US Open 2014 – Novak Djokovic: “I'm feeling better and better as the days go by” - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014 – Novak Djokovic: “I'm feeling better and better as the days go by”

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TENNIS US OPEN 2014 – 24th of August 2014. An interview with Novak Djokovic

 

Q. Can you talk about the depth in men’s tennis right now and how that may differ from, say, a year ago at the US Open?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Depth in terms of…

Q. More quality players, more players who are able to win major events?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, I have been saying before that it’s positive to see that there is a new generation coming up of young players who are challenging and also winning against top players in the big events and who are contenders for big titles. Raonic and Dimitrov are on top of that list, and they have been playing some really good tennis. They played semifinals of Wimbledon. So I’m sure that people who care about the sport and follow this support love to see new faces. The dominance of the top four players has been in this sport for a long time already, you know, last decade or so, so we didn’t have many young players who were able to challenge for top spots and win Grand Slam titles. So this is something that is happening now, but it’s still a long way to the Grand Slam title, you know. It’s not something that, you know, can happen overnight. Of course it can. Nothing is impossible. But, you know, tennis has become more physical nowadays. It’s a very demanding sport. You need to be playing consistently well on a high level in order to break into the top 5.

Q. What is the mental approach to a first-round match against an opponent you have never played?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, get as much information as I can on his game. Obviously his strength and weaknesses in the game and tactically to be prepared before I come to the court. Obviously it’s never easy when you play against somebody you have never played against. He’s a young player from Argentina, and, sure playing on the center court for him is a great experience. He has nothing to lose. So my team is going to do scouting as much as possible and analyze his game and try to prepare myself.

Q. Your wife travels with you throughout the year. With a lot of the lower-ranked players who can’t afford to have family come with them, they are away from their kids, their partners, 25, 30 weeks out of the year. Have you ever felt what your life would be like on tour if you had to travel by yourself?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That’s a good question. Well, that’s, you know, one of the issues we have in sport is that players who are ranked, you know, 67th and lower are not able to afford unfortunately their spouses traveling with them. It’s an effort, you know. It’s really expensive nowadays. The airline tickets, the accommodation and everything, the prices are just going up. You know, it’s not staying the same or not going down, you know. So of course that’s why, you know, players are trying to get prize money raised in the big events. You know, for the top players I think we understand the struggling of the lower players and we understand it’s not only about us, but it’s about these guys who are trying to make a living and trying to break through the top 50 where it gets a little bit easier. Obviously I have been there, but when I was much younger. I was not married when I was 50 or lower ranked, so I cannot imagine having that. But it is what it is, you know. Everybody has some difficulties in life. It’s our profession and it’s something that obviously is a big part of our lives, but it’s important to make the right balance. It’s family life, and love is more important than work, you know, in my eyes.

Q. Obviously you didn’t have the sort of leadup preparation to the US Open. Lost pretty early in Canada and Cincinnati. How has your prep been the last couple of weeks and how you are feeling now on court after those losses?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m feeling better and better as the days go by. It’s something that is encouraging me for this year’s US Open campaign. Obviously I want to peak with my form in the US Open. Yes, I wanted to do better in Canada and Cincinnati. Unfortunately I wasn’t even close to my best. But, you know, a lot of things happened in the last two months, and it was very emotional period. You know, I just felt a little bit flat on the court. I wasn’t managing to find that intensity and the perfect mindset. But, you know, it’s all normal. It’s something that I’m experiencing for the first time, right? So I’m trying to talk as much as I can to, of course, first of all my coach that has been through similar experiences in his life more than one time (smiling). So I’m trying to get as much information as I can, valuable advices that I can use in my case.

Q. Many of us in this room know what a momentous event of a first child can be. Do you think it will be as hard to focus on the tennis as ruthlessly as you normally would while you’re here?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s a question I cannot give you answer to because I’m going to find out. I’m going to see how that feels. Obviously I talk with people who are around me who have children. As I said before, my coach and people who have been in similar situations like I am and how they dealt with that, how that has affected their careers, their mindset, their, you know, just overall life. I with no doubt have only positive and joyful feelings approaching fatherhood, and hopefully — it’s going to happen in less than two months. Then I’m going to enjoy it and try to take as much energy as I can, positive energy to, you know, after kind of transfer that to the tennis court. But without a doubt, life changes. You know, priorities change. My priorities, you know, my family, my wife, my future kid. You know, tennis is not definitely not No. 1 anymore.

