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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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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