US Open 2014 – Novak Djokovic: “This is where I want to play my best tennis. I haven't done as well in leadup tournaments” - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014 – Novak Djokovic: “This is where I want to play my best tennis. I haven't done as well in leadup tournaments”

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TENNIS US OPEN – 30th of August 2014. N. Djokovic d. S. Querrey 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. An interview with Novak Djokovic

 

Q. Would you explain the point near the end of the first set that you kind of gave away. What happened there?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I didn’t give it away. I stopped to play. The chair umpire hasn’t heard me, hasn’t seen that I stopped the play. And Sam, as well.

Q. Nobody else in the place knew it. You hit it back…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was obvious in the replay. People could see it that I hit the ball and I stopped and I said challenge before he hit the ball.

Q. You came into the tournament with not the best leadup. A lot of things going on in your life, but you don’t look too distracted. What’s going on in your game right now?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: What is supposed to go on in my game? It’s peaking at the right time, at the right tournament. This is where I want to play my best tennis. I haven’t done as well as I wanted in leadup tournaments, Toronto and Cincinnati. I didn’t know how emotionally drained I was in a way until I played Tsonga in Canada and played some great match and I didn’t feel I could deliver my best. That’s something that when I analyzed, you know, what I had two months before was normal in a way. I was expecting of myself, and I always am expecting from myself, the best and to go as far as I can. But obviously emotionally wasn’t ready for those tournaments. But the upside of me losing early in Cincinnati is that I had more time to prepare for US Open, last Grand Slam of the year. Over the years I played some of my best tennis on these courts. four finals and one title is quite impressive record. I feel very comfortable playing on Arthur Ashe stadium. The New York give me a lot of energy. It’s a pleasure to perform, to play in front of them.

Q. He has a big first serve, and you were into every one of his service games. How much confidence do you take out of this for the next round?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A lot. I can play Isner in the next round, or Kohlschreiber, whoever wins that match. In case I play Isner, I have a good feel about my return. I positioned myself well. I prepared myself with the team tactically very good. But, again, when you’re on the court in important moments, clutch moments when it’s 30-All, a break point, that’s where most of the time you have to follow your instincts and try to react well, and, you know, kind of be aggressive as much as can you. But, you know, sometimes when somebody is serving as well and as strong as Sam or John, over 130 miles, best you can do is block the serve and get into the rally. That’s where my chances were, and that’s where I was looking for my chance to move him around the court, get into a rally, always get another ball back into play. So I think I have done that particularly well today.

Q. When you said you were emotionally drained before Cincinnati and Canada, was that just family stuff or was something else wrong?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, no. It was just overwhelming moments. Going back to the clay court season, had an injury that I didn’t know with the wrist how far it’s going to stay there, if it’s going to be an obstacle for me to play Roland Garros, and that has taken a lot of energy from me emotionally. Then Roland Garros, losing another final against Nadal and then bouncing back and winning Wimbledon the way I wanted and had becoming No. 1 and then few days later a wedding. So these things together are very overwhelming in every way. Of course, it gave me a lot of positive energy, but of course it was very demanding. You know, I tried to enjoy that and worked pretty good before the leadup tournaments to US Open. I was physically ready, but obviously emotionally I was still not out there.

Q. Your fellow countryperson, Alexandra Krunic, revealed a secret that yesterday she actually kicked you out of the…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.

Q. Was that the most humiliating moment of your career?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, absolutely not. I hope she kicks me out every single day so she keeps on winning (smiling). If that’s the lucky charm. Actually, we joked around this morning that I knew she was in one of the six rooms up there next to the gym, in private physio room. So I was in the first one. I left the door open just in case she comes and her team and if they want to use that room also as well as the room where they were. You know, I let them be the way they are. She’s doing tremendous work and tremendous job here in US Open winning against Kvitova today, reaching first time in her career fourth round. She’s still very young. She has a lot of variety in her game and she battles. I think that’s something that people respect with her. You can see the brave heart.

Q. You were talking a little bit earlier about your childhood development and education. Did you have any classroom experiences that you feel were particularly formative in terms of your ongoing intellectual curiosity now that you have to kind of learn on your own?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, going to the school obviously gives you these basic knowledge and education about many fields, many things in life and many fields of life. Jelena has kind of focused on certain things that she believed are helpful from our tennis career, and from very early stages of my life I already had vision that — you know, I want to be the best in the world in tennis already when I was eight, nine years old. She was one of the persons that contributed the most to this vision, because she believed strongly in my talent and my potential. She was assuring my parents that they should support me and try their best, you know, for me to kind of chase my dream. Reading poetry, listening to the music, analyzing the top players at that time, my own game, many things that we have done had its purpose.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis

The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.

