ATP Montecarlo interview, Djokovic: "My wrist is ok" - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Interviews

ATP Montecarlo interview, Djokovic: "My wrist is ok"

Published

on

TENNIS ATP Montecarlo – N. DJOKOVIC defeats A. Montanes 6‑1, 6‑0. An interview with: NOVAK DJOKOVIC

 

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How did the match feel today?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, for the first match on clay, it was great.  I mean, I lost only one game, so there were not too many flaws in my game that I could recall.

On the other side, I’ve had an opponent that is a specialist for this surface, but he hasn’t played even close to his highest level.  He was making a lot of unforced errors.

Me on the other side, I was just trying to, you know, use the court well, not allowing him to get into the rhythm.  I was changing the angles.  I was coming to the net, being aggressive.

Just very good first match.

Q.  I know you’re a football fan.  Do you remember the last time you won a match in 45 minutes?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I don’t.  Do you?  I don’t remember.  I mean, I’ve had some short matches.  I would say I had some matches.  For example, the one I remember was against Hernych in Basel, I think 6‑Love, 6‑Love, 30 something minutes.  I mean, it’s great that you have a chance to finish your work on the court in such a short time.

On the other side, I would like to have a little bit more longer rallies, bigger challenge so I can test myself, see where I am, where my game is at at this moment on the clay because it’s the first match on the clay since Roland Garros last year.

But, again, I’ve practiced a lot.  This is the place where I live.  This court is very familiar to me.  During the season I spend a lot of time hitting the balls here.  So I look forward to the next match.

 

Q.  Can you tell us what happened to your right wrist?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I have a certain problem that I carry for the last week or so with the wrist.  The short match today helped definitely.  So I’m going to have some time to heal it.  Hopefully it’s going to be even better next one.

 

Q.  Do you enjoy your rivalry with Rafa as much as the fans do?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Of course.  Look, this is the biggest rivalry I have in my career, that’s for sure.  I mean, I’ve played him 40 times, different surfaces, different occasions.

I was mentioning a few days ago in the press conference that I think my first or second year on the professional circuit I already played him a couple matches in the big tournaments.

Every match brings something new, some new excitement, of course a lot of emotions, a lot of tension and expectations from both sides.

Hopefully it’s going to escalate and it’s going to, you know, become one of the biggest rivalries ever.

Q.  And it’s fun?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Of course.  It’s a huge challenge for me to be able to play Rafa and win against Rafa in the biggest stages, biggest tournaments.

Of course, it’s not easy.  But a rivalry with him definitely allowed me to grow as a person and as a tennis player, allowed me to understand the things I need to work on.

I take it from the positive side, of course.  I had my ups and downs throughout my career, but my rivalry with him and with Roger made me a better player, that’s for sure.

Q.  Can you talk a bit more about the wrist injury, how it started?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I prefer not talking about it.  It’s just something I carry for the last seven days.  Hopefully it’s going to go away.

Q.  Do you still have time also and the pleasure to enjoy off the court?  I saw you on TV in Italy.  Here normally you participate for the player party.  Do you still like to do that or is it more fatiguing and you’re trying to stay out of all the action outside the tennis court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It’s the balance between the things.  I believe ‘balance’ is the right word.  It’s one of my mottos in life, trying to always moderate between the professional and private life.  In the end of the day, you know, you need to lead your life.

Of course, tennis is a big part of my life, but it’s not the only thing that I enjoy, that I have that makes me happy.  Luckily for me I have a lot of sources of happiness from outside of a tennis court.  That’s something that definitely brings a smile on my face because I wouldn’t be enjoying so much if the only source of the happiness in my life is winning tennis matches.

That’s it.

Q.  Will you sing or dance this week?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You’re referring directly to the player party?  You have to ask the question like that then (laughter).  But thanks for being philosophical before that.

No, the player party is for me one of the highlights of the year, of the tennis season.  I love it.  Unfortunately last year I didn’t take part in it.  This year I’ll make sure I’m there and I’ll do something fun.