Q. Rafael Nadal is not playing here this year. Do you ever reflect why he has to have so many injuries in his career? Quite a lot. Maybe because of his game style?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, probably. He has a very physical game. He slides a lot and spends a lot of energy on each shot. His joints, his body suffers a lot, and it’s not easy. He’s been playing this particular style of the game for over ten years on the highest level. He has won so many Grand Slams, so many tournaments. He has improved over the years on hard courts, and he has — you know, hard court probably for his body and his joints is his least-preferred surface. But, again, he has found a way always to come back. After he has been absent from the tournament for seven months he has had the best year of his year in 2013. So I expect no less, you know, when he comes back to the tour to see him strong, to see him motivated. He he’s a great competitor, a great fighter. As I said, I’m sure that if he had a small percentage of coming here and playing he would do that, because he just loves the game. I have a lot of respect for him. It’s probably because his game style is so physical that that’s why the body suffers a lot.

Q. You spoke a moment ago about Rafa’s physical style and his injuries. How would you describe Roger’s style and his durability by contrast?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think it’s obvious that Roger has a different kind of movement and different kind of game from Rafa. Myself, as well. I would rate my game and my movement physicality closer to Rafa. I know we do a lot of slides and so forth, so it takes a lot of energy to do that. Where, you know, on the other hand you have Roger who sometimes plays so effortless and so smooth. But, again, that doesn’t mean that he’s not spending any energy. Of course it’s not easy, because the game has become more physical nowadays. Especially on the Grand Slams. It’s not only physical energy that is necessary to be on high level. It’s also emotional. It takes a lot of effort emotionally and physically to be on top of your skills and game to perform well.

Q. What do you make of his streak of appearing in majors, 15 years straight, 60 straight majors?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What can I say? It’s an incredible achievement. Everything he does is remarkable. I have lots of respect for everything he does.

Q. Novak, over the last two months you have been saying it’s been emotionally draining. Does that affect your expectations at all going into this tournament? Are you still the favorite here?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it doesn’t. I have high expectations for myself. I always have. Especially at this stage of my career where I feel like now is the time that I’m at my peak physical strength. I want to use this time of my career as much as I can to win as many matches as possible. Obviously I know I’m not the only one that has this kind of mindset, optimistic mindset. There are many players who are fighting for the same trophy. This is the last Grand Slam of the year, and this is where you want to play your best. This is where all the attention of the tennis and sports world come to. It’s going to be a long two weeks’ journey for all of us, but I was getting ready for it and looking forward to it.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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Unseeded Ugo Humbert Becomes First Player In Over A Decade To Win Halle On Debut

The 22-year-old fired nine aces and 29 winners to claim his first ATP 500 title.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPHalle

France’s Ugo Humbert has clinched his maiden ATP title on the grass after defeating Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

Humbert remained unbroken throughout his 6-3, 7-6(4), win over the Russian fourth seed who has won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player since the start of 2020 (74). The Frenchman was particularly impressive behind serve where he won 83% of his first service points and 55% on his second. It is the first time he has beaten Rublev on the Tour after losing to him on two previous occasions in 2019 (Monte Carlo) and 2020 (St. Petersburg).

“It’s incredible,” said Humbert. “The best victory of my career. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy, I was a little but tired today but I tried to stay focused on each point. It’s very nice.”

The triumph concludes what has been a marathon week in Halle for the 22-year-old. En route to the final he had to come through four three-set matches where he scored wins over Sam Querrey, Alexander Zverev, Sebastian Korda and Felix-Auger Aliassime. Becoming only the second player in Halle’s 28-year history to have reached the final by playing only three-set matches.

Meanwhile, runner-up Rublev paid tribute to his opponent following their clash. The world No.7 is now 1-2 in finals played so far this season after winning Rotterdam before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo. To put that into perspective, in 2020 he won all six finals he played in.

“I have often told my coach that you play in an incredible way,” he said. “You have everything to be a very great player. So keep working, doing everything you do. You play very well, you have incredible shots. I wish you a great career.”

Humbert, who won two ATP titles last year in Auckland and Antwerp, is the first player to win Halle on the debut since 2010. On that occasion Lleyton Hewitt prevailed over Roger Federer in the final. He is now projected to rise to a ranking high of 25 on Monday when the ATP standings are officially updated.

The Frenchman will be hoping that he can continue his winning streak heading to Wimbledon where he reached the fourth round back in 2019. His best ever result in a Grand Slam to date.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1406612207086059528

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

https://twitter.com/tennis_gifs/status/1404375935625875457

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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