Novak Djokovic - 14th of November 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic – 14th of November 2014

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TENNIS ATP FINALS 2014 – Novak Djokovic d. Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-2. Group A

Q. You obviously looked pretty relieved and pretty happy at the end to get that year end No. 1 ranking. What did it actually feel like on the court when that final point was played?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you described it. It’s a great deal of happiness knowing that what I’ve been through the entire season in order to get to where I am and finish the year as No. 1. As I said on the court, I owe gratitude to my team, to all the people who were next to me.

It’s one of the ultimate challenges in this sport. So I’m very glad to be crowned as No. 1 of the end of the season.

Q. How important is it to you to finish the year as No. 1 compared to a Grand Slam win?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, being No. 1 of the world is the pinnacle of the sport. Winning Grand Slams also, you know, is something that allows you to write the history of this sport.

It’s difficult to say what is more important. But both these goals are always my goals in the beginning of the season. So I’m glad I managed to achieve both. To win a Grand Slam in one season and be No. 1.

Q. Do you still remember your origins as a player? We always talk about the big tournaments. But when you started to play…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with the people who knew tennis and who had knowledge and passion about this sport in our country. There were not many of them because tennis was not a national sport.

The lady that passed away that was a big influence in my life, Jelena Gencic was one of those people, Niki Pilic. The biggest support I had was my family. They’ve been with me from the day one. They believed that I can do it. So they contributed to the success, definitely.

Q. Could you talk about your next matchup against Kei. You beat him easily two weeks ago. Do you think this time it’s going to be a little bit different match?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s obvious that he’s experiencing the best season of his life. He’s top 5 of the world. He’s playing some great tennis. He’s one of the quickest players around. Deservedly he’s in semifinals only on his debut.

I expect a tougher match than it was in Paris, that’s for sure. But, again, the conditions indoor and outdoor, where I lost to him in US Open, are quite different. I’m feeling pretty confident playing now, as well as he. So it’s going to be a good, high class tennis.

Q. You’re No. 1 in the world at the end of the season. You were No. 1 in 2011, in ’12, and now this year, which makes three out of four years. How do you react to this achievement, which is more impressive than being No. 1 just one year?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, one of the highest and most difficult challenges is to be No. 1 nowadays, especially because the tennis has become very competitive in the last five, ten years, very physical. To have a shot at No. 1 of the world, you need to be consistently healthy and successful throughout the year.

Because Nadal and Federer are so good for so many years, they always make you win at least one or two Grand Slams if you eventually want to be No. 1, and of course with consistency, because they’ve been so consistent with their results.

I know how difficult it is. It’s why I’m proud of this achievement.

Q. I was one of the skeptics that thought that the association with Boris Becker wouldn’t work based on his commentary, for instance. But I remember when you won Estoril, you were eager to get a more experienced player on your coaching team. Talked about maybe John McEnroe. Can you tell us how this year went with Boris Becker by your side. Were there any stressful moments? What can you say?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: There were moments up and down, I think as in every relationship between a coach and player. You can’t have it all perfect from the beginning till the end. Especially at the start of the season, it took us three, four months to really understand each other, how we work, how we approach tennis, how we approach life.

It was important to have this chemistry in the relationship privately in order to have the beneficial success on the court, in the practice sessions and in the matches, as well.

It started working from Rome. I felt like that’s where we really clicked. Marian, Boris and I sat down and analyzed what we need to do in order to get this relationship between the three of us the most successful as possible. We decided both were going to be present in Rome and Roland Garros. That helped obviously my relationship with Boris.

Q. Following up your ‘everything happens for a reason’. How do you explain Murray losing 6 Love, 6 1 as they were 11 11 in their head to head? Did you ever go through any crisis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That’s a lot of questions in one question.

Well, I have to disappoint you. I don’t know how to answer on the question of how I would react if I was Murray because I’m not in his shoes and I don’t know how he feels, what he went through.

I know one thing is for sure, that it’s very difficult to kind of keep playing on the highest possible level because of all the expectations and pressures and so forth. For him playing here obviously at home, with the crowd support, it’s an additional pressure.

Roger, on the other hand, is playing some of his best tennis I think since I know him and since I watch him. He changed the racquet last year I think midway through the season.

Okay, few things didn’t go the way they did maybe eight or nine years before that. When you see Roger, you expect him to be top two of the world and win Grand Slams. That didn’t happen last year. He didn’t have such a great year. But this season he’s come back again.

We played amazing finals of Wimbledon. We fight all the way through basically the last few days of the season for No. 1. That proves how good he played over the course of 12 months. He won five, six, seven titles.

I didn’t never count him out. Even last year, people started talking, because they always talk, It’s over, he’s too old, stuff like this. He’s still playing great and he’s proving that, proving everybody wrong.

Q. And your crisis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have no crisis (smiling).

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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