TENNIS ATP FINALS 2014 – Novak Djokovic d. Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-0. Group A
Q. Did you think it could go so easily after you lost the first two games? Also, aren’t you surprised that eight matches lasted only 8 hours and 26 minutes, which means each match lasts 63.2 minutes on average?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: And the games (smiling)?
Well, I definitely didn’t expect but hoped that I can, again, play this way and the match result can go this way for me.
Obviously Stan wasn’t feeling his best today, made a lot of unforced errors, low percentage of first serves in.
On my side, I just played very solid from all over the court. I think I covered the court very well, got a lot of balls back, mixed up the pace, got him off the comfort zone.
That’s something that was part of my game plan. After I lost the first two games, you know, obviously I didn’t start so great. I thought he played very well the first two games. But, again, I wasn’t frustrated. I kept my calm.
After that, was a really amazing performance.
Q. Do you have any explanation for the one sidedness of the matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t. I don’t. You know, obviously I can’t speak in the name of the other players, so I don’t know how they feel on the court.
I know that I’ve been playing very well this week and hope that I can continue this way.
Now, of course, since it’s the tournament of the best eight players in the world, people, fans, the crowd expect to see a little bit more excitement and longer matches. So far we didn’t have any three setters.
I think that’s going to change as the tournament progresses.
Q. With how well you’ve played in these first two matches, is it all wanting to hope that you can somehow sustain this level for the rest of your career, just this moment, playing like you are now?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there are some tournaments around the world that I play, like this one or Beijing, that I wish all the tournaments are played in one place, the way you feel on those courts.
I think every player has his own preferred conditions where he loves to play, country, surface, so forth. But tennis is a unique sport. It’s very demanding because it has a variety of different surfaces, conditions that affect the ball’s bounce, humidity, so forth. All these different effects, factors that can influence the play.
So I played very, very well last couple of years in certain tournaments, including this one. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I will play this way in some others. But I will try, no question about it.
Consistency is always one of my top priorities because, you know, I know with consistency and good health I can give myself a chance to be No. 1 of the world.
Q. There’s a lot of qualification scenarios on Friday. How much do you get involved with that? Do you let someone tell you what you have to do on Friday or do you sit there with your calculator trying to work it out?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Nobody needs to tell me I need to win. So I think I know that myself already. That’s what I try to do. That’s why I’m here. I try to win every match I play on. That’s the kind of approach I will have on Friday.
Q. I’ve been fascinated by the wide range of opinions regarding the court conditions from pundits on the TV, to the players. What is your assessment on the court conditions, speed, ball speed?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the conditions, comparing to the other years in this same arena, have not changed. They’re more or less the same. They’re different, obviously, from playing outdoors.
But if I can assess the conditions? Well, the ball bounce, on the practice courts and on the center court, is different. I think on center court we have I think a medium height of the bounce of the ball, just enough. I think it’s a medium speed, as well, the surface itself, which is suitable to my style of the game. That’s why I enjoy it, enjoy playing on it.
Q. As you know, Janko Tipsarevic has been back on court practicing with some of your other friends the last week or so. What is it going to mean for you personally, but also for Serbia’s Davis Cup team, to have him and Viktor back regularly on tour next year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all, I’m glad. I’ve been in touch with Janko. I know he’s been starting to practice tennis, as well. I don’t know who had the worst time, Viktor or Janko in the last year or more. I mean, Viktor with the suspension of one year or Janko with injury that took him off the tour now already more than a year. It’s a really tough time for both of them.
I’m glad that Viktor managed to come back to almost top 100, he’s going to play in Australian Open main draw, which was his goal when he game back in July.
And Janko, as he says, after 12, 13 months of torture, in a way, really mentally, emotionally, didn’t know which opinion of the doctor is valid and which is not, who is right, who is wrong. So after everything, few surgeries, he’s now finally feeling better and better, and recovery is going well.
So hopefully we can see him in the first week of the season. That’s what I wish.
Q. Would you like to see this tournament stay in London past 2015? If so, why?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I expressed my opinion about this. I think this tournament here in London has had an immense success in this, what, six years. Next year is the seventh year. It was five years with extension of two, now possibility of more.
I mean, definitely London has proven to be one of the best cities for tennis. People have a culture of tennis here because of Wimbledon and so forth.
But I believe that this World Tour Finals is a kind of tournament that should be, I would say, exposed to more cities around the world. We should allow more cities to have the organization of this event, the best eight players in the world. In this way we can promote the tennis in certain areas and so forth.
Now I understand the different points of view, different perspectives, people have different opinions. I understand they keep it here because of the success. But, again, I heard many cities who want to not just pay big money to have it, but also have a big interest.
I’m sure that many cities around Europe, South America, Asia, would have a lot of success in having this event.
Me, personally, again with nothing against London and so forth, I enjoy this tournament very much, and as I say it’s a success, but it should be moved more often.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
Love him, or hate him. But respect him.
No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.
Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.
Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.
DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER
Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.
It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.
Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.
A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE
At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.
The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.
Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.
THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE
Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.
Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.
The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
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