herald

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Niland can't stomach Djokovic

IRISHMAN Conor Niland was sick to the stomach before their first-round match yesterday - and it all went downhill from there as top seed Novak Djokovic was battering him 6-0 5-1 before the Irishman quit the contest.

What should have been a glorious day for Niland, the first Irishman to make the main draw at the US Open, was instead an embarrassment as a case of food poisoning left him worrying he would besoil the blue surface of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I warmed up and got sick everywhere after my 30-minute warm up," the Limerick man said.

He added that he had hardly been able to keep any food down since his dinner of salad and a pork dish on Sunday night at a fancy Manhattan restaurant.

"I thought I could bluff my way through but you can't do that against the number one in the world, I just found out," he added.



Rotten

"I thought I was going to vomit after long points. I just felt really, really rotten out there."

The highlight for Niland came when he held serve in the eighth game of the match to make it 1-1 in the second set when the Serb's sizzling forehand tipped the netcord and floated wide of the line, drawing a big cheer of support from the Flushing Meadows crowd.

"It was nice when I got a game," said the frustrated Irishman. "They gave me a big, ironic cheer."

World number one Djokovic showed no ill effects from the sore shoulder that caused him to retire from the Cincinnati final and gave himself high marks for his brief workout on centre court.

"I felt great on the court, and that's something that's really important for the start of the tournament," said Wimbledon champion Djokovic.

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