ATP Toronto – Novak Djokovic: “Gael is Gael. He loves jumping around, sliding, he's very unpredictable” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Toronto – Novak Djokovic: “Gael is Gael. He loves jumping around, sliding, he's very unpredictable”

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TENNIS ATP TORONTO – 6th of August 2014. N. Djokovic d. G. Monfils 6-2, 6-7, 7-6. An interview with Novak Djokovic

 

Q. Starting off a tournament with such a hard fought battle, does it allow you to get more focused that much quicker when you have such a tough match to start a tournament?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was playing really good first set and a half, and then just dropped the first serve percentage and allowed him to come back to the match.

He started playing better, playing more efficiently. It was a pretty even match from midway through second all the way through to the last point. Either one could win.

In a way it was fun, of course, and entertaining to be part of this match. I enjoyed it. I tried to take the positives from this long match, and those are obviously the fact that I stayed over two and a half hours on the court and I have not played an official hard court match since Miami finals.

That helps obviously to play a little bit more, to feel the court, to feel the conditions. Also, my next opponent has a very similar game, power game like Gaël’s.

I’m not feeling tired, I’m not exhausted, I haven’t played a tournament for four weeks. I of course look forward to compete more.

 

Q. Is it something you noticed? How do you make adjustments? Did it have anything to do with conditions down there?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, conditions were not easy, but it’s pretty much the same for both of us on the court. That’s not an excuse.

I lost my footing on the court. I thought, you know, set and a half, as I said, I felt I hit the ball cleanly and didn’t make many unforced errors, made him play, put a lot of returns back. Then he started serving better and, as I said, decreased the first serve percentage, and he was looking for the opportunities to come, you know, to attack.

He played really well. I mean, he mixed up the game. He mixed up the pace. He used his slice well.

Yeah, he was a break up in the third, so, you know, it was very important for me to get back on serve into the third set, because the way he was serving was not easy to make a break. I was a little bit slower on my footing, I believe, from the baseline and as you mentioned on the backhand.

So that’s something I will try to improve for the next match, definitely.

 

Q. Physically you were clearly back in shape after your sort of time off, but emotionally it’s been quite a demanding month for you with Wimbledon and then obviously your personal circumstances. How do you get yourself back into the frame of mind of focusing on tennis again?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s a first and last time I hope I’m getting married, and of course it is different circumstances that I’m in (laughter).

But it’s, you know, it’s been many years already that I have been on the professional tour and with the same team of people around me who are experts in their fields and their professions, and they are making sure I’m in the right frame of mind and in the right zone.

And of course I’m the one who is doing the job obviously, and I’m the one who should win the match. It’s easier said than done, but I have had pretty much the same schedule for many years. Of course there is a little thing that is different now, it’s called wedding, but it can bring me only joy and all the positive emotions, because that’s what I have taken away from that.

Growing up and maturing as a person, as a player, of course each year you are facing different kind of circumstances and challenges and obstacles in life or on the tennis court, and, you know, you always try to be stronger and kind of learn the lesson and kind of continue that developing, because that’s hard to compare any years or my game now comparing to what it was, what it was three years ago.

It’s not possible, because I’m a different person and three years older, and I have different circumstances in life that obviously influence also my tennis.

 

Q. I know you said it was fun out there. I’m just wondering if any of the spectacle from the things that Monfils was doing was distracting at all or if the crowd was distracting you at all?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I don’t think    the crowd was good. It was very nice to see that for the first match we already had almost full stadium. And I think, you know, the interest of the crowd, the attention of the crowd was there.

Gaël is Gaël. That’s what he does. He loves jumping around, sliding, he’s very unpredictable. You don’t know what his next move is, so that’s why he’s so interesting.

I said before that he’s probably the only guy in the world, tennis player, that I would pay a ticket to watch the match. He’s really fun to watch but not so much fun to play against.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne

Troicki, who will head the Serbian ATP Cup team next month, says his career has been thrown into ‘chaos.’

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Former top 20 player Victor Troicki says his ‘Grand Slam is failing’ after implying that he felt that he was misled about the quarantine rules ahead of the Australian Open.

 

Troicki, who is currently ranked 202nd in the world, is among 72 players who have been placed in a strict quarantine where they are not allowed to leave their room for a 14-day period. Those affected have all been deemed as a ‘close contact’ of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

34-year-old Troicki travelled to Australia from Doha after successfully qualifying for the Australian Open with wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Ulises Blanch and Jurij Rodionov. This year’s two qualifying tournament’s took place in the Middle East due to the pandemic.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal earlier this week.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My Grand Slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.”

