With the topic of athletes' mental health and pressure being discussed at the Olympics, Novak Djokovic says: "Pressure is a privilege."
The top-ranked Serb was asked how he deals with the pressure of attempting to accomplish something that no man has done before in tennis: completing a 'golden slam' of all four grand slams and an Olympic gold in the same calendar year.
Steffi Graf in 1988 is the only tennis player to achieve this.
"Pressure is a privilege, my friend," Djokovic said in answer to a reporter's question on Wednesday after beating Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to reach the quarter-finals.
"Without pressure, there is no professional sport.
"If you are aiming to be at the top of the game, you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments - on the court, but also off the court."
Djokovic, who has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year and needs the Tokyo Games title and the US Open to complete his 'golden slam', said he has learned to deal with all expectations.
"All that buzz and all that noise is the thing that, I can't say I don't see it or I don't hear it, of course it's there, but I've learned, I've developed the mechanism how to deal with it in such a way that it will not impose destruction to me.
"It will not wear me down. I feel I have enough experience to know myself how to step on the court and play my best tennis."
Djokovic struggled more with mental pressure at the start of his career when he wasn't winning as much as long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He won the Wimbledon title this month to match Federer and Nadal with his 20th grand slam.
"Of course. It's normal," Djokovic said. "No-one is born with those abilities. Those abilities come with time."
Tennis player Naomi Osaka and American gymnast Simone Biles are among the Olympians who have talked openly about their mental health struggles.
Djokovic's only Olympic medal was bronze in singles from his first Olympic appearance at the 2008 Beijing Games. He lost in the first round at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
"Rio was a very tough loss for me," Djokovic said.
"I came into Rio as also a big favourite, winning four out of last five grand slams, No.1 in the world.
"So I know that feeling; it's kind of a similar feeling now. But I'm a more experienced player; I know mentally what I need to do and how to work things around on and off the court in order to feel the best that I possible can feel."
Australian Associated Press