Novak Djokovic: “Of course, there is plenty of motivation to win this Grand Slam final after losing last three out of four” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “Of course, there is plenty of motivation to win this Grand Slam final after losing last three out of four”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 4th of July. N. Djokovic d. G. Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6. An interview with Novak Djokovic

 

Q. What do you think of facing Roger Federer here in a final, knowing that in all of your matches all through these years you’ve only faced him once on grass here two years ago?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, we only played once. It was a four-set win for him in semis of Wimbledon, so it’s a good chance for me to, you know, try to win against him on his favorite surface, on his favorite court.

This is where he has the most success in his career, winning many titles. He’s been looking very good throughout the whole tournament, very dominant with his matches. You know, I’m sure that he wants to win this title as much as I do.

 

Q. What’s the key?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we know each other’s games. We played many matches on different occasions. As you said, only once on grass court, but we played so many times in semifinals and finals of Grand Slams, different surfaces, big matches over the years. They were very exciting.

And, of course, most of the matches we play against each other went the distance. So I’m going to be, of course, physically ready and fit to go the distance this time. Of course, there is plenty of motivation from my side to win this Grand Slam final after losing last three out of four.

Of course, I want to try to, you know, get the title. It would mean a lot mentally for me. The key against him in the game, of course, is trying to not allow him to dictate too much because he likes to be very aggressive, he likes to come to the net.

I’m going to have to be able to get as many returns back in the court and try to also stay closer to the line, protect the baseline.

 

Q. You seemed to be slipping a fair bit today, as did Grigor. Are the courts more slippery at the back of the court? Wrong shoes, or what?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I feel like they’re a little bit more than last year. But maybe it’s because of the fact that we had some very warm days last five, six days or so.

Also, you know, if you sweat in your feet the shoes get wet, and that can also influence the sliding and slipping on the court.

That’s why I always take the extra shoes, and it helped.

 

Q. Were your occasional looks to your box triggered by frustration of the slipping or by the fact that he was hitting some incredible shots, just driving you crazy?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, you’re going through different emotions during the match. Of course, at certain stage of the match I was frustrated because I, again, allowed my opponent to come back to the match. I was a set and a break up and, again, made some unforced errors and gave my opponent today a hope that he can win the match.

That’s something that I definitely cannot allow myself in the finals against Roger. They have a similar game, so it was, of course, good to play today a longer match and to understand also the way I need to prepare for Roger.

That’s it, you know. I have been going through some tough matches during this tournament. But there is a reason, of course, for me going through these experiences and fighting through it. I’m going to try to use that experience in a positive way and encourage myself to get a title.

 

Q. Your matches throughout this Wimbledon, they sort of had a pattern. You start well and then hit a tricky period. It happened again today. Is there a reason for that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, there is a reason for that obviously. But, again, I’m working on it. I identified the problem. I know what’s going on. Sometimes it just happens. It happens not just because you play a bad game but sometimes your opponent plays well.

It’s important to, even though if you lose a set or two sets, you know, be able to bounce back and recover from that. I’ve done that, and that’s a positive that I’m taking from these matches.

 

Q. On a similar subject, do you just not think about those finals, or do you try and learn from them going on?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course I try to learn from those. Those are the big matches. I’m not by myself. I have the team of people around me that are experts in their own fields. They try to all help me out and analyze my game, as well as my mental approach and state in which I am.

So we will try to understand, you know, what I did wrong in French Open final from a mental perspective, and to make it better in two days.

 

Q. My question is fairly similar. You said something interesting. You said it would mean a lot to you mentally to win the title here. Is that because post 2011 when you were the man to beat and three out of four slams you won, you dipped by your very own high standards? Is that what you mean when you say mentally?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, I always had a high expectations for myself. You’re right, in a way. I set up high standards for myself, and ambition when I start a season is to, of course, win as many majors as possible.

I don’t downgrade any tournament really. I always try to give my maximum.

But we all know that Grand Slams are the four biggest events we have in this sport. This is where I want to win the title. Not winning a title, but being in several finals since, you know, two years or three years, this is something that I want to undo. I want to try to have a fresh start and have a title.

From that perspective, it definitely can help.

 

Q. Your rivalry with Roger seems to have a bit more of an edge to it than with Andy or Rafa on court. Do you sense that when you’re out there? Why do you think that is?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Every rivalry that I have with these three guys is special and unique in its own way.

Of course, I respect Roger and everything he has achieved in his career as a player. To come back and play finals of Wimbledon again, it’s incredible what he’s doing.

But, again, when we come to the court, that ends. I’m there to win whoever is across the net.

 

Q. Boris must be a pleased and a relieved man. Pleased that you won, and relieved because had your match gone on much longer he might have missed Germany in the World Cup.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That’s why I haven’t seen him for last hour. I saw him after the match and he said, Let’s speak later. I didn’t realize, but then I saw the TV.

 

Q. So he made it clear he wanted to get straight off to watch the football?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, you could see he was a bit stressed after the match. I said, Well, the match is over. He said, See you later. I said, Okay.

 

Q. When you played Roger here two years ago, you said afterwards you weren’t at your best for reasons you didn’t want to go into at the time. Do you remember what they were? Can you share them with us now?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Interesting. I can’t recall that I said that. I’m sure you heard me say that. I don’t know why. I don’t remember, to be honest.

But this is another year. I feel differently, of course, each year. This is going to be the third final of Wimbledon in the last four years, so this is a great achievement for me.

Just being part of the finals is, of course, a great success. But this time I want to go and try to win the title, as every time. You can never predict or guarantee what’s going to happen on the court results wise, but you can always prepare yourself for the battle.

 

Q. How much have you seen Roger play this tournament? Are you sensing that his level has been good?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: His level has been very high, I have to say. I’ve been watching him in a few matches. You know, he didn’t have many tough matches up to quarterfinals. Against Stan he played well. He recovered from a set down.

I mean, with his immense experience of winning this title so many times and, of course, from being so dominant in men’s tennis for over a decade, of course that helps in the approach of the Grand Slam final.

Hopefully I can tactically prepare myself and execute well to not allow him to be at his top shape on Sunday.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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