Q.  You said two days ago, and Rafa said, it is difficult to find out how to beat you on clay.  Where do you go?  Forehand?  No.  Backhand?  No.  Movement?  No.  At the same time how can you explain that you win seven times in a row, he wins three times in a row?  As you said, yes, you learn from something.  How and what do you learn?  Seven times in a row, why do you beat him?  Why are you beating him so many times?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  There is not one word that can really describe or that really tells you the secret of my tactics or my approach to the matches with Rafa or the way I win against him.  I’m sure he’s going to say the same.

It just comes in swings.  I think it’s normal in life to have ups and downs.  In last few years we had periods where he was winning a couple matches in a row, then myself, then him again, then me again.  That shows, in my eyes, that both of us, we learn from the mistakes, then we make it count in the matches after that.

We all change.  I cannot compare myself to the player that I was a few years ago.  Every season is different.  It’s a new challenge, not just on the court but off the court.  I’m the same person at home and on the court.  There are things mentally that can affect you and your game.  Whatever happens in your private life can be an advantage or disadvantage on the court.  That is why there is always something new mentally you have to counter.

Physically we all can work and get ourselves in the perfect state.  But mentally and emotionally it’s up and down.  It’s life.  You know, you’re human, you make mistakes, then you learn something new.  You have to encounter something else because in the end of the day confidence is something that every single professional athlete in the world wants to have and doesn’t want to lose.

But losing confidence is much easier than gaining confidence.  It’s a long process of winning many matches, getting the self‑belief on the court, maintaining that high level of performance, getting that confidence, getting in that right zone and where you want to be.

You can lose it in a few days’ time.

People were asking me before about 2011, why can I not perform the same way I performed in 2011.  It’s different.  Every year brings something new.

Interviews

Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink Debate Who Is The Most Selfish: Roland Garros, Nadal or Federer?

Chief Editor Ubaldo Scanagatta catches up with Hall of Famer Steve Flink about tennis during the coronavirus emergency

Published

on

Federer giving his teammate Nadal some tips during a match at Laver Cup

Roland Garros unilaterally decided to move its tournament to September; what about Wimbledon? The ATP ranking has been frozen and Novak Djokovic will remain n.1 until at least June: should these weeks count in his records? Which tournament will replace Bercy’s Masters 1000?

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: International Tennis Federation Sheds Light On Coronavirus Fight

Ubitennis has been in contact with an official from the governing body about the threat the worldwide virus poses to the sport.

Published

on

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has told Ubitennis that health and safety of both players and fans is ‘paramount’ as they continue to deal with the evolving threat posed by Covid-19 (aka Coronavirus).

 

Tennis tournaments have been disrupted worldwide by the illness, which has claimed the lives of more than 3000 people. Although experts estimate that the death rate from Covid-19 is roughly 1% with the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions most at risk. Numerous outbreaks around the world have resulted in various ITF, WTA and ATP events getting cancelled or postponed across South Korea, China and Japan. Meanwhile, the final of the Bergamo Challenger was also recently cancelled due to northern Italy being placed on a lockdown.

As experts try to conjure up with a solution to the outbreaks, sporting organisations have been placed under pressure to do what they can to minimise the disease spreading. Heather Bowler is the Executive Director of Communications for the ITF in London. In an email exchange with Ubitennis.net, she stressed that the ITF is taking a ‘case by case’ approach to dealing with the impact of Coronavirus on their events.

“The ITF is constantly monitoring the data and information from the relevant authorities about the evolution the virus and reviews the situation on a daily basis. The situation is different in each country.” She said.
“We monitor WHO notifications, review travel restrictions issued by national authorities and consult with security and medical experts to monitor the situation daily. Decisions about specific events continue to be made on a case by case based on at this time.”

The organisation is responsible for all tournaments that don’t fall in the jurisdiction of either the ATP or WTA. This includes Davis/Fed Cup ties, junior tournaments and the Olympic tennis competition. There has been doubts concerning the Tokyo Olympics going ahead on time, but organisers remain determined that this will not be the case.

