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).
Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory
It will be a match that Australia’s Marc Polmans will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.
The World No.140 looked to be on the verge of victory against Italy’s Stefano Napolitano when leading their match 7-6(3), 6-6(6-5), in the final round of qualifying at the Shanghai Masters. However, disaster struck at the next point when Polmans temper got the better of him and subsequently cost him.
With match point, he approached the net to hit a backhand shot but it ended up in the net. Prompting the frustrated 26-year-old to hit a tennis ball that unfortunately hit the umpire. As a result of that action, he was automatically disqualified from the match which handed Napolitano the victory and a place in the main draw.
It is not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for such an incident. During a 2017 Davis Cup tie between Canada and Great Britain, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified for firing a tennis ball that hit the umpire’s eye. Novak Djokovic was also disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball that accidentally struck a lines judge.
“Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw
a tennis ball while on the grounds of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up),” the 2023 ATP rulebook outlines.
“For purposes of this rule, abuse of balls is defined as intentionally or reckless- ly hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with disregard of the conse- quences.’
“Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine of up to $350 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.”
It is a tough lesson for Polmans to learn. He was on the verge of playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He is currently the 10th highest-ranked Australian player on the ATP Tour and reached the final of a Challenger event in Guangzhou, China last month.
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
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‘He’s Here To Stay’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas Brings Father Back Into Team After Philippoussis Split
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Says Her Priority Is Form, Not Reclaiming No.1 Spot
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
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