I played today, I don’t mind playing in the day.”

However, playing during the day bothers Djokovic for a variety of reasons, particularly at this event.

For starters, he may not yet be fully fit, having suffered with an audible cold during the first week of the competition on top of struggling with wrist issues.

Djokovic has been an outspoken critic of instances where the powers that be disregard the health and safety of players.

“I was kind of going with the flow and the last couple of days has been really good,” he said.

“It’s going in a positive direction, health wise, tennis wise, so I’m really pleased with where I am at the moment.”

Despite this, Djokovic will not like Tuesday’s temperatures of up to 32 degrees Celsius.

In 2018, he urged that the Australian Open revise its heat restrictions because they were placing players “in danger,” and episodes of dizziness in Tokyo’s humidity in 2021 have been pegged for destroying his Olympic dreams.

However, Fritz would most likely like to escape the heat as well. Before the event, he was in a practice session when the temperature in Melbourne reached 30 degrees Celsius.

He wasn’t thrilled then and must now that he is in for an intense experience.

“That was tough. It would have definitely been a struggle to play a physical five-setter in those type of conditions,” Fritz admitted.

The American has other weather concerns finding the wind tough to handle at times last week.

“It changes things a lot for sure,” Fritz added.

“There’s one side where you feel like you can dictate, you have the wind at your back. You get a lot of extra power on the ball. It’s just easier to be offensive and hurt the person.

“Then on the other side it’s so much harder to attack. You feel like it’s so easy for the other person to hurt you off your shots.”

Djokovic has never been particularly fond of wind either notably not enjoying facing someone like Rafael Nadal in a breeze.

Tennis players are seldom thrilled to have to deal with wind, but his great rival Nadal is one of the finest players in history when it comes to getting it done in a gale.

Djokovic has frequently been badly impacted by it, as it appears to disrupt the mechanics of his game.

He is still the best player of all time, but the wind seemed to bother him more than other circumstances might and he could be in for an uncomfortable day.

READ MORE: Identifying the one player who can beat Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open