Internazionali BNL d'Italia Interviews. Novak Djokovic: “Maybe helps that I speak a little bit of Italian, but I do really feel like home here” - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali BNL d'Italia Interviews. Novak Djokovic: “Maybe helps that I speak a little bit of Italian, but I do really feel like home here”

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TENNIS Internazionali BNL d’Italia – N. Djokovic d. R. Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. An interview with Novak Djokovic.

Q:You have beaten Rafa 4 times in a row and you’re now ready to steal his crown in Paris…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s been a great week, considering how I was few weeks ago with the injure at my wrist and didn’t know how the wrist is going to react this week. Luckily for me I played with no pain, increasing the level of my tennis as the week went on. I had some tough matches: 4 out of 5 were three setter and had to come back from one set down yesterday with Raonic and today giving me a lot of confidence. Winning a final of a great tournament with Rafa on clay is definitely is a confidence booster and an ultimate challenge. I am very happy with my game and I hope I can carry it to the Roland Garros. Today I tried to be aggressive from the start of the match, it didn’t work a lot and I made a lot of unforced errors but I didn’t change the game plan and the I found the hitting range, the right rhythm on the court and I felt much more comfortable on the court. Going into the match today I was hoping that I could win, of course, I come into every match like that. But I do not underestimate any opponent and especially Rafa who is the best player ever in the history on this surface, we all know his record. I didn’t feel I had the match in my hands, but I do have the belief in myself and my abilities that in the end….mental strength, experience would have helped me to stay calm and play the right shots at the right times.

Q:I saw you playing in a lot of countries but I never see a crowd like this in your favour.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s amazing, I want to thank them all, they played a great part in this win. It’s something that I don’t take for granted and I very appreciate, I try to give them back and show as much love as I can. Maybe helps that I speak a little bit of Italian, but I do really feel like home here and very close to these people and I am glad I was able to win the title in front of them.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This match has gone over 2 hours: there were a lot rallies, long point, and this is part of our rivalry, especially on the slow surfaces where you get to play more rallies than on the fast ones. He’s physically the fittest player on tour but I know that I am pretty fit too and I know that with my team I have been doing a great job in the last two years getting myself in the right shape and this gives me the right confidence once I am on court. I know I can rally with him but I know that the only to beat him is to be aggressive.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I have to admit that I copied it from Gustavo Kuerten who did it in Paris: it’s the most spectacular celebration from many tennis players I have seen in my life. I felt that was something that come from inside me and I wanted to share with the crowd. And they liked it.

Q:As a soon father, how it was your reaction when the two children started to cry when you lost your serve? Do you remember?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was not upset with the children, I was more upset with the people who were behind talking to them, applauding…. But look, it happens sometime with the crowd, it’s part of the sport.

Q:Regarding what is happening in your country, do you feel you were playing not just for yourself but for something bigger?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. I have been following during the last 2 or 3 days what’s going on with this catastrophic flood. It’s something that has taken away a lot of hope and homes and not being present makes me sad because I cannot physically contribute because if I was there I would, definitely. As soon as the flood passes by we’ll need help from the world because the process of recovery in our country can last for months or year and it depends on how much help will we get. This is the biggest disaster in the history of our country and people internationally didn’t know much about it and that’s why I am trying to spread the awareness with yesterday’s event and talking about it a little bit more than usual. I see that many athletes in Serbia are not competing and choose to help they fellow Serbian instead, and this win and this trophy is dedicated to them.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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