Italy has one of the biggest outbreaks of Coronavirus. At least 79 people have died, according an update from the country’s civil protection agency on Tuesday. At present there will be at least 10 ITF singles tournaments taking place from now until the end of April there. Four men’s, four women’s and two juniors. All of the professional tournaments will be hosted in Santa Margherita Di Pula, Sardinia. Meanwhile the junior events are set to be played in Florence and Salsomaggiore Terme (Northern Italy).

Despite the threat, the latest stance is that the ITF has no restrictions implemented on those participating in forthcoming events in Italy. Something that could change in the coming weeks.

“We are monitoring the situation on a country by country basis but have not imposed restrictions on players participating in Italian events.” Ubitennis is told.

Italy is expected to host their most prestigious tennis tournament, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Rome, in May.

Player fears

The uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak places player’s in an uncomfortable position with many planning months in advance of what their schedule will be. For those ranked outside of the top 100, any last-minute changes will likely result in extra costs and panic about where to play instead.

“If a player makes the decision to withdraw from a tournament citing concerns about COVID-19 they will not be fined.” Bowler stated.

There are ongoing conversations between the ITF and the other governing bodies of tennis concerning the ongoing crises. At present their advice is based on information provided by the World Health Organisation in relation to certain countries. Should it deteriorate any further, there is a chance the ITF could make adjustments to their ‘global policy.’

“We are in regular communication with the ATP and WTA. Currently, the evolution of the virus remains specific to each country and decisions relating to events are made on a case by case basis.” The ITF reiterated.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and the data provided by WHO, as well as the policies and travel restrictions issued by relevant national authorities, together with advice from expert medical and security advisors. Should the situation evolve and the need arise, we will review a global policy.”

How the ITF could review their global policy is unclear. Although in a worse case scenario, it could advise players against playing in certain countries all together if it was deemed that the threat posed was too substantial.

No fans allowed

This weekend will see countries battle it out in the Davis Cup for a place in the 18-team finals later this year. One of those ties, however will be played in mostly silence with no spectators. Japan will host Ecuador in the city of Miki. In a bid to minimise the Coronavirus threat, organisers have decided to suspend mass gatherings of people. Something that has been seen at other sporting events in the country, which is set to host the Olympics in August.

“Health and safety is paramount. We will make the necessary decisions according to the notifications of the relevant authorities and our expert medical and security advisors. The Japan vs Ecuador tie at the Bourbon Beans Dome in Miki, Japan on 6-7 March will be played without spectators. This decision was taken in consultation with the JTA (Japanese Tennis Association) following advice from Japan Sports Agency and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.”

The problem with Covid-19 is the unpredictability at present. It is thought illness originated from a market in Wuhan, which illegally trades wild animals. As experts get to grip with the science behind the illness, the world of sport is left patiently waiting and hoping for a solution sooner rather than later. Especially for the world of tennis, which hosts numerous top tennis tournaments across Asia during the final quarter of the season.

Despite the mayhem, Bowler is confident that the ITF has the relevant resources to deal with whatever occurs in the future.

“We have dealt with many issues that have had widespread impact and most have their specificities. When dealing with such occurrences, we ensure that we monitor the data closely, remain in close contact with the relevant authorities, constantly monitor and provide information, and, in consultation with the relevant experts ensure we are in the best position possible to make the right decisions about our course of action.” She concluded.

Covid-19 Impact on Tournaments

ATP Challenger Tour
-Anning, China (Week of 20 April 2020) – CANCELLED
-Seoul, South Korea (Week of 27 April 2020 – postponed to August)
-Busan, South Korea (week of 4 May 2020 – postponed to August)
-Gwangju, South Korea (Week of 11 May 2020 – postponed to August)
-Madrid, Spain (Week of 23 March 2020) postponed to October following ATP’s agreement to the club’s request.

Women’s Tour
-WTA Xi’an Open (April 13-19) CANCELLED
-WTA Kunming Open (April 27-May 3) CANCELLED

Davis Cup

-China withdrew from competition in February
-Japan to play Ecuador without spectators

Continue Reading

ATP

EXCLUSIVE: Daniil Medvedev On His Saudi Arabian Debut, No.1 Dreams And Russia’s Olympic Ban

The US Open finalist sat down with Ubitennis earlier this week.

