Novak Djokovic: “(Boris) is my coach and we're working daily on all possible aspects of my mental and physical, emotional preparation” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “(Boris) is my coach and we're working daily on all possible aspects of my mental and physical, emotional preparation”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 30th of June. N. Djokovic d. J. Tsonga 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. An interview with Novak Djokovic

 

Q. You must be delighted with that victory. It looked pretty emphatic.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. I was aware of his qualities, especially on this surface. He looked, before the match, very determined to play his best and very focused.

I think I did really well from the start to the end, especially in the third set where I thought he elevated his level of game and he started serving very high percentage first serve, very strong, all angles.

It was difficult to get the return back in play, but managed to save a couple break points, crucial ones, get myself in the tiebreak and wait for the opportunity to be presented.

We both served very well in the tiebreak, and the only opportunity I had was on second serve on 6-5, and I used it. I went for the shot.

Yeah, I’m just glad that I didn’t allow him to go into the fourth set, because he started to use obviously the crowd support. And, you know, I knew that he’s going to do that because he’s the kind of player that feeds off the energy, so it was very important for me to get this done in straight sets.

 

Q. Yourself and Andy both benefited from playing under the roof today. There is a bit of a backlog. Stan Wawrinka was complaining about the scheduling. He will have to play back to back. Is it beneficial to you going forward in this tournament?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, in my own case, yes. I mean, I had a couple of days off and then scheduled to play today on the Centre. No interruptions, played the whole match under the roof, didn’t think about the rain. This is advantage of being scheduled on Centre Court.

But I understand why Wawrinka was complaining, because, you know, we have this tradition here of the middle Sunday not being played any match. This tradition was broken a couple of times, and I remember a few years ago it was the case when they actually had to play a few matches.

So I think, you know, we have to rethink about this Sunday in between, because the day was beautiful. It was no rain, and the whole day there was no match played. No other Grand Slam has this particular rule.

We all know that tradition is something that is nurtured here in All England Club, and we respect that. But there are some rules that I believe should be, you know, updated, changed, you know, for the better of the schedule and for the better of the players.

 

Q. Didn’t play a warmup tournament here, and then you had three very tight matches and only dropped one set. Are you where you want to be at this stage of the tournament?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Especially after the match today, beating Tsonga who is very good player overall, but especially on the grass. He won in the Centre Court against Federer a couple years ago, so he knows how to play on the big stage. He has been winning against all the top players in different, various, big occasions and big tournaments. He was in a couple of Grand Slam semifinals, finals.

So he’s a top player, established top-10 player, and he loves the big stage. So to be able to win against him in straight sets on the surface that I said that I feel like it suits him the most is a great result. I was very happy with consistency today, mental consistency, and variety in my game. Played very good from back of the court. Good serve.

So all in all, it was a very good match, and hopefully I can continue keeping the same level.

 

Q. What about the left upper arm? You pinched that a couple times in the third set.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, just happened in the tiebreaker in the third set that I felt it a little bit.

But it’s good.

 

Q. You face Marin in the next round, which pits your coach, Boris Becker, up against Goran Ivanisevic. Do you expect Boris to be working especially hard the next couple days to make sure…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I expect him to come into the court and play instead of us (Laughter).

Well, you know, there is no difference in our approach in terms of practice and what we work on, and I will try to stick to the kind of a game plan that I had against Marin in the previous occasions.

I am aware of the fact, as well, that since he started working with Goran that he has improved, especially in his service department, where for his height I thought that he didn’t use his full potential up to now work with Goran, where it’s evident that it works well for him.

Especially on the grass it serves as a great weapon. He won here in straight sets against Chardy and Berdych and some very good players.

So it says enough about his quality play in this tournament.

 

Q. Is this the point in the tournament where Boris’ impact comes into its own?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. I mean, he’s my coach and we’re working daily on all possible aspects of my mental and physical, emotional preparation and trying to get myself in the best possible shape.

You know, of course he can dedicate himself and help as much as he possibly can, but I need to execute the same work that we are doing.

But we do have a much better understanding now, and it shows on the court.

