Wimbledon: Djokovic battles past Dimitrov for a 2nd straight final - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon: Djokovic battles past Dimitrov for a 2nd straight final

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – Novak Djokovic once again showed true grit when his back was up against the wall and the momentum seemed to be shifted well out of his reach. The 6-time major champion fought hard against the young tenacious spirit of Grigor Dimitrov to reach his third Wimbledon final. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

Novak Djokovic once again showed true grit when his back was up against the wall and the momentum seemed to be shifted well out of his reach. The 6-time major champion fought hard against the young tenacious spirit of Grigor Dimitrov to reach his third Wimbledon final. Djokovic did well to win this match 6-4 3-6 7-62 7-67 in just over 3 hours as there were moments when Dimitrov looked like he was going to be in his first major final. Although this was not an epic match by any stretch of the imagination, it was however, a match that showed two great competitors battling their hardest for a highly desired prize. They slipped and slid across Centre Court defending points as though life depended on it. In the end, it would be Djokovic left standing on top displaying even more so why he would be one of the sport’s legends.

Dimitrov served to open the match and was showing himself to be up to the challenge of taking another top player. He kept it even till the 5th game when the Bulgarian played a most sloppy game and was broken at love. Therefore, instead of him going up 3-2, it was Djokovic who would serve for a 4-2 lead. Djokovic maintained this lead and served out the set 6-4 in 27 minutes. Djokovic carried this momentum into the 2nd set as he broke Dimitrov and went up 3-1. However, Dimitrov finally got his act together and reeled off 5 straight games to take the set 6-3. Now the match was even. Djokovic was looking baffled and beside himself. Nearly all this matches here at this year’s Wimbledon seemed to involve him “complicating” his life and this was no different.

In the 3rd set, things remained on serve although Djokovic had to save a break point in the middle of the set. It seemed that Dimitrov had the momentum in the match and he was going to take the breaker. However, in the breaker, Dimitrov fizzled as Djokovic earned the minibreak to go up 4-2. Then Dimitrov double faulted to give Djokovic a 5-2 lead with two serves to close it out. Djokovic did not muck about as he did earlier in the set. With the lead in hand and two serves, he closed out the breaker 7-2 points to take the set 7-62.

In the 4th set, even at 1-1, Dimitrov played one of the most inexplicable games seen this tournament. He threw in three consecutive double faults and then on a 2nd serve point, he pushed the forehand long to be broken at love. Djokovic not to be outdone by this bizarre play, allowed himself to be broken immediately to get back on serve 2-2. The match stayed even on terms as both players fought off several break points to force another tiebreaker.

Dimitrov who had set point in the 10th game, rebounded from the missed opportunity to earn himself 3 more set points up 6-3 in the breaker. Djokovic came up with the big serves to erase two of those set points. It was now 6-5 Dimitrov. This match was surely heading to a 5th set. However, it seemed that Dimitrov had other ideas. He played a couple of poor points including double faulting yet again which now saw him down match point; from 6-3 Dimitrov to 7-6 Djokovic. Djokovic then decided foolishly to serve and volley on match point and sure enough it was now 7-7. Djokovic would earn a 2nd match point 8-7. It was now Dimitrov’s turn to act silly down match point. He too tried the serve and volley ploy at such a crucial stage but Djokovic read it and picked off the easy forehand pass for the win 6-4 3-6 7-6 7-6.

It would be hard to pick apart this match from the statistics. Both men served relatively well. Djokovic won 73% of his 1st serve points and 56% of his 2nd serve. Dimitrov won 82% of his 1st serve and 45% of his 2nd serve. There was not much separating them in the winners to errors ratio as Djokovic had 45 winners to 26 errors and Dimitrov 48 to 33. However, the key to this match was really both players not capitalizing on their opportunities to take full control of the match. There were many instances where either player when out in front, lose focus and allowed his opponent back into the match. Dimitrov double faulting at inopportune times, 8 in total for the match, would be what he will take away from this match. Djokovic, after the match stated, “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.” Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the men’s final on Sunday. The two played here once before in the 2012 semifinals. Federer won that match went on to win the title.

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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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Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

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Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

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