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”



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.



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.


Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup

Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day



Image via Laver Cup twitter

After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.


Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”

American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.

“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”

After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:

“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”

The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:

“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”

Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”

Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.

Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.

T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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