US Open: Roger Federer and Michael Jordan trending at the US Open - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Roger Federer and Michael Jordan trending at the US Open

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TENNIS US OPEN – Sometimes it is easy to forget that Roger Federer is human; that even the tennis deity himself can be awestruck by other sports legends such as Michael Jordan. It is surprising to know that prior to the first day of their year’s US Open, these two greats had not met despite being huge members of the Nike endorsement family. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw

 

US Open: All the interviews, results, draws and OoP

Sometimes it is easy to forget that Roger Federer (2) is human; that even the tennis deity himself can be awestruck by other sports legends such as Michael Jordan. It is surprising to know that prior to the first day of their year’s US Open, these two greats had not met despite being huge members of the Nike endorsement family. Nonetheless, the mutual respect and adoration for each other was apparent for all to see. Jordan was on hand to watch Federer’s opening round match against Marinko Matosevic and Federer was wearing special Air Jordan’s tennis shoes. It was all great fun for the fans but this is the US Open, people were there to see Federer play and the crowd was definitely all for Federer as he moved passed Matosevic in straight sets 6-3 6-4 7-64.

Federer opened the match with an easy service hold and then set about trying to break the Matosevic serve. It appeared as though he was pushing a bit too much for this early break as he made careless errors and mistimed his shots. Matosevic was gaining confidence as he began mixing up his game by serving and volleying more than this usual pattern. Federer soon found his bearings in the match and got the crucial break in the 8th game when Matosevic double faulted on break point. Federer then quickly served out the set 6-3. In the 2nd set, Federer continued with more of the same and got another break of serve at 4-3 and then consolidated for 5-3. Matosevic serving to stay in the set, fought off several set points to hold. Federer who was having a good serving day, closed it out 6-4.

The match looked to be near over when Federer broke Matosevic in the 7th game of the 3rd set for a 4-3 lead. However, the Swiss was unable to hold serve to consolidate the break. Matosevic continued to mix it up on court and his efforts soon paid off as he broke Federer for the first time in the match to level the set 4-4. This got the crowd’s attention for prior to this moment most the crowd’s focus was clearly divided between the match and their own private conservations. However, instead of the incessant chatter throughout the match, the crowd was now dialled for each point in hushed tones. Matosevic and Federer held serve for 5-5 and the crowd edged Federer on to break in the 11th game. Federer could not convert on the break point and had to serve to stay in the set down 5-6. Federer held to force the tiebreaker.

In the breaker, Matosevic got the early lead up 3-1. The crowd was very concerned with the state of things now. About ten minutes prior, Federer looked poised to close out the match but now, it looked as though Matosevic was going to take a set off Federer. Not one to disappoint willingly his beloved New York City fans, Federer lifted his game to win 6 of the next 7 points in the breaker to take the match 6-3 6-4 7-64 in just over 2 hours. This was a good win for the Swiss as his serving statistics continue to be impressive. Federer had 10 aces, 1 double fault, got 69% of his 1st serves, winning 88% of those points and 56% on his 2nd serve. He had 41 winners to 28 errors compared to Matosevic who had 26 winners to 44 errors. However, Federer’s low break point conversion rate remains problematic. He only broke the Australian 3 times in the match despite having 14 opportunities to do so. Nonetheless, Federer is happy with the 1st round win. He will play another Australian, Sam Groth in the 2nd round.

Michael Jordan celebrating with team Federer box by Art Seitz

Michael Jordan celebrating with team Federer by Art Seitz

After the match, Federer explained his admiration for Jordan “[H]is longevity, the way he made it look easy, his will to win, wanting to be the best, delivering under pressure, being a superstar in a team sport, carrying his team for so many years. There’s so many things that he did well and represented the game really nicely, I thought. That’s why he also became my idol.” With this newfound friendship, one is such to look out for Roger Federer and Michael Jordan sightings a la the Federer/Tiger Woods bromance of several years ago.

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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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