 

Q. You’re obviously very good friends with Marin. Whenever we ask about you two friends playing each other you say, Yeah, but we’re professionals on the court. Is there some intensity that perhaps gets lost on both sides because you have so much respect and liking for each other off court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, not in my case, to be honest. There was few times that I felt – that’s a good question – that I felt this particular sensation when I would play somebody, especially somebody from my country, like Troicki or Tipsarevic, if I should go for this shot. It seems a little bit strange because you don’t want to express your emotions.

But in the end of the day, it’s not a cliché. This is actually how it should be. The mental approach should be that we are both professionals and we want to win against each other. I played Radek the other day and we had a tough match. We both showed, expressed emotions. We wanted to win. We fighted through. One hour after the match we were joking around in the locker room and we were practicing today and tomorrow as well.

So, you know, we are good friends. We are both aware of the fact that that’s our work, it’s our life, and we need to do what we need to do on the court.

 

Q. Goran was such a force of nature as a player, such a strong character. Do you think that will naturally have an impact on Marin and how he approaches it on the court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it already does. It shows with the results that he has in this tournament and lately their relationship helps Marin, for sure.

I mean, he’s definitely feeling, you know, privileged to have Goran on his team because Goran is a legend of our sport, and especially in Croatia and in our ex-Yugoslavian countries. He’s somebody that we respect a lot. He always had this personality, this great drive about him.

He’s tall, as well as Marin, so I’m sure that he helped him out and improved his serve and also his mental approach to this big tournaments and big matches.

I have played him last two times a tough three-setter in Indian Wells, and also a tough four setter in Roland Garros a couple of weeks ago.

No easy matches, really. I feel like he has improved, and I’m sure he’s going to try to go for his shots and try to win the match.

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Wimbledon: Quarter-Finalist Cristian Garin loves The Event But Not So much The Surface

The South American reacts to reaching his first major quarter-final.

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Cristian Garin (CHI) - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Just over a week ago, Cristian Gain admitted that he was ‘upset’ when he saw his draw for Wimbledon this year. 

 

The world No.43 was set to take on the formidable Matteo Berrettini in the first round who has won two grass-court titles in a row in recent weeks. However, the Italian was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Instead, his opponent was the much lower-ranked Elias Ymer from Sweden who he defeated in straight sets. Since then, Garin hasn’t looked back.

On Monday at The All England Club, he staged an audacious comeback to defeat Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). Not only did Garin bounce back from two sets down, he also saved two match points in the process. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last eight of the tournament since Fernando Gonzalez in 2005 and only the fourth in history to do so. 

“It is something very special for me. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” said Garin.
“To be in the quarterfinals is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round.”

Ironically Garin comes from a country where there are no grass courts. This year is his fifth appearance at Wimbledon and it was at the event where he made his Grand Slam debut back in 2017. However, like many other South Americans, clay is still his preferred surface.

“I said Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface,” he jokes. 
“I think the grass is very fun for me. I have to change a little bit the way that I play. I think here on this surface you have to be aggressive.

Garin is one of only five ATP players from Chile currently ranked in the world’s top 500. Since April he has been coached by Pepe Vendrell who previously worked as a mentor to Roberto Bautista Agut and served as Spain’s captain in the ATP Cup. 

The next test for Garin will be a showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who defeated Brandon Nakashima in his fourth round match.

“He is for me one of the guys that I like to watch. He’s very good for tennis,” he said of Kyrgios.
“In these rounds, you play the best. For me, Nick is obviously one of the best on grass.”

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Last Brit Standing Cameron Norrie Urges Fans ‘To Get Behind Him’ At Wimbledon

The Brit says he is feeling more comfortable on the Tour.

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Cameron Norrie (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Cameron Norrie had the pressure of being the British No.1 at Wimbledon this year and now even more eyes will be on him following his milestone win. 

 

The world No.12 defeated Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in his fourth round match on Sunday to reach the last eight of a major for the first time at the age of 26. In doing so he remains the only home player left in the singles draw of either men’s or women’s draws. Heather Watson lost her last 16 match earlier in the day to Jule Niemeier 6-2, 6-4.

