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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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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Nick Kyrgios Admits Assaulting Former Girlfriend But Avoids Prosecution

The tennis star says he ‘deeply regrets’ how he reacted during an argument with his former partner.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios will not be charged with assault despite pleading guilty to shoving over his former girlfriend following an argument. 

 

The Wimbledon finalist attended court on Friday after he was accused by his former partner, Chiara Passari, of assaulting her during an incident that took place on January 10th 2021. Kyrgios was initially charged following an argument which took place outside of Passari’s apartment in the inner-city Canberra suburb of Kingston. 

At a hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court, it was revealed that Kyrgios’ ex-girlfriend was standing in front of an Uber car door which prevented him from closing it before he pushed her over. When she fell to the ground, he was heard saying ‘seriously.’ In the minutes leading up to what happened, Kyrgios told Passari “leave me the f*** alone” and to “just f***ing piss off” when he was asked to get out of the car and calm down. He had called for an Uber ride following their argument. 

Passari, who didn’t report the incident to the police until 10 months after it happened, suffered a grazed knee and hurt her shoulder as a result of her fall, according to her legal filing. Kyrgios apologized for his actions two days later when the two met at a Canberra cafe. Unknown to him at the time, that conversation was recorded by Passari. The two continued their relationship for some months before breaking up. 

Magistrate Beth Campbell has ruled in Kyrgios’ favour despite him owning up to his actions. In her verdict, Campbell said the seriousness of the matter was ‘low’ and the tennis star was not likely to re-offend again. 

“You acted in the heat of the moment,” she said.
“I am dealing with you in the same way I would deal with any young man in this court. You are a young man who happens to hit a tennis ball particularly well.”

During the hearing, evidence was heard from Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, who said his mental health issues were ‘recurrent’ and he has suffered from thoughts of self-harm. Although Borestein says his condition has improved in recent times. Furthermore, Kyrgios’ lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, said there was “a relationship between the mental health and the offending – even though he no longer suffers it to the same extent today.”

In a statement issued following the court’s decision, Kyrgios said he reacted ‘in a way he regretted’ and apologized for his actions. He went on to attribute what happened to his mental health condition at the time. 

“I respect today’s ruling and I am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,” he said.
“I was not in a good place when this happened and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I am sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.
“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I have found that getting help and working on myself has allowed me to feel better.”

Before his guilty plea, Kyrgios had argued that the charge should be dropped on the grounds of his mental health but that appeal was withdrawn when the court found that he is not currently suffering from a major depressive illness. 

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