Tokyo: World No.1 Novak Djokovic is in Japan to take part in the Japan Open and decided to visit Ryogoku Edo-Noren in Tokyo, a facility with restaurants that also features a dohyo, a Sumo wrestling ring. Djokovic posted some pics of his experience with the wrestlers on his Instagram handle with a caption in which he expressed his admiration for the sport and revealed that he used to follow it a lot in his childhood.
“It’s a great experience. I’ve never had this experience before. It’s one of the most popular sports in Japan,” Djokovic is quoted as saying by the website of the ATP Tour. “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.”
Djokovic playfully tried to get one of them to budge and even said that he came close to doing so.
“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,” Djokovic joked. “Probably three times as much as I have right now would be the right measurement for me to compete.”
The Serb said that it was impressive how flexible the wrestlers are. “I believe at the beginning they were demonstrating their flexibility,” Djokovic said. “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.”
Back on the tennis court, Djokovic started his campaign at the Japan Open with a defeat in men’s doubles. He and fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic lost to Bruno Soares and Mate Pavic. He will start his singles campaign with a match against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin.