US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “It's fairly simple: I think Marin played great” - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “It's fairly simple: I think Marin played great”

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TENNIS US OPEN – 6th of September 2014. M. Cilic d. R. Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. Can you explain what happened tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great. I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell. If that’s what you mean.

Q. Is this leftover at all from the Monfils match where you had to go so long and so late? Were you tired?

ROGER FEDERER: No. No, I was feeling good, you know. I was feeling fine, you know. I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, you know, I felt like there was a proper match going on. But I think him playing with the lead he played with, you know, no fear and just full-out confidence, which clearly everybody at this point sort of has in the semis of a slam. I think he served great when he had to. I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.

Q. When you lost the first two sets, were you thinking you were going to plot a comeback like the other night?

ROGER FEDERER: I wasn’t as confident this time around, because Marin played more aggressive. He was serving huge. From that standpoint I knew that margins were slim, you know, even though I still believed in my chance. The reaction was there. I did break straight back like I did with Monfils, as well, but I knew probably this comeback would be tougher just because of the risk he was taking and, you know, how big he was serving really.

Q. Was it more his serve or your return that today wasn’t at the best?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, he’s been serving well for some time now. I’m definitely not happy the way I was able to return his serve. I expect better from myself. Especially on his first serve, you know, at least get the feeling like I know what’s going on, I know where it’s coming. Today that didn’t work at all. But, you know, like I said, credit to him. He served big; he served close to the lines. When you do that, there’s only so much you can really do. Then I need to focus on my own service game, what I did well against him in Toronto. I didn’t get broken for all three sets, I think, and for two-and-a-half hours. So today I probably had to manage something similar. But I think he was also playing really well from the baseline, so let’s not only talk about just his serving. From the baseline I think he was hitting the ball very well, as well.

Q. Cilic and Nishikori will be going to their first Grand Slam final. How do you see the future of tennis shaping up?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it’s exciting for the game, you know, to have different faces from time to time. At the same time, I think people still enjoy seeing the guys they have seen for a while or often in the big matches. But I think it’s definitely refreshing to some extent. It’s big for Croatia and big for Japan I guess on some level, especially on sporting terms and tennis terms. Everybody who gets to this stage of this kind of a competition deserves to be there because they have put in the work and they hoped for the break, and this is it for both of them. I hope they can play a good final.

Q. You have been outspoken person about antidoping. Are you at all uncomfortable losing to somebody who only last year was convicted of an antidoping violation?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I’m fine with it. I truly believed he didn’t do anything wrong in the sense that he did it on purpose. Was he stupid maybe? Maybe. You know, yeah. But I feel like I know him well enough, and I don’t think he would ever do it. I don’t quite remember what the circumstances were, but I feel more bad for him than anything else. So for me, when I see him it doesn’t cross my mind in any way. And, no, I think he was becoming the player he is already way before that, so from that standpoint no problem for me.

Q. For you personally in the pursuit of more majors you, how does a day like today and the deeper field perhaps affect your thoughts?

ROGER FEDERER: Not in a big way, you know. I’m just really disappointed after how well I have played this season, especially here also at the tournament. I really felt like I could win this tournament, you know. Obviously that’s not gonna happen. That’s why there is always disappointment. Clearly I’m happy for Marin. I told him so at the net, as well. I’m happy for these guys, you know. But, you know, comes at the cost of me losing, and it’s not so much fun. I’m an athlete. I want to win, you know. So unfortunately wasn’t my day today. Tennis there is so many highlights thankfully, so I have something to do next Friday already again. I’ll be, you know, very preoccupied with that starting right now. And after that I’m going to hopefully play a good end to the season. I don’t know exactly where I’m going to play yet, but I’ll definitely play the indoor season at the end of the year. Qualified for the World Tour Finals, so that’s on my mind as we go along.