 


Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.

“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”

Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.

“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”

The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.

Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.

Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances. 

Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out. 

A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game. 

“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.


 

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Why Rafael Nadal Faces His Biggest Test Yet

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins UbiTennis to reflect on the highs and lows of day 8 of Wimbledon.

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Will the upcoming quarter-final be Rafael Nadal’s hardest match yet? How will Nick Kyrgios’ shoulder recover?

 

The second Monday at Wimbledon was one full of intrigue in the men’s draw. Whilst on the women’s side, Simona Halep was in impressive form against Paula Badosa but tennis commentator Flink explains why he thinks her upcoming clash with Amanda Anisimova will be tougher.

Alongside Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta, Flink also looks at Jannik Sinner’s chances of causing a huge upset against reigning champion Novak Djokovic. 

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WIMBLEDON: Rafael Nadal Coy Over New Injury Speculation

After the foot problems in Paris, there is a strong possibility the Spaniard could be experiencing another injury issue.

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image via twitter.com/atp

There are fresh concerns surrounding Rafael Nadal after he declined to go into the reason why he was wearing abdominal taping during his fourth round match at Wimbledon. 

 

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was seen wearing some kind of protection in the abdominal area after changing his t-shirt during one of the breaks. In recent weeks Nadal has been dealing with physical issues due to a long-term foot condition he has. At the French Open he revealed that he had to undergo injections in order for him to continue playing en route to winning the tournament for a 14th time.

Playing 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp, Nadal battled his way to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6), win. Speaking to reporters after his latest win at The All England Club, the Spaniard sidestepped a question about a potential abdominal problem he could be experiencing. 

“I am a little bit tired of talking about my body. It’s not that I don’t want to answer your question, but at the same time sometimes I am tired of myself, all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now,” he replied.
“I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want.”

Continuing to stay coy about his form and health, Nadal offered an alternative perspective when asked if he was nearing his best level once again. He has dropped just two sets in four matches played so far at Wimbledon which is his first grass-court event since 2019. 

“It’s always the same here. It’s not about how close I am to the level or not. I don’t know that. I can’t predict what can happen.” He said.
“But the positive thing is the first two matches haven’t been good. Then two days ago I played at a high level for the first time. And today most of the matches, again, at a very positive level.”

The straight sets scoreline failed to tell the true story of Nadal’s roller-coaster win on Center Court. Taking on Zandschulp, a player who burst onto the main scene last year by reaching the US Open quarter-finals as a qualifier, the 22-time major champion engaged in a match of two halves. Nadal looked on the verge of an easy victory after breaking once in the first set, twice in the second and storming to a 5-2 in the third. However, the Dutchman refused to go down without a fight by displaying his best tennis of the match to draw level. 

Now engaged in his first real test, Nadal was under intense pressure to close it out in three. If he didn’t there would have been an inevitable delay for the roof to come on due to poor light. If that occurred, there would be less than two hours of play left before the 11pm curfew began.

Nevertheless, Nadal didn’t need the roof as he squeezed through the tiebreaker. After squandering three consecutive match points, he prevailed on his fourth with the help of a lob that triggered Zandschulp to smash the ball out. 

Nadal is through to his 47th major quarter-final and is only the third man in the Open Era to do so at Wimbledon after celebrating his 36th birthday. In total, he has won 309 main draw matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

In the last eight, the Spaniard has a shot of revenge when he takes on Taylor Fritz who ended his 20-match winning streak earlier this year in Indian Wells. During that match, Nadal had a rib injury and he had beaten the American earlier that month in Mexico. 

“That last match (in Indian Wells) was zero because I had a stress fracture on my rib, and it was difficult to learn many things because the pain was terrible playing that match.” He said. 

As for Fritz, he believes their upcoming clash will be at a higher standard given the form both players are currently in. Fritz is currently on a eight-match winning streak after recently claiming the Eastbourne Open title. 

“It’s going to be a lot different match obviously. Indian Wells was kind of crazy with both of us being extremely beaten up before the final. This time I think we’ll get healthier versions of both of us, we’ll see.” Fritz previewed.

The question for nadal, is how healthy is the current version of him really is? Only time will tell. 

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