“To play the way I did and to handle the occasion, I felt really comfortable the way I was hitting the ball this morning. Definitely more comfortable than my other matches.” Said Norrie.
“It was good to get through that one in the fashion that I did. I was up the whole match, which definitely helped.”

Norrie’s run is the best by a British man at The All England Club since Andy Murray back in 2017. He is coached on the Tour by Facundo Lugones who first got acquainted with him at college in America. The two were teammates with Lugones being a senior and Norrie a freshman. Last year he achieved a win-loss record of 52-25 and won the biggest title of his career in Indian Wells.

A solid top 20 player on the Tour, Norrie’s popularity back home is steadily increasing. Even more so in recent days due to Wimbledon. Now he is the last Brit standing there is added pressure but he is taking it all in his stride.

“I’m the last one standing. But I think it’s even more reason for everyone to get behind me,” he said. “Even the atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarterfinal of a slam. I wanted to get it done there. They definitely helped me a lot.”

Norrie will be hoping the crowd will out in full force for his upcoming clash with former top 10 player David Goffin who defeated Francis Tiafoe in five sets. Goffin has reached the quarter-finals of a major on three previous occasions, including Wimbledon three years ago.

“He’s a very experienced player. He really likes the grass. He’s played a lot of big matches. It’s going to be tough,” Norrie previewed.
“He’s a great competitor, a really good athlete. He’s got a very complete game. He must be playing very well, so it’s going to be a tricky one.’
“One thing for sure, I know that I’m going to get into a lot of rallies with him. He’s not going to come and serve me off the court, which is good. It’s going to be another physical match, which is great for me.”
“I’m looking forward to competing. It’s going to be another huge challenge.”

The only time Norrie played Goffin was last year in Barcelona when Goffin was forced to retire from their match in the second set. 

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Roger Federer Hopes To Play One Last Wimbledon As Icons Mark Center Court Anniversary

The Swiss Maestro said it is ‘great to be back’ after attending a special centenary event alongside other greats of the sport.

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

On the 100th anniversary of Center Court, a special celebration took place on Sunday that saw the return of Roger Federer.

Past and present champions congregated on the premier court during a special 30-minute presentation with a couple of notable absences. Nine-time winner Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras were absent. Each walking on one by one, the biggest cheer occurred when it was Federer’s turn to take to the stage.

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a professional match since his quarter-final loss at SW19 12 months ago due to knee surgery. He has already outlined his plans to return to action later this season at the Laver Cup and Swiss indoors. Speaking on court, Federer said he hopes to play at Wimbledon again as he unexpectedly hints at retiring in the near future. 

 

“I’ve been lucky to play a lot of matches here. Different type of role, but it’s great to be here. This court has given me my biggest moments,” said Federer.
“I hope I can come back one more time.”
“I’ve missed it here. I knew walking out here last year, it was going to be a tough year ahead. I maybe didn’t think it was going to take this long to come back – the knee has been rough on me.
“It’s been a good year regardless of tennis. We’re happy at home. I didn’t know if I should make the trip but I’m happy standing here right now.”


Federer is the only man in history to have ever won the Wimbledon title eight times and was undefeated between 2003-2007. 

One player closing in on that record is Novak Djokovic who is seeking to win his seventh title this year. Speaking about Center Court, the Serbian said the venue has a special place in his heart that dates back to his childhood.

“This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I’ve seen when I was four or five-years-old I saw Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon,” said Djokovic.
“This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honor.”

As for the female champions of the tournament, Venus Williams, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Margaret Court were all in attendance. So was Billie Jean King who is the co-founder of the WTA Tour and has won all three Wimbledon events on multiple occasions (singles – 6, doubles – 10, and mixed doubles – 4). 

“I played my very first match at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. We started late so I had two days on this court. It was magical and wonderful and I knew I belonged here,” said King.
“I love history and I love the fact we have so many people here. Martina [Navratilova] could not be with us and she won nine women’s singles so I’d just like to say I’m sorry she can’t be here.”

In 1922 Center court was officially opened for the first time after taking just nine months to construct. At the time it was the largest-ever reinforced concrete structure. The addition of a roof didn’t occur until 2009.

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