Published On: Mon, Sep 30th, 2019

Novak Djokovic admits ‘I felt that I am out of shape’ after strange Japan Open preparation | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic took on a sumo wrestler after touching down in Tokyo for the Japan Open.

The world No 1 is the star attraction at this week’s ATP 500 event and he spent some time enjoying the city before his first-round clash with Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin.

Djokovic visited Ryogoku Edo-Noren and stepped into the dohyo – a sumo wrestling ring – to challenge the beast.

But the Serbian was unable to move the 23 stone professional.

“It’s a great experience. I’ve never had this experience before,” Djokovic said.

“It’s one of the most popular sports in Japan. Speaking with my father yesterday on the phone I was telling him that I’m going to have an opportunity to meet sumo wrestlers.

“He and I were remembering many years ago at home [when] we used to watch Akebono [Taro, who reached Yokozuna status], who was someone that we supported a lot.

“I felt that I am out of shape [for sumo] a little bit. I think with a few more kilos, I’ll be ready to compete.

“Probably three times as much as I have right now would be the right measurement for me to compete.”

Djokovic is returning from a shoulder injury which forced him to retire from his US Open fourth-round clash with Stan Wawrinka.

And the muscle appeared to hold up well as he pushed and tussled with the sumo wrestler.

“It’s quite impressive to see also how flexible they are,” Djokovic added.

“I believe at the beginning they were demonstrating their flexibility.

“I didn’t think that they were that flexible considering it’s a heavyweight sport, but I see that they are paying a lot of attention to the mobility of their joints and the flexibility, which is of course what allows them to move around as agile as possible at their weight.”

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