Jan 15 2014
Novak Djokovic was in no mood to hang around as the great heat debate continued at the Australian Open.
Temperatures once again peaked above 40C, although they were not as consistently high as on Tuesday and there was more cloud cover.
The main victim of the conditions on Wednesday was Croatian Ivan Dodig, who was stricken by cramp and retired in the fourth set of his second-round match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, having won the opening two sets.
Dodig told reporters that half an hour after the match he still could not walk and added: "I was thinking I could maybe even die here."
Qualifier Dzumhur, 21, is the first player ever to represent Bosnia in the main draw at a grand slam and was supported by a raucous band of fans, one of whom played an accordion.
Defending champion Djokovic ensured a short stay in the high temperatures by winning the first eight games on his way to a 6-0 6-4 6-4 victory over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
The second seed said: "I thought yesterday was warmer than today. But still the conditions were not easy for both my opponent and myself.
"I started the match really, really well. I was a set and a break up after only 40 or 45 minutes.
"You don't want to spend too much time in the heat, you want to try to win as quick as possible. He started to play better as the match progressed, especially in the third set.
"But I felt like I was serving well and I was in control. When I needed to use my opportunities when they were presented, I did so. It was a better performance than the first round."
Like Roger Federer on Tuesday, Djokovic argued dealing with the conditions was more about having the right mindset than physical limitations.
He said: "We all were aware of how the weather was going to look these couple of days. Everybody was talking about 40 degrees plus.
"Knowing that I played a day match today, I prepared myself mentally for that. It's not just physically. Mentally you need to be tough enough to not give up and not think about what the conditions can do to you.
"It's not the first time I faced this particular weather. Obviously experience helps."
The Serbian, meanwhile, was happy to hear about the success of his fellow Balkan player Dzumhur.
He said: "It gives our people who are going through tough times in all these countries in that region hope and also encouragement in life. I congratulate him and I hope he can go far."
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych was equally emphatic in beating Kenny De Schepper 6-4 6-1 6-3, while third seed David Ferrer dropped his first set of the tournament before recovering to defeat another Frenchman, Adrian Mannarino.
There were also wins for Richard Gasquet, Jerzy Janowicz and Tommy Robredo, but Sam Querrey upset 23rd seed Ernests Gulbis while Florian Mayer prevailed in a five-setter against 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny.
Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic called a surprise press conference and was accompanied by a doctor as he gave an update on the injury that led him to pull out of his singles clash against Rafael Nadal after only one set on Tuesday night.
The packed night session crowd on Rod Laver Arena had expected to see the match of the first round and there was booing when the 21-year-old Australian called it a day.
Tomic revealed he had torn a groin muscle, saying: "I had the scans in the morning, which confirmed that obviously I was right.
"It's just a small one (tear). But if I had played on it it would have been 10 times worse, they say, so I could have been out potentially for three or four months. I'm very happy I stopped.
"I felt like I got booed a little bit on court, which was pretty unfair. I just needed to get my side out."