Grigor Dimitrov: “I take all the confidence from Queen's out on the court” - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov: “I take all the confidence from Queen's out on the court”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 30th of June. G. Dimitrov d. L. Mayer 6-4, 7-6, 6-2. An interview with Grigor Dimitrov

 

Q. Andy Murray next in a Wimbledon quarterfinal. How does that sound?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Sounds great. Sounds good. You know, first of all I’m happy that I’m in the quarterfinal match, you know. Just going to give credit to myself for that. But my job isn’t over yet.

So I’m excited to get on the court tomorrow. Just go through my regular routines, through all the gears, you know, come on Wednesday.

 

Q. Obviously you’re coming in here fresh from your victory at Queen’s. How have you felt on the grass so far in this campaign and what sort of levels of confidence do you take into the match?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I take all the confidence from Queen’s out on the court on the grass here. I think it’s been a great first week for me. The grass has been changing also a little bit around the baseline. It’s getting a little tricky, which is a nice thing.

You know, just looking for every match that I got to play. At the moment I don’t think of anything else except what’s ahead of me and the opponent. So there’s nothing else that’s on my mind right now.

 

Q. You said your job is not done yet. What targets did you set yourself when you arrived to start Wimbledon?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, every tournament I enter is to win the whole event. I think that’s the whole point of competing and having those tournaments.

Of course, it’s not an easy task. I mean, it’s a lot to ask. You’re going to be asked a lot of questions from your opponent, so you’ve got to have the answers. So far I think I’ve been performing on a good level for me. I’m expecting to raise up my level in the next match.

It’s not a new opponent for me. I know him. There’s nothing major for me that I need to be aware of.

 

Q. You’ve beaten Murray once. Was it in Mexico you beat him? What can you remember about that match?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It was a hard court, night match. What can I say? I think we played a great match. I think it was one of the best matches for me this year so far.

I mean, I know him. I’ve practiced against him many times. We kind of know our game pretty well. That match in Acapulco, you know, was really long and exhausting match. Another thing is to play best of three, another thing is to play best of five.

I think we’re both load up and ready to come out on that court.

 

Q. From a tactical standpoint, what are the keys on grass for you to challenge Andy Murray here?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, that’s a good question.

Well, we know, first of all, it’s his home basically here. So, you know, he’s been playing a lot of matches on the Centre Court. He knows his way around the grass pretty good. He’s a great mover.

I’m just going to play my game. I’m not going to step back. I just want to come out with my big game and play my aggressive tennis.

I mean, I don’t want to adjust to my opponent, so to speak. I’m focusing on my game and what I can bring to the court. The rest is, you know, going to come.

 

Q. Andy said that maybe it was a big burden for you to have, an unfair burden, to be compared to Federer at such an early age. Can you put in perspective what that has done to the way you’ve handled things psychologically as you’ve developed?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, I think, as I said at the beginning, it was kind of easy to hear that. It was kind of funny. We were all laughing about it.

But, you know, at some point when I started to establish myself as a player on the tour, this thing was starting to get a bit out of hand. Of course, at the time it put a little bit of pressure on my shoulders.

But I think now all that thing is starting to fade away. I’ve proved myself not once, not twice, that I’m a different person, a different player. So that’s something to add up.

 

Q. How tough will it be, the fact of him being defending champion? Also, what about the influence of Amélie might have on his approach?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: As I said, he’s obviously feeling comfortable playing out here, especially on that court. All the crowd is behind him. Basically everyone is with him. That gives you, of course, an extra edge to whoever you play on the other side.

But I think at the same time that adds a little bit of pressure. But I don’t think that’s going to be an issue during the match.

On the other hand, there’s no point for me or there’s no value of me to give any comment about his coaching situations. Obviously it works out and that’s the most important thing.

 

Q. Andy hasn’t dropped a set yet in this tournament. If you can be the first person to take a set off him, do you think that will put him under the kind of pressure he hasn’t experienced for a while?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, Andy, he’s a great defender and a great returner. It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially when you play against him.

I’ve seen a couple of his matches, the previous matches, so I kind of know how he’s dealing with some of the serves.

You know, I just got to go out on the court and perform and play my game. Just go through that, you know.

 

Q. Today you have achieved what no other Bulgarian male tennis player has achieved so far. How does this make you feel?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It feels good. It obviously feels good. You know, I don’t want to stop here. Again, I hope there’s going to be a lot more first times for me. I’m just aiming to be better and better every time.

 

Q. In terms of fitness, do you think you can go five sets with Andy?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Oh, yeah. I mean, I’ve been working for all those moments. And I think it’s a great feeling to get into that kind of a match.

I mean, of course, best-case scenario is straight sets. In the end of the day I’m not playing against a mediocre player, so I just need to be on my best behavior and in the same time just go out there and try to put every ball back.

 

Q. Can you talk a moment about your own coach, Roger Rasheed, what he’s brought to your game. I know he has an Aussie Rules background. Is there anything from that sport that…

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I haven’t played that yet. It’s not the best thing to run into him, that’s for sure (smiling).

What can I say? Discipline. Better shot selections. You know, there’s just bunch of things that are top of my head. But, as I said, we never focus on one thing in particular. We always try to work on things.

I think the most important thing is to really give 100% from each other every day because I think this is what we both deserve and what we owe to the game.

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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

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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.

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