ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Federer: “I think I've seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he's going to play” - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Federer: “I think I've seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he's going to play”

Published

on

TENNIS – ATP Monte-Carlo R. Federer/ L. Rosol 6-4, 6-1. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. How would you judge your game today? It started off a little bit difficult but then got smooth.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think you summed it up. I think it was a bit rocky in the beginning. I was able to find my way into the match. After four games you usually kind of know what’s going to work, what’s not going to work.

At the end I think I had good variation. I also came to the net some. I was effective on breakpoints. My first serve started to work better. So I just think it was a more difficult start to the match.

I thought Rosol was going to play much more aggressive early on than he did, and he didn’t. I was expecting the rallies to be shorter. When they extended, I made too many mistakes.

As long as I found a way to turn it around and stay calm, it was good. So I was very pleased.

It’s clear for me that not every match can be like the one I had yesterday. It’s not realistic. A match like this is sometimes what you need, as well, get that little fright going early on.

 

Q. How special is it for you to be here after not playing here the last few years?

ROGER FEDERER: It’s nice. Look, I’ve always considered playing in Monaco. Sometimes it was the good preparation. Sometimes I didn’t feel like it’s what I needed. I needed to work, stay home and do a proper buildup.

This year I don’t need necessarily a buildup because I was able to work hard in the off season in December. I’m going to have another buildup I guess after Wimbledon.

So I’m going to work hard after this tournament. Sometimes getting on the clay early is also something you’re looking for so you actually know what you really need to work on and practice. Whereas if you don’t play this tournament, an early clay court tournament, you just think what you need for what’s to come. I’m not saying sometimes you work on the wrong things, but it’s nice getting some information and playing with the other top players on the tour.

So I’m happy to be back. I kind of enjoy this tournament. It’s quite busy, a lot of people. It’s kind of stressful being on site. That’s why I try to escape as quickly as I can.

 

Q. You played Tsonga many times, different surfaces. Are you looking forward to the match tomorrow?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I’ve seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he’s going to play, how aggressive, how passive. I’m going to have to have a bit of an open mind when it comes to that.

I didn’t play a very good match against him at the French last year. That was a bit of a disaster for me. On the other side, I played a really good match against in the Australian this year. So kind of excited to see what’s going to happen this time around.

I think he did a good job of being tough through the second set today. I think as much as Fabio kind of went away, I still think it’s his credit as well to put Fabio into that position, and he started to play actually really well and really aggressive.

I think Jo played the semis here last year, so he’s played here well in the past. I have to make sure I play aggressive myself and not become too passive just because we’re on clay.

 

Q. Do you see him as an inconsistent player? He lost to a 112th ranked player in Davis Cup recently. He’s a Grand Slam finalist. Do you see him as a bit inconsistent?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, he had a change in coaching, as well. I’m not quite sure what exactly they’re working on, if it’s a work in progress at the moment, if they’re telling him to do quite a few things differently. From that standpoint, I guess he only knows and he can only answer that question.

I mean, he’s still at a high level. I think at the moment he’s just missing that big tournament where he goes deep and beats some of the top ranked players. That’s maybe not quite what he’s been able to do as of late.

Losing against a guy ranked outside of the top 20, top 50, top 100, at the end of the day that doesn’t tell me much, as long as he can play up. He’s put himself into that position again now. That’s why it’s an important match for him and for me tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

 

Q. Did you follow the match between Jo and Fognini? What do you think about it?

ROGER FEDERER: Saying he lost 17 points in a row is totally unfair to Jo. You can’t put everything on Fabio’s side. You have to show some respect for Jo, who played well. It is not as if Fabio didn’t play any more.

 

Q. The question was rather about Fabio’s behavior.

ROGER FEDERER: We see that too rarely on the tour nowadays because now the game has become extremely professional. Seeing players who seem not to care about anything is something that doesn’t exist anymore. I believe it shows we are humans. I can relate to him, and I believe it shows we are not machines.

 

Q. You’re saying that the game now does not allow players to show some strong personality and be good at the same time?

ROGER FEDERER: I believe having a strong personality is not the problem. The rules are more severe. You throw your racquet or you say a word you shouldn’t say, you get a fine. But this doesn’t mean that if you don’t do that you have no personality.

More personality is your capacity to concentrate because, after all, the show is the tennis shots, not the discussions with the umpire. And with Hawk Eye, it’s almost absolute. There’s no more discussions with the umpire.

When I started playing, there was a lot of communication between the player and the umpire that no longer exists today. So you can have a strong personality and keep focused.

 

Q. You played 15 times against Jo. You are far ahead in the head to head. Last time was on clay in the French Open. Do you feel vulnerable right now?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel good. It’s just the beginning of the season. Both of us had the same preparation. We played indoors and we played two matches on clay. So it’s fair. I’m playing well, but I don’t know how he’s going to play.

Our match in Australia, I played good. But in the French Open, I missed that match and he played very good. So I will try to play like in Australia and he’s going to try to play like in the French Open.

I will try to use the clay to my advantage. But I don’t know what weather we will have, whether it’s going to be sunny or windy.

I’m glad he won today because it was not easy against Fognini. He put himself now in a position to go further. In Masters 1000 tournaments, the toughest thing is to go through those first rounds, and now he really is in a position of making that next step. Normally it’s after the first three rounds that we start playing better.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

ATP

The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter

Published

on

By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

 

We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

PositionPlayerCountryPts 
1DjokovicSerbia11540
2MedvedevRussia8640
3ZverevGermany7840
4TsitsipasGreece6540
5RublevRussia5150
6NadalSpain4875
7BerrettiniItaly4568
8RuudNorway4160
9HurkaczPoland3706
10SinnerItaly3350
11Auger-AliassimeCanada3308
12NorrieGB2945
13SchwartzmanArgentina2625
14ShapovalovCanada2475
15ThiemAustria2425
16FedererSwitzerland2385
17GarinChile2353
18KaratsevRussia2351
19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6820
2NadalSpain6020
3RuudNorway5820
4TsitsipasGreece5550
5DjokovicSerbia4820
6Auger-AliassimeCanada4195
7MedvedevRussia4065
8RublevRussia3930
9FritzUSA3355
10HurkaczPoland2905
11RuneDenmark2888
12ZverevGermany2700
13Carreno BustaSpain2495
14NorrieGB2445
15SinnerItaly2410
16BerrettiniItaly2375
17ShapovalovCanada2105
18CilicCroatia2075
19TiafoeUSA2000
20KhachanovRussia1990

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?

BEST RANKING

Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Continue Reading

ATP

ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match

Published

on

Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

 

2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.


Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.


Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals

Published

on

Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

 

Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending