Novak Djokovic: “These are the best clay courts in the world, no question about that” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “These are the best clay courts in the world, no question about that”

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TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 28th of May 2014. N. Djokovic d. J. Chardy 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. An interview with Novak Djokovic

Q. How did you feel out there today? How do you feel about the match?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the conditions were changing from the beginning to the end. So again, it was another match where I had to stay mentally tough and then try to be consistent and not have, you know, many ups and downs.

I knew he’s gonna come out trying to take his chances with the forehand, and he has a big serve. But, you know, I managed to make him play an extra shot. I managed to stay solid from the baseline, and I think that forced him to make a lot of unforced errors, which definitely helped me to win in straight sets.

 

Q. Seeing favorites of the tournament, men’s side and women’s side, losing, is it sending an extra warning to the ones who remain in the draws?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, in the Grand Slam we all know that in the opening rounds that the lower ranked players have a lot of motivation to play their best and to win against top players on the big stadiums.

I just saw that Serena also lost. So, I mean, it’s definitely a surprise to see the big favorites coming out.

But again, you can never underestimate any opponent in a Grand Slam, because Grand Slams are, you know, the biggest events we have in this sport, and it’s where all the players want to perform their best and it’s where they get this extra strength and inspiration to play their best.

 

Q. Wawrinka when he lost, he said that suddenly it has all become way too much for him, the pressure, expectations, and that we don’t realize how hard it is for you, Roger, and Rafa, to do it weeks in, weeks out. Can you reflect on this a bit?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, it’s part of the sport. It’s part of what you’re doing.

I can say from my side I always have kind of high ambitions for myself in terms of results and in terms of goals.

But with that, there is a lot of responsibility, a lot of hard work, a lot of understanding on and off the court, what you need to do and what you need to become in order to have the chance to be successful.

So I understand what is Wawrinka going through. 2008 when I won my first Grand Slam, I know how that period went after that. It’s the first time that you have to encounter pressure or expectations, you know, of being a favorite on Grand Slams.

I think it’s a new experience, and it’s something that is going to be with him for the rest of his career, because he’s a Grand Slam winner now, so he’s going to be favorite in most of the events where he plays.

That’s something new. It’s a new dimension, I think, from the mental aspect, but it’s part of the sport.

 

Q. I want to ask you about the football World Cup. Who is your favorite and why?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s difficult to pick up. There are so many great teams. I’m going to be supporting the    unfortunately, Serbia is not there, so I’m going to be supporting the neighboring countries. Bosnia and Croatia, they are playing. Few others.

I love football, you know. I will be watching, of course, as all the other tennis players, I guess. I can’t pick up    there are so many great teams. Spain. Brazil is the host. Germany is always tough. It’s difficult to say, and I’m not an expert in football, so I better keep it with tennis.

 

Q. What do you think of the clay here compared to other clay surfaces? How dirty does it leave your socks and shoes and basically your body?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, luckily where I’m staying there is a washing machine, so I’m washing my socks every day (laughter). So it doesn’t matter really how dirty.

These are the best clay courts in the world, no question about that. Roland Garros has always had this tradition and history of the best courts and this surface. And, you know, this year the weather has been so and so, you know, a lot of rain, and it makes the job very difficult for the people who are working on the courts.

But, you know, regardless of that, I still think that these are the best courts.

ATP

Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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