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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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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ATP Announces 22-Month Ranking System To Support Players Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Parts of the changes have been done to help support those who prefer not to or can not travel to tournaments due to safety concerns.

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The ATP Tour has revised their calculations for this year’s ranking system with the governing body admitting that the new changes could also be applied in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Players on the men’s Tour have been given a wider period where they can select their best tournaments to determine their ranking. Prior to the suspension of competitive tennis, male players were allowed to select their 18 best performances in tournaments within a 52-week period. This has now been expanded to 22 months (March 2019-December 2020). Although they are not allowed to use the same tournament twice.

In a press release the ATP says their new measures allows ‘flexibility and fairness’ with players on the tour. Furthermore, it has been designed with the possibility of the rules continuing into 2021 should the ongoing pandemic continue to disrupt the Tour in some degree. Outlining their objectives, the ATP says one of their goals is to protect those who ‘cannot or prefer not to compete in 2020 due to health & safety.’ A point recently raised by Australian player Alexei Popyrin who has voiced concerns about playing at the US Open.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

As a result of the changes, it remains to be seen if this will have any effect on other players concerning their decision to play at the New York major which will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history. Some parts of America have reported a surge in COVID-19 cases with 52,228 New Cases being reported on July 5th.

Under the new calculations, no player will have less ranking points than what they currently have at present. The ATP rankings have been frozen since March 16th but will resume on the Monday after the first tournament in the revised calendar concludes.

There are exceptions to the new 22-month ruling. Qualification for the ATP Finals will still be based on 52 weeks because the event is classed as an ‘additional tournament.’ Therefore it doesn’t count as one of the 18 key events to determine a player’s ranking. Points from last year’s tournament will drop off on November 9th after the Paris Masters. The reason for doing so is to make the chances of qualifying more fair. Furthermore Challenger and ITF events will also be based on the 52-week rule because ‘events are scheduled on a one-year basis and do not have consistent spots in the calendar.’

The ATP Tour is set to resume at the Citi Open in Washington during the second week of August.

A full FAQ of the new ranking system can be read here.

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