TENNIS ATP CINCINNATI – 12th of August 2014. N. Djokovic d. G. Simon 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. An interview with Novak Djokovic
Q. Congratulations on the win. Gilles had five consecutive games against you at one point last part of the second set, early in the third. What was the problem at that time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just wasn’t able to hit the ball as well as I did first set and a half. I think he’s a very tricky player, very solid from both sides, from the baseline. You know, he’s not going to give you too many unforced errors and free points, so I knew that.
His lateral movement behind the baseline is very good. He’s making player, you know, play an extra shot. So try to mix it up, change the pace, get the right angle. Was working quite well, and then suddenly I start making unforced errors and backed up a little bit and he started, you know, dominating the rallies. That’s what happened.
Then it was a pretty even third set up to the end. But again, you know, it’s a fight. I’m just glad I managed to win this one.
Q. You had a lot of irritated looks on your face in the course of the match. I’m just wondering if you feel like it’s good to get that win even though you’re not playing that well? What were you feeling out there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, let’s be honest. I don’t enjoy playing bad. I don’t enjoy missing a lot of balls from the baseline. You know, that was frustrating for me.
But I managed to get a W in the end, and that’s what matters. You know, I spoke to my team before trying to get the right mindset, and, you know, competitive intensity on the court.
You know, I think I did well for the most part of the match. End of the second, start of the third wasn’t that great. But, look, I try to take positives from every match. I know I’m not playing at the level yet where I want to be and it’s obvious, but I keep on pushing myself.
Every day is a new challenge to try to, you know, look out for a better game tomorrow and after tomorrow, and hopefully it’s going to come.
Q. You said in your on court interview you just didn’t feel comfortable on the court. Is that the conditions or your own game or a combination?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s a combination. The conditions were the same for both of us. Truth is that they were quite strange, you know. It was cold. Started to rain a little bit. It was very windy. It’s not easy to play, especially when you play somebody like Simon who gets every ball back and makes you play.
Sometimes you feel like you’re not able to take advantage of the short balls, and I lost my footing there a little bit and framed some shots.
You know, it’s easy to lose the confidence in your shots. That’s why for some part of the match I was irritated a little bit, but I managed to come back.
Q. How easy is it for you to concentrate on tennis right now compared to other times?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, look, tennis is a big part of my life. I enjoy the sport. I love this sport. I love competing, traveling, you know, being around people who care about me, who sacrifice their lives for me to be here and most of their time. I don’t take that for granted.
I understand that many people who are not as fortunate as I am to do what they love to do. To be top of the world in this sport, it’s quite a remarkable, so I always try to remind myself of that.
Things have big things have happened in my life recently. Of course I got married and soon to be a father hopefully, so of course these are the joyful moments in life one can experience.
That obviously is going to affect my, you know, priorities in life. But tennis wise I’m going to, of course, as long as I have this passion for the sport, keep on going and keep on practicing and working and hoping that I can win many big titles and stay No. 1.
Q. You construct points very well. It seemed a little odd that on a fast hardcourt some of the rallies were extended 15, 20 shots. Seemingly you came up on the short end of most of those. Any thoughts on why there were so many long rallies tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, I think it worked well for 6 3, 4 2. Most of the rallies I was in control. I changed the length of my shots, the pace, the spin, the angles.
But then again, as I was saying before, Gilles is a very consistent player from baseline. If you start making some unforced errors and if you start doubting your shots for a little bit, that’s where he strikes.
That’s what happened, really, and it was kind of difficult to make the shots that I was making for most part of the first part of the match.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months
The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.
Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.
The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.
“It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”
Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.
“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.
Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.
In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.
“Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.
Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.
Felix Auger Aliassime Wins First Ever Roland Garros Match In Five Sets
Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his first ever victory at Roland Garros.
The Canadian found himself down two sets to none but fought back to pull off the comeback in a thrilling five set victory.
Felix Auger Aliassime is into the second round of the French Open for the first time in his career after battling back to beat the Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in three hours and 14 minutes.
The Montreal native finished the match serving 14 aces and hitting 52 winners in a match that featured a lot of long rallies from behind the baseline.
“It was a dream for me to play here, it was an honor and my first time on Phillipe Chatrier and my first win at Roland Garros and I had to work hard to get it and credit my opponent he played very well today.”
The Peruvian started the match by breaking the number nine seed right out of the gate and at 3-1 managed to turn that break into a double break as he served out the first set with ease.
The first two games of the second went on serve but again the world number 122 seemed to play better as the Canadian looked stunned, searching for answers.
The Lima native once again took an early lead to take a 3-1 lead and again that seemed like enough for the Peruvian as he served out the second set and was one set away from an improbable upset.
The third set is where the Canadian started to turn things around and his groundstrokes seemed to have more precision. At 2-1 it was the Montreal native who got the first break of serve.
After consolidating the break the world number nine was hungry for more and turned that break into a double break and it looked like the match was turning in his favour.
The Canadian served out the third set to send it to a fourth looking to send it to a decider.
The Montreal native rode the momentum from winning the third into the fourth set where after holding the opening service game got the early break once again taking a 2-0 lead.
At 5-3 with the Peruvian looking to stay in the set, Auger Aliassime managed to get another break to win the set and send the match to a fifth set.
The fifth set stayed on serve until 4-3 when the Canadian had four chances to break and at the fourth time of asking he was able to break and serve out the match to complete the comeback.
After the match in his on court interview he was asked about the adjustments he made in the third set to turn the match around and pull off the win.
“I tried to give myself some more space and a little more time, my opponent at the beginning was playing very quick, aggressive, and flat so I tried a couple things and I also served better and after that it was easier.”
The Canadian will next face either Aslan Karatsev or Camilo Ugo Carabelli in the next round.
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