Andy Murray: “he played a great match. He missed hardly any balls. He served very well” - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Andy Murray: “he played a great match. He missed hardly any balls. He served very well”

Published

on

TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – R. Nadal d. A. Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. An interview with Andy Murray

 

Q. Andy, it felt like you brought the best out of your opponent today. Do you agree with that?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, he played a great match. He missed hardly any balls. He served very well.

I mean, his forehand    especially with the conditions the way they were today, was incredibly hard to control the ball. As soon as he was inside the court, I mean, he was hitting the ball so close to the line.

Yeah, he played great tennis.

 

Q. You had particular trouble getting into his serve. Was he doing something different? Why was that the case today?

ANDY MURRAY: He served well and I didn’t return well. Simple. He served very close to the lines. Ball was coming through the court quicker today.

Yeah, my returns were    timing was off on the returns. You know, also I think    it is also easy to just sort of say, Oh, you know, he served well and I missed quite a lot of returns.

But the problem is if you don’t do anything with the return, I mean, he was just battering the next ball into the corner. So you need to try and do something with his return.

And, yeah, maybe I was going for a bit too much. Then when I missed a couple in a row I would get a bit tentative.

Yeah, that was it.

 

Q. You’re a big competitor. How is it to deal with it on the court feeling that maybe you couldn’t find any way to really compete? How do you switch back to grass after such a loss?

ANDY MURRAY: That’s a good question. It’s difficult, because, yeah, I normally strike the ball fairly cleanly. Today I was mishitting a lot of balls. It was incredibly frustrating. I wanted to play better and better as the match went on.

Yeah, in some ways you start trying too hard, and it doesn’t always appear that way. But you want to do stuff too badly, and you end up making more mistakes and things get worse.

Yeah, I never want to say forget about matches like this, but obviously the grass court season starts in a couple of days and I need to switch my mind to that.

 

Q. Do you feel the absence of a head coach right now on your team? Has been affecting the game plans, the tactics? Perhaps it was one of the motives because you haven’t hurt that much Rafa today.

ANDY MURRAY: Again, I don’t know exactly. I played a very good match against him in Rome. I played a tactically very good match against him in Rome.

But, again, you can go out there with, you know, all the tactics in the world, but when he’s hitting the ball like that, very difficult to hit the ball where you want to.

You know, his shot was bouncing incredibly high. It was very difficult to do much with the ball. Then when I did have the opportunity, I wanted to make a winner or make him run too much, trying to hit too close to the lines, and end up making a lot of mistakes.

So I don’t really think that’s down to coaching decision. A lot of it comes down to how well he plays.

 

Q. Physically how much time do you think it will take to get over it, and mentally how tough do you have to be to get back out there again almost immediately next week?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, physically obviously I have played a lot of tennis the last couple of weeks. You know, probably the most time I have spent    definitely the most time I have spent on court in a two week span in the last six months since I came back.

So in some ways that’s obviously a good thing, that I managed to get through some long matches. But, yeah, there is still a lot of work for me to do on this surface in particular if I ever want to have a chance at winning this tournament. That’s obvious.

But, yeah, I think going on to the grass, you know, in some ways will help me. I have a lot of good memories from the grass court season over the last couple of years. I hope I can play some good tennis.

 

Q. On the mental side, do you try and erase this or…

ANDY MURRAY: My view, you need to try and learn from it and realize what exactly went wrong on my side of the net. You know, you can’t always control how well your opponent plays, but on my side of the net obviously I can think about a few things.

You know, then you look at a tournament as a whole. Like I said at the beginning, you know, there was a few too many sets this week in the matches where I was up. I could have finished sets quicker, could have finished matches quicker.

Like I said, I only have myself to blame for that. That’s something during the grass and over the next few months I’ll definitely need to work on, you know, not letting guys back in when, you know, when I’ve got the match won.

That’s something that Rafa has obviously done incredibly well, especially here.

 

Q. Have you given any thought to what the leadup to Wimbledon will be like for you going back to defend there for the first time and all the excitement for that and Britain, and what sort of also expectations should be for you, fair expectations for this Wimbledon?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I expect to play well there. I’m really looking forward to going back. I think it will give me a lot of positive energy.

You know, I’m glad I’m back playing, you know, to a level that was able to get me through to the last stage of slams. I just need that extra few percent so that I can give myself a chance to try and win them again.

But the grass will obviously help me. It’s a surface I have always enjoyed playing on. I think it’s been my most successful surface over my career.

Yeah, I’m really looking forward to Wimbledon especially, you know. It’s only two and a half weeks away, so I don’t have too long to wait.

ATP

Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

Published

on

Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas Play for the Men’s Championship

Published

on

Novak Djokovic this week in Melbourne (twitter.com/australianopen)

A year ago, Novak Djokovic experienced quite an embarrassing debacle.  After the unvaccinated Djokovic was initially granted an exemption and allowed to enter Australia, he was later detained, and eventually deported and prevented from competing at this tournament.  His refusal to get vaccinated continues to prevent Novak from competing in North American tournaments, missing Indian Wells, Miami, Canada, Cincinnati, and the US Open last year. 

