US Open: Tough draw for Novak Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Tough draw for Novak Djokovic

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TENNIS US OPEN – World Number 1 Novak Djokovic will face a very tough path in his attempt to reach his fifth consecutive final at Flushing Meadows as he has been drawn in the same quarter as 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka. Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer could face Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter finals and David Ferrer in the semifinal. Diego Sampaolo

 

The Men’s singles draw

The Women’s singles draw

First quarter: Djokovic vs Murray

Novak Djokovic, who won the US Open for the first time in 2011 against Rafa Nadal, will open against Diego Schwartzmann from Argentina in the first round before facing either Gilles Muller or Paul Henry Mathieu in the second round, Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the third round and John Isner in the fourth round. Isner could play against Phillip Kohlschreiber in the third round for the third consecutive year at Flushing Meadows (with the German leading 3-0 in the previous matches in this tournament).

The winner of the possible blockbuster fourth round match between Andy Murray and Jo Wilfred Tsonga could clash against Djokovic in the quarter final. Tsonga beat Djokovic in this month’s Toronto Rogers Cup before beating Roger Federer in the final. Tsonga will open against Juan Monaco in the first round. Murray will face a very tough draw. After his opening match against Robin Haase, the Scotsman could face Radek Stepanek in the second round, Fernando Verdasco in the third round, Tsonga in the fourth round and Djokovic in the quarter final. Djokovic leads 12-8 in the previous head-to-head matches against Murray. They met in four Grand Slam finals at the 2011 Australian Open, at the 2012 US Open, at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon in 2013.

Second quarter: Wawrinka vs Raonic

Djokovic could face a potential semifinal against Stan Wawrinka in a possible re-match of this year’s Australian Open quarter finals. Wawrinka, who reached the semifinal last year at the US Open, will play against Czech rising star World Number 76 Jiri Vesely in a very interesting first round and either Thomas Bellucci or Nicholas Mahut in the second round and Jeremy Chardy in the third round. In the fourth round Stan could play against either Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios, a surprising Wimbledon quarter finalist this year, or Mickhail Youzhny. Wawrinka might meet the winner of a possible fourth round match between Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.

Third quarter: Ferrer vs Berdych

The third quarter of the draw features two interesting first round matches like Marin Cilic vs Marcos Baghdatis and Kevin Anderson vs Pablo Cuevas. One of these players could be the third round rival of David Ferrer.

Ferrer might play against Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals. The Czech player will open against Lleyton Hewitt before possible clashes against Martin Klizan in the second round and Santiago Giraldo in the third round.

After reaching the Master 1000 final in Cincinnati Ferrer has moved up to Number 5th in the ATP Ranking and is the fourth seed following the withdrawal of defending champion Rafa Nadal who has been forced to pull out because of a wrist injury.

A possible second round match in this half of the draw could be played between Ernests Gulbis and Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem who train together under the guidance of coach Gunther Bresnik. If Gulbis overcomes this second round hurdle, he could meet Feliciano Lopez in what could be a spectacular third round clash. The winner of this third round match could play against Berdych in the fourth round.

Fourth quarter: Federer vs Dimitrov

Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion and six-time US Open finalist Roger Federer will open his US Open campaign against Marinko Matosevic. He might meet Sam Groth in the second round, Croatian big server Ivo Karlovic in the third round and Italian Fabio Fognini in the fourth round. Federer’s possible rivals in the quarter finals could be either this year’s Wimbledon and Rome semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who won in Acapulco, Bucharest and the Queen’s this year, or Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet could take on Gael Monfils in a possible all-French third round match.

Federer is in very good form as he reached the final in Toronto (losing to Tsonga) and won the Cincinnati title against David Ferrer last Sunday.

Federer and Ferrer could renew their rivalry in a possible semifinal at Flushing Meadows. Federer has never lost against the Spaniard in their previous 16 head-to-head matches. Ferrer will start against Damir Dzumhur in the first round and either Bernard Tomic or Dustin Brown, a German player of Jamaican origin who plays a very spectacular tennis and beat Rafa Nadal last June at Halle.

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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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