Novak Djokovic said on Wednesday that he was “embracing” the pressure of being world number one and reigning champion at the Shanghai Masters this week.
The 32-year-old from Serbia made a fast start to his title defence, easing past young Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-3 with minimum fuss.
Fresh from winning career title 76 in Tokyo, Djokovic will play big-serving American John Isner in the last 16 in China.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion said he had no pain from the shoulder injury that forced him out of the US Open last 16 and is “confident that I can perform at my best”.
Djokovic said that sky-high expectations are “part of what we do”.
“But it’s also a privilege and a sign or kind of an indicator that you’re doing something that is important and that you’re doing well,” he said.
“I think when you feel pressure you’re doing well.
“It’s something that is inevitable so you might as well embrace it and accept it.”
Also in action on Thursday will be Roger Federer, who faces Belgium’s David Goffin, and third seed Daniil Medvedev.
The Russian faces Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil.
– Zverev’s flying racquet –
Two rising stars of men’s tennis went toe-to-toe when Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Felix Auger-Aliassime clashed.
Tsitsipas defeated the 19-year-old 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3) for his first victory over the Canadian stretching all the way back to their junior days.
The 21-year-old Tsitsipas, who plays Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the last 16, said that he had always been behind Auger-Aliassime in his physical development — until now.
Standing 6ft 4ins (193cm), the seventh-ranked Greek insists he is still not as strong as some of the ATP Tour.
“I think something that probably I’m trying to cover that deficiency that I have is not concentrated too much on my power and my strength and how hard I can hit,” he said.
“Maybe play smarter and play more with my mind and not with my physical power.”
Another of the new generation hoping to usurp the likes of Djokovic and Federer is the 22-year-old Alexander Zverev.
The young German had a bout of dizziness during an incident-packed victory over French underdog Jeremy Chardy, 7-6 (15/13), 7-6 (7/3).
Zverev apologised to a television cameraman after he accidentally hit a ball straight into his jaw in winning a point.
Zverev was also seen by a doctor in the first set and in another colourful moment he smashed his racquet on the floor during the mammoth first-set tie break.
The second-set tie break had a lighter moment — Zverev losing his grip while hitting a shot, his racquet flying into the crowd.
“It was definitely interesting,” smiled Zverev, who plays Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
Israel Adesanya, Nigerian-born UFC champion wins award for best fight and walk-out of 2019
Israel Adesanya had a successful year in the UFC winning two major fights and was crowned UFC’s middleweight champion in 2019.
The Nigerian-born New Zealand fighter became the interim champion after defeating American Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision.
And the 30-year-old ended the year as middleweight champion following a knockout victory over Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya has now been awarded with the 2019 Helwani Nose Award for the fight of the year against Gastelum.
The Last Stylebender told his corner he was willing to die going into the final round of his incredible battle with Gastelum.
He also earned the best Walk Out of the Year when he performed choreography with his dance group before his fight with Whittaker.
Adesanya’s second title defence is likely to be with Yoel Romero in March after a mandatory challenger Paulo Costa was forced out through injury.
“The fight’s done,” Adesanya said.
“I literally just got to the gym now. I’m about to get some work in. Make no mistake, I’m still putting work in. I’m still getting ready for my second title defense against a veteran in the game, a veteran in the wrestling, a tough motherf—–, the boogeyman of the division, the guy no one calls out – except ‘Stylebender.’”
“The fight will happen, and it will happen on our terms as well,” he added.
“I’m happy. I have no doubt that I’m going to get what I want out of this fight.”
The British heavyweight champion has agreed to give up his belts after he was ordered to face Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk to retain his IBO and IBF titles.
Asisat Oshoala wins Africa’s Best Women Footballer’s Award for the fourth time
Super Falcons player, Asisat Oshoala took to Instagram to celebrate winning the African best women footballer award for the fourth time.
Oshoala who noted that sometimes people forget to smell the roses along the way in life, revealed that she is always thinking about her next move and also never stops to celebrate her wins.
The Barcelona star revealed that winning the award for the fourth time is an amazing accomplishment and she is extremely blessed to have been in a position to accomplish it.
4 times baby!!! Sometimes you forget to smell the roses along the way in life. I’m always the type thinking about my next move and never really stop and celebrate he things in between. This is such an amazing accomplishment and I’m extremely blessed to have been in this position to accomplish it. It’s a blessing to see the wonderful lives I’ve touched in my young life. I truly appreciate all the love. But there’s still work to do
Ronaldo is 1st star to score for 18 consecutive years in Europe’s top 5 leagues
Cristiano Ronaldo has taken his legendary prodigy to another significant landmark after becoming first football star to score at least one goal in one of Europe’s top-five leagues in each of the last 18 years.
The Portuguese superstar, at 34, is showing massive hunger to break and set big records, thereby proving that age is just a number with his predatory instinct making the points.
Cristiano Ronaldo unleashed his incredible prodigy and shut down his critics with a brilliant hat-trick to hand Juventus a vital 4-0 win over tough Cagliari on Monday afternoon, January 6.
The astonishing brilliance, which is his 36th league hat-trick of his trophy-laden career, saw him increase his tally to 13 goals and two assists in 1315 minutes played since the beginning of the season.
The former Real Madrid star made history by becoming the second player in history to hit treble in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League after former Barcelona and Manchester United star Alexis Sanchez.
As if that was not enough, Ronaldo also added another feather to his cap by becoming the first player to score in Europe’s top 5 leagues (EPL, La Liga, Serie A, French league and Bundesliga) for successive 18 years.
What this means is that the former Real Madrid star is the first player in history to hit the back of the net with at least one goal for good eighteen football seasons.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has become the only player in Europe’s top five leagues to hit double digits for 15 consecutive seasons following his first-half double for Juventus against Udinese.
Old Lady came into the game head-high on Sunday evening, December 15, with Ronaldo leading the attack-line in another show of formidable partnership with Paulo Dybala.