 

But at the events Djokovic has been allowed to participate in over the past seven months, he has been nearly unstoppable.  Since the beginning of Wimbledon last June, he is now 37-2, with five titles.  Novak comes into this championship match on a 16-match winning streak, with seven of those victories against top 10 opposition.  With a win on Sunday, Djokovic not only ties Rafael Nadal in their ongoing race for history with 22 Major titles, but he also regains the World No.1 ranking, despite all the tennis he’s missed.

However, standing in his way is a hungry and confident Stefanos Tsitsipas.  This is the Greek’s second Major final, and the second time he’s encountered Djokovic in this round of a Slam.  Two years ago in the championship match of Roland Garros, Tsitsipas secured the first two sets, before losing to Novak in five.  If Stefanos can win one more set on Sunday, he’ll not only win his first Major title, he’ll also become the World No.1 for the first time.

Also on Sunday, the women’s doubles champions will be crowned.  Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who have won six Majors as a team, face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, who are vying for their first Major as a team. 


Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (4) – 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Djokovic’s excellence in the latter rounds of the Australian Open is rivaled only by Nadal’s excellence at Roland Garros.  Novak is now 19-0 in the semifinals and finals of this tournament, which is quite staggering.  He’s also won his last 27 matches at this event, and his last 40 in Australia in general, a streak that dates back over five years.  While Novak suffered a hamstring injury a week before this fortnight, he has still advanced to this final rather easily, dropping only one set through six matches.

Tsitsipas has now reached the semifinals or better in four of the last five years at the Australian Open, but this is his first time reaching the final.  He enjoys plenty of Greek support at this event, and appears to have some extra swagger in his step during this fortnight.  Stefanos has dropped three sets to this stage, and has been superb at saving break points.  Through six matches, he has saved 44 of 53 break points faced.

Both men feel fully at home on Rod Laver Arena, and have described it as their favorite court.  But this is their first meeting on RLA.  They’ve met plenty of times on other courts though, in a rivalry that’s been thoroughly dominated by Djokovic.  The Serbian leads 10-2, and has claimed their last nine matches.  That includes four matches that took place in 2022, in which Novak won eight of their nine sets.  They played three times within a six-week period this past fall on indoor hard courts, with their closest and best matchup taking place in the semifinals of Bercy, where Djokovic prevailed in a final-set tiebreak.

Djokovic is undeniably a huge favorite to win his 10th Australian Open.  But that common knowledge takes a lot of pressure off Tsitsipas, who was so close to defeating Novak the last time they met in a Slam final.  Djokovic has been rather unbothered by all competition during this tournament, even with an injured hamstring.  Can Stefanos pull off one of the bigger surprises in recent tennis history?  I expect him to challenge Novak on Sunday, but Tsitsipas’ backhand remains a liability. And with Djokovic determined to avenge what he sees as mistreatment a year ago in Australia, a Novak loss would be truly surprising.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open: Facing Tsitsipas For World No. 1 Spot May Be Different for Novak Djokovic

Published

on

Image via https://twitter.com/atptour/

It probably was a good thing that Novak Djokovic wasn’t facing a top opponent in the Australian Open semifinals. Certainly not one the caliber of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

Of course, Tommy Paul did his best. He just isn’t a top ten caliber player.

The American could rally with Djokovic, but when it came time to win the point or game, he  usually was nowhere to be found on the Rod Laver court.

DJOKOVIC WILL NEED TO BE BETTER

The fact that Tsitsipas is in contention for the No. 1 ranking in men’s tennis is enough to ensure that Paul isn’t quite in the league with the Greek superstar.

Djokovic will need to be better than he was against Paul when he steps onto the court to face Tsitsipas on Sunday night in the Australian Open singles final.

There was Djokovic blundering his way through a one-sided 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win over Paul. The scoreline should have been closer to 3-1-2. But Novak appeared to have all kinds of physical ailments — legs, knees, bandaged hamstring. Or just plain conditioning and breathing hard. You name it.

NIGHT-TIME DUTY ONCE AGAIN

It was just night time in Melbourne. You wonder what might have happened if Novak had been assigned some daytime duty like everyone else in the tournament. Say, like Tsitsipas had been assigned for his closer than the scores reflex in the Greek’s 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win over Karen Khachanov in Friday’s other semifinal.

Tsitsipas is a real threat to claim the world’s top ranking on Sunday night with a victory over the legend from Serbia. Of course, in the 2021 French Open final, Tsitipsas won the first two sets against Djokovic.

It’s possible. Tsitsipas could come through this time.

A SHADOW OF THE OLD NOVAK

Novak was only a shadow of the old Djokovic Friday night. And that was against a player who may never earn a berth in another Grand Slam semifinal.

Of course, Djokovic wasn’t quite as out of it as Rafa Nadal was in the second-round blitzing by Mackenzie McDonald. But Nadal was nursing a hip injury. He may be a different player in Paris in four months.

Djokovic still has all of the big shots and serves he has displayed for much of the last two decades. He just didn’t seem to know where all of those weapons were headed in the semifinals.

IS NOVAK’S BAG OF TRICKS EMPTY?

Of course, if Novak pulls a solid performance out of his bag of tricks and denies Tsitsipas the world’s top ranking, Djokovic likely would stand in Nadal’s path in Paris to a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

The task won’t be easy. First, Novak has to take care of business on Sunday night. But with a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title up for grabs, Djokovic may actually look like himself. 

As Novak says, he wants to be known as the best player in the world.

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. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending