Novak Djokovic beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and 6-0 in the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday in a stifling heat that led the organization to establish for the first time a rest rule in individual men’s games.
Both took a 10-minute break between the third and fourth sets to cope with the temperatures, which exceeded 30 degrees Celsius.
The players, who were not allowed to talk to their coaches during the break, spent their downtime side by side, “naked in iced bathtubs,”
the Serb said in a post-match interview. “It was a pretty great feeling, I must say,” he added.
After conquering the first set, a visibly exhausted Djokovic broke his racket when Fucsovics beat him 3-2 in the second set, which he later lost.
The Serb recovered in the third set, coming back from a 3-1 loss just before beating Fucsovics in the fourth set.
Djokovic returned to the Flushing Meadows tournament for the first time since 2016, after reaching his fourth Wimbledon title this year and achieving the record of winning all Master 1,000 tournaments.
In other matches of the day, the Swiss Roger Federer – second pre-qualified – beat Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, and in the second round, will face the French Benoit Paire.
Marin Cilic moved on to the next phase of the tournament after his opponent, Romanian Marius Copil, retired due to an injury in the third set, when the Croatian won 7-5, 6-1 and 1-1.