Novak Djokovic: “Very special. Most special Grand Slam final I've played” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “Very special. Most special Grand Slam final I've played”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 6th of July. N. Djokovic d. R. Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4. An interview with Novak Djokovic

Q. You looked very surprised to me at the end that you won. Were you? Was it different than other wins in that respect?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was just overwhelmed with the emotions, positive emotions, that I was experiencing in the match. I was not surprised, I was just trying to enjoy the moment, rethink what I’ve been through during the match.

Sincerely, this has been the best quality Grand Slam final that I ever been part of. I’ve had a longest final against Nadal in the Australian Open 2012.

But quality-wise from the first to last point, this is definitely the best match.

Roger played very well, I thought, in a very high level. He showed why he’s a champion. He showed a fighting spirit, composure in important moments when he was a break down.

When I was serving for the match, he came in and played his best game. I didn’t think I did much wrong there.

Was disappointing losing the fourth set after being so close to win it and match point. But the only way I could have won the match today is by believing that I can make it all the way until the end and staying mentally strong. That’s what I’ve done.

I didn’t allow my emotions to fade away, as it was probably the case in Roland Garros final a couple, three, four weeks ago.

Just very glad to win a Grand Slam final after losing the last three out of four.

 

Q. What were you thinking and what were you feeling when you weren’t able to close it out in the fourth set?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, those are the critical moments that a tennis player goes through in his own mind. Obviously the moment shifted to his side. He started playing better. Crowd got involved.

It was important to start well in the fifth, consolidate my service games, try to put pressure on him. I was the first serving in the fifth set, so he was always behind and trying to catch up.

That’s something mentally that was in my mind. Just hold your serve and work your way through in the return games and try to wait for the opportunity. When it’s presented, you have to grasp it.

I had 4-3, 15-40, but again he played some great shots, great points. Didn’t do much wrong there.

But I was very close in several occasions, even in the fourth, to win the match. But, you know, I could have easily lost my concentration in the fifth and just handed him the win.

But I didn’t, and that’s why this win has a special importance to me mentally. Because I managed to not just win against my opponent but win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today.

 

Q. How has the flavor of the grass changed in the three years since you last dined on Centre Court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very good question (smiling).

It didn’t change much. Actually I didn’t feel anything, to be honest. So I had a nice bite. I thought that there was less grass today than it was few years ago, so I had a little bit of a spoil, as well.

But nevertheless, it tastes like the best meal that I ever had in my life probably.

 

Q. I read a tweet by Ivo Karlovic who said you should have won all the sets you played today. Do you agree with him?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ivo has always the best comments. Very criticizing over me. I’m kidding.

But, yeah, I felt like all the sets were very close for me to take. But, again, first set, you know, could have gone either way but went his way. He deserved to win it because it was just one or two points that decided the winner of the first set.

Second set I felt like that break that I made and held it towards the end very well.

The third, again, was very close. Won in a tiebreak.

In the fourth, should have won but he came back.

All in all, it was just incredibly high quality of tennis from both of us. We didn’t give too much one to another. We didn’t make a lot of unforced errors, so I think there was a lot of winners.

He served very efficiently, was using all the angles, was making it difficult for me to return.

5-4 in the fifth set he made I think only one first serve in in the whole game. That obviously helped me to prevail.

 

Q. Given everything you said about the mental side of it and how the match went today, is this the Grand Slam title you’re most proud of?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, yes, definitely. Very special. Most special Grand Slam final I’ve played. At the time of my career for this Grand Slam trophy to arrive is crucial, especially, as I said, after losing several Grand Slam finals in a row. Started doubting of course a little bit. I needed this win a lot.

I’m going to try to use it in the best possible way and for my confidence to grow for the rest of my season and the rest of my career.

 

Q. At the end of the match on court you said to Roger, Thank you for letting me win. Sounded like it was a joke; also sounded a little bit apologetic. Was it partially because the crowd was so in his favor, or was it respect for your opponent?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all it was a joke. I think we didn’t have that kind of agreement before the match. Let me assure of that (laughter). Especially 6 4 in the fifth set, first of all. If we had that agreement, it would be much shorter.

No, as I said on the court, I respect him and his achievements, his career. He’s a great champion on and off the court.

To be able to win against him as one of my greatest rivals on this occasion on a court that he’s been dominating for so many years makes it a very special trophy for me. I had tears of joy. I was overwhelmed by the moment and the occasion.

And the second question was? Sorry.

 

Q. How did you feel about the crowd?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: The crowd? It’s normal to expect that after so many years of dominance and success that he had on this court, and courts around the world, for the person he is, to have the majority of the support.

But I wasn’t focusing on that. I was focusing on what I need to do on the court. I was also hearing the positive support that I got, as well, from the crowd, which I thought was not a small number.

All in all I thought the crowd was enjoying this match. It was a fantastic match to be a part of.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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