In recent days there has been some dispute over whether players knew about the conditions regarding going into a strict quarantine. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were initially under the impression that sections of a plan would have to be isolated if there was a positive case and not the entire plane. Ultimately the decision was up to the Australian health authorities.

“Tennis Australia was doing a great job in my opinion. The only thing that was a bit unclear was about the quarantine when somebody gets infected on the plane. They were talking like they were going to make sections inside the plane so if they found somebody in a section (who tests positive) they would isolate those people,’ said Martinez.
“But in the end the government didn’t want to do this and they preferred to isolate all on the plane because it was safer for everyone.”

Amid the debate over whether Troicki and his peers knew the full story or not, Spain’s Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to contract the virus during quarantine. She had previously criticised the procedure before later apologising.

As for Troicki, he says the current situation is creating ‘chaos’ in his career.

“All preparations are failing,” he said. “Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”

Troicki is the team captain of the Serbian ATP Cup team. The tournament will start a week prior to the Australian Open on February 1st.

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No Advantage For Those Quarantining In Adelaide, Says Dominic Thiem

The 27-year-old dispute claims of unequal treatment ahead of the first major of 2021.

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Dominic Thiem has dismissed allegations of special treatment for top ranked players going through quarantine ahead of the Australian Open next month.

 

The World No.3 is among a series of players who are staying in Adelaide instead of Melbourne where an estimated 1200 players and their teams have travelled to. Under an agreement struck by Tennis Australia, the top three players on both the men’s and women’s Tour’s have been allowed to quarantine in Adelaide along with their hitting partners, family and team members. The move is to help ease the flow of people into Melbourne.

Some players have claimed that special treatment is being provided to those in Adelaide with the use of a private gym among other extras. However, Thiem has insisted that he is no better off than his peers.

“It’s a privilege to be here in Adelaide. But it’s not that huge an advantage,” Thiem told The Guardian. “We get the same amount of practice time as the guys in Melbourne. It’s just not that busy on-site. It’s just that we are [fewer] players here. Compared to the players who are not in hard quarantine in Melbourne, we have pretty similar conditions.”

Earlier in the week Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley openly admitted that those in Adelaide had gotten a better deal. Speaking to Nine News of Melbourne he said ‘My general rule is if you’re at the top of the game, a Grand Slam champion, it’s just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal.’ Meanwhile in a recent interview with UbiTennis, world No.44 doubles player Marcelo Demoliner pointed out that the disparity in treatment between the top names and other players is a common trait in the sport.

“I do believe they are receiving preferential treatment, quite different from us. But this is part of the tour,” he said.
“The top tennis players always had these extras, we are kinda used to it. We came here knowing that they would have better conditions for practicing, structure, hotels… they also have merits to have achieved all that they have to be the best players in the world. I don’t know if it’s fair, but I believe the conditions could be more similar than they are in this situation.”

Strict quarantine woes

Perhaps those most frustrated with Thiem and Co are the ones currently placed in strict quarantine. 72 players are not allowed to leave their rooms for 14 days after being deemed a close contact of somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests occurred on flights en route to Melbourne.

Speaking about the group, US Open champion Thiem admits they face a struggle in the coming weeks but stress that it was a risk they took. There have been arguments over the quarantine rules and whether they were clear enough upon arrival. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were unaware that if somebody tested positive on a plane all passengers would be required to isolate.

It’s going to be really tough to play a good ATP Cup or good tournament before the Australian Open and then a good Australian Open,” said Thiem.
“They have a huge disadvantage, but that’s the risk we take when we go on to a plane nowadays.”

Novak Djokovic has previously sought to help out those in strict quarantine by writing a letter to Tiley outlining a series of suggestions including the increased use of testing to reduce the isolation period. However, government officials rejected calls for any changes to their system. Djokovic issued a statement on Thursday outlining his motive was made with ‘good intentions’ after he received backlash from some.

“He received unnecessary criticism a lot in the past. This topic, I don’t really know,” Thiem commented.
“He tried to help the other players in Melbourne but in Australia they did a great job with corona. It almost doesn’t exist here any more so Australia wants to keep it that way.”

The Australian Open will get underway on February 8th. Thiem is aiming to go one step better than last year when he finished runner-up to Djokovic.

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