Q. You have always prided yourself on the way you have shaken off defeats. How do you think it will be for this one knowing that it’s quite a while for the next major?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, which is good, you know. I’m happy that grass can grow over this, you know, even though I’m not too disappointed, you know, in the sense that I think this match gets forgotten very quickly. I just think conditions were fast; he served great; it was one of those matches like old school tennis. It was just like full swing from all sides: forehand, backhand, serve, return. No holding back from his side. I just couldn’t hang with him for long enough to create some doubts in his mind. Didn’t play good enough overall. That’s the bottom line. I think when a match is like this I think you can actually move on very quickly.

Q. Do you think the results of the match before yours could have an impact, whether it was giving Cilic more belief or sort of unsettling you a little bit? That was a pretty unexpected result.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I thought that Kei was going to have a chance, to be quite honest. He’s playing really well. For me it doesn’t have an effect. Sometimes you watch one of those matches and you feel like, yeah, that’s good or that’s bad or like, ew, I don’t know, it gives me extra energy or kind of deflates me because it’s somebody I care, I don’t know what it is. But I felt pretty much, you know, focused on what I needed to do today. I was fine, you know. Sure, there was a bit of a reset after the rain. I don’t know if that changed anything. I didn’t think so. I felt like I had enough energy and I was ready to go. Because I remember how I went out against Granollers. I was a bit flat in the beginning and then I came back the second rain delay and was full of energy. So I really made sure that I was ready to go, and so there was nothing I could have done different really in my preparation.

Q. I will not see you before next Thursday. Davis Cup against Italy semifinal. What do you expect from Switzerland? How important is for you? What do you think will happen in that match? 5-0 for Switzerland?

ROGER FEDERER: 3-0 is enough for us, but if you want 5 we can make it 5, you know. (Laughter.) No, as long as we win, the rest — it doesn’t matter who wins and how we win as long as we do. Obviously I think we are the favorites, which is always a nice feeling to be. So 18,000 people in Switzerland is something very special. I think it’s going to be record crowd for Swiss, you know, Swiss tennis crowd. I’m looking forward to be playing at home, especially after the run I have had as of late, you know. I think people are quite excited to come see Stan and myself play, regardless of who it is against. Neighboring country I think adds something special to it. I have had some memorable ties against Italians in the past. For me it was the first tie I ever played as a player in ’99 against Sanguinetti and all those guys. I’m happy we have a chance to play all the Italians again.

Q. How important it is to get an 18th Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, not to my life. I don’t need it to be more happy or anything. But the moment itself, it would mean a lot, you know. I keep working hard to win titles on the tour, not just No. 18. I was very happy to get to No. 80 the other week, so that was huge for me. You know, I’ll give it a go again in Australia; hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It’s been one of my most consistent slams. I hope to, you know, get another chance at it. I can’t do more than try really hard, which I’m doing.

ATP

The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter

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By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

 

We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

PositionPlayerCountryPts 
1DjokovicSerbia11540
2MedvedevRussia8640
3ZverevGermany7840
4TsitsipasGreece6540
5RublevRussia5150
6NadalSpain4875
7BerrettiniItaly4568
8RuudNorway4160
9HurkaczPoland3706
10SinnerItaly3350
11Auger-AliassimeCanada3308
12NorrieGB2945
13SchwartzmanArgentina2625
14ShapovalovCanada2475
15ThiemAustria2425
16FedererSwitzerland2385
17GarinChile2353
18KaratsevRussia2351
19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6820
2NadalSpain6020
3RuudNorway5820
4TsitsipasGreece5550
5DjokovicSerbia4820
6Auger-AliassimeCanada4195
7MedvedevRussia4065
8RublevRussia3930
9FritzUSA3355
10HurkaczPoland2905
11RuneDenmark2888
12ZverevGermany2700
13Carreno BustaSpain2495
14NorrieGB2445
15SinnerItaly2410
16BerrettiniItaly2375
17ShapovalovCanada2105
18CilicCroatia2075
19TiafoeUSA2000
20KhachanovRussia1990

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?

BEST RANKING

Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match

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Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

 

2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.


Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.


Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals

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Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

 

Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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