Novak Djokovic: “The tournament win in Rome came at the right moment for me” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “The tournament win in Rome came at the right moment for me”

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS 2014 – Novak Djokovic pre-tournament interview

 

Q. Coming off the Rome title, obviously having a week now to sort of process that, how good are you feeling about Paris at this moment?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the tournament win in Rome came at the right moment for me. For my confidence level it’s definitely a booster and positive thing, and hopefully I can carry that confidence coming into Roland Garros.

It’s obviously different than Rome tournament. It’s a Grand Slam. It’s two weeks long event, best of five, and there is a feeling that most    almost all of the players who are participating in the event have an extra motivation to perform well in this tournament comparing to the other events.

 

Q. In regards to the tragedy in Serbia, how are you going about getting the information out? What have you been doing just to kind of keep the world abreast of the situation?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s devastating times. The floods are epic proportions. They have forced many people to flee homes. Many people lost everything that they have, that they possessed, and even the loss of the close ones.

So it is one of the biggest tragedies that the countries of Serbia and Bosnia and Croatia had in their history, so the positive thing is that these nations who had conflicts very recently, 20 years ago, have at least for certain time now forgot about that and they show their solidarity and support to each other.

There is this unity that defines these nations at this moment, which definitely helps all three countries to recover as fast and most efficient as they can. Obviously floods, as they are backing up now, the process of recovery is just starting. It’s going to go for a long time. We are talking about many years depending on the help that we get from abroad.

That was, in a way, my mission and mission of the people who have certain status and certain opportunity internationally to spread the awareness. Wasn’t easy because I was playing a tournament in Rome, so part of me was focused on the tournament. Part of me was with my thoughts and with my people back home.

You know, first thing I did is obviously try to raise the awareness internationally as much as I can within the media, get the attention going to what’s going on. Hopefully it worked, because I see that there is, you know, many media now that are interested in what’s going on down there.

If it’s because of me or somebody else, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that people are starting to talk about it. We need help, of course, all three countries. We need help, and we need as much as we can get.

You know, in these difficult times, there is no really priority except trying to do your best to save the people and the nation, because natural force and natural disaster is something that is just a higher force.

It’s something you can’t fight. You have to just pray and hope that it can go fast.

 

Q. You have been knocking on the door of this major for a few years now. How does it feel different this time coming to Paris to try and win the Open maybe compared to 2011 which, you came in undefeated or last few years?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Last few years have been quite successful for me in Roland Garros, especially the last two where I played finals and semifinals and lost in both of the matches against Nadal, who has the best record on clay and best record here in Roland Garros, and obviously still No. 1 favorite to win the tournament this year.

But, you know, I have played some epic matches against him, especially the one last year in the semifinals. We went the distance. I think it was 10 8 in the fifth. So even though it was a tough loss on me and, you know, I was putting a lot of emotional effort into winning this event last year, I still take the positives from that tournament. Knowing that I have gotten closer and closer each year to the title gives me enough reason to be confident for the start of this year.

As I said, the Rome title and the Rome win in the finals against Nadal is something that, you know, winning against Nadal on clay is something that doesn’t happen every day.

So it definitely helps my confidence, my self belief. And I’m healthy and obviously very motivated and inspired to play my best tennis here.

 

Q. Any thoughts on playing Soasa the first round? And how maybe more nerves for favorites in tournaments when it’s about starting.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sorry, the second part?

 

Q. Makes you maybe more nervous when you have to play the first round of a Grand Slam like this because of the expectations?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s not the first time that I have to face the kind of pressure or expectation of being a favorite and going far in the tournament.

Soasa is a specialist for this tournament. I have played him I think last year in US Open on hard court, but obviously, as I said, he loves playing on clay. That’s his most preferred surface.

Especially in the early rounds it’s important not to underestimate any opponent and not take anything easy, and, you know, with not maximum of dedication.

Because going back to the story from before, all of the 128 players are extra motivated to perform the best they can on the Grand Slams, because all the sport’s attention is directed to this tournament.

So this is where they want to shine. That’s where    for us top players, it’s always tricky to face the opponents who have nothing to lose in the opening rounds.

So I will try from the beginning of the tournament in that first round to, you know, play my best game regardless of who I play against. I will not try to save the energy for later, because it’s    anyway, there is always a day between the matches.

I know what to do. I have played many Grand Slams in my life, and I look forward to it.

 

Q. Can you just confirm that this week you’ll have Marjan and Boris together as your coaching staff.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.

 

Q. Can you elaborate a little bit as to how they work together, why you prefer for them both to be here for the tournament?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, I think I answered this question a lot.

Okay. As I was saying before, I’m really glad to have Boris, a legend of the sport and a champion and somebody that knows exactly what kind of pressures and mental challenges I encounter on the court, especially in big tournaments like this.

That’s one of the biggest reasons he’s part of the team.

The transition from Marjan to Boris will, in my opinion    and their opinion, as well    that’s why they are here together. It will be more efficient and smoother and better if they are both present in the tournament. Because Marjan is not just a coach to me, he’s a friend. He’s somebody that knows me very well.

We traveled and worked with each other for over eight years. I won my first and then now the last title with him in my box, so there is this special connection that we have.

That’s why he can help not just myself but also Boris to understand how we work. I was very glad to win the title with both of them in Rome. Definitely helps before coming into Roland Garros, that is one of the priorities of the season.

 

Q. It used to be always about the Big 4 before the Grand Slam. After what happened at the Australian Open and also in Monaco, do we have to consider Wawrinka one of the favorites? Maybe you played him a lot. You can talk a little bit what made him so much stronger in the last, say, one year or ten months.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. I think we should and he deserves to be considered as one of the favorites to win the title because of the fact that he had one of the best results of all the players this year.

He won first Grand Slam; he won the Monte Carlo tournament in great fashion winning against some top players.

He proved to everybody that he is one of the contenders for Grand Slam titles. He already won one Grand Slam, so now from the mental perspective he’s going to be, let’s say, more familiar or easier for him to approach Grand Slams because he knows how, what it takes to win it.

I think his game was always very powerful. He always had a game that he could hurt any player on any surface, but it was just a matter of his self belief.

I think now mentally he’s gotten stronger and more experienced in the big matches. You can see the reflection of that and the results that he has.

ATP

Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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