Published

on

Within the past 12 months Daniil Medvedev has gone from a promising future prospect to one of the top players in the world of men’s tennis.

 

Up until June this year the 23-year-old was yet to crack the top 10, win a Masters title or reach the second week of a grand slam event. Then shortly after the conclusion of the Wimbledon championships, Medvedev enjoyed an emphatic period of success to achieve all three of those milestones. Within a three-month period he reached six consecutive finals at tournaments ranging from ATP 250 level to a grand slam. Enabling him to peak at a high of fourth in the world back in September.

Unfortunately for Medvedev, his surge came at price towards the end of his season. Losing in the first round of the Paris Masters and then all three of his matches in his ATP Finals debut. Something he blames on mental tiredness.

Not to be disheartened by the loss, the Russian is back on the court this week. He is one of eight players participating in the brand new Diriyah Tennis Cup. An exhibition tournament in Saudi Arabia, which has on offer $1 million for the champion.

“I do think in the middle of a pre-season a tournament like this is good. You can’t just practice for four weeks without knowing how your game is at the moment. Last year I also participated in one in France (Open de Caen).” Medvedev told Ubitennis.com about his decision to play.
“This is how we (my team) decided to do the preparation this year and are going to see how it works out.”

Kicking off his campaign on Thursday against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, Medvedev enjoyed an emphatic start. Disposing of his rival 6-3, 6-1, in less than an hour. Whilst the prize money is undoubtedly an appeal for all of those taking part, the Russian sees this week as a golden opportunity to evaluate his game.

“It is going to be important to see how my game is right now in the middle of the pre-season. To see what I need to improve more, what I need to work more on with my team.” He explained.
“Obviously after my last season, I have a lot of big expectations for 2020, but first of all I need to stay lucid and take it all match-by-match.”

Future dreams

Medvedev and Gael Monfils – Diriyah Tennis Cup (via Twitter, @DiriyahCup)

Given his recent breakthrough, Medvedev is being mentioned as a potential candidate to one day claim the world No.1 position. Since 2004 only four players have managed to hold the honour – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. To add to the pressure, former player Marat Safin has backed his compatriot to achieve the milestone in the future. Safin will be the captain of the Russian team in the ATP Cup, which Medvedev is participating in.

“I believe he can be number one in the world.” Safin told Russian media earlier this week. “His all-around game… we just need to work on certain small things.”

Despite the backing, Medvedev is staying grounded about the prospect. Insisting that he isn’t ‘obsessed’ with the world No.1 ranking. At present, he is more than 4000 points adrift from Nadal in the ATP standings.

“I have been thinking about it (the No.1 spot) since I was six-years-old, but the thing is that I’m not obsessed with it,” said Medvedev. “For example, if I was 40 and during my career, I achieved a best ranking of number two in the world, It would not change my life completely.’
“Of course working hard and playing so many tournaments you want to achieve the best ranking possible.” He added.

With his eyes on the grand slams next year, 2020 also gives Medvedev the chance to make his Olympic debut. However, it isn’t as simple as that. Earlier this week the Russian sporting federation was banned from major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) due to various violations. An investigation found that the Russian Anti-doping agency (RUSDA) deliberately tampered with athletes samples to hide positive tests.

The ITF notes that Russian tennis has never been linked to the controversy, however, players such as Medvedev will be under sanction. Unless the ban is overturned, they are only allowed to play at the event as neutral athletes.

“To be honest as a tennis player it is a little bit tough to talk about these things because I live in Monaco and we get tested in every country around the world. From 20 to 30 doping tests.” Medvedev states.
“I know what happened, but I don’t know how to react to it because I’m not in this (the Russian) federation.”

Asked if he will still play in the Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, Medvedev cautiously replied ‘I think so.’ Although he is far from certain in doing so.

“Looking at this decision, it’s disappointing that me as a Russian player, who hasn’t nothing to do with this, will have to play without a flag. It is a little bit strange for me. I don’t know why this decision was made exactly so I don’t know if it was the right decision.” He concluded.

Medvedev ended 2019 with 59 wins on the ATP Tour. More than any other player this year.

Interview conducted by Alessandro Stella in Saudi Arabia

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending