Novak Djokovic - 16th of November 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic – 16th of November 2014

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TENNIS ATP FINALS 2014 – Novak Djokovic at the press conference.

 

Q. When did you find out that Roger wasn’t going to be playing? How did that all work?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: During the doubles match, that’s when I found out. Well, I did my warmup, obviously prepared for the battle, prepared for a great match as it was anticipated, as the people expected it to be. It was the last match of the season. I was ready to give it all. I’m sure he was ready, too, to give it all if he could.

I spoke to him. As I understand, he retired a match maybe three times in his career in over a thousand matches. You cannot blame him. I’m sure he would play World Tour Finals if he could.

This is probably the first time in the history that this happens. It’s very awkward situation to talk about it, to be honest, today.

You never like to win, especially these big matches against big rivals, with the retirement. But that’s the way it is.

Q. It’s not the same situation, but many times you had Davis Cup, US Open. It’s too much, you need more rest, but it’s impossible. How can you solve this?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the schedule is such that it doesn’t really go into the favor of the players who are doing really well in Davis Cup, let’s say, and who are playing in the later stages of all the major events.

I’ve experienced that in my own skin in last couple of years. I did experience a few times some bad injuries that kept me away from the tour because I’ve played so many matches.

But, again, I’m not the first or the last player to have this schedule. It’s the way it is for now. We have to deal with it.

Q. Can you talk us through how the exhibition with Andy came about. Were you asked to do it? Did you know right away you were playing Andy? How did you feel about doing it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I was as surprised as probably you guys were when you heard the news. I was in my locker room. I was doing the routine that I do always before my matches. I received the news, you know, during the doubles.

Then we started talking about possibilities, what we can do in order to save this day in some way. Because the people were already there watching. The stadium was already full. They wanted to see some singles match.

Luckily Andy was in London. I want to thank him, you know, for coming out and making an effort. It really is an effort. I know how it feels when you finish the season, as he did on Thursday. Probably the last thing he’s thinking about is tennis now. He wants to rest after a long season. He receives a call. He comes out and plays an hour. Now he’s still playing doubles.

It’s very genuine from him. I tried also to play. I thought we played on a good level. Hope the crowd enjoyed because there was not much you can do really. On the ceremony, as well, I didn’t feel so comfortable again receiving that trophy.

Of course, I know that I’ve had a great season and I’m very proud to be holding the trophy. But the way things happened today was definitely awkward.

Q. It may not have mattered with Roger, but is there any sense to the idea of maybe putting the semis in one session, not having that long gap, having one finish much later than the earlier one, in terms of fairness going forward?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You have the fair point there. That can be a solution because there is a gap. Usually in the group stage matches, the schedule is such that you play one singles match at 2:00, one at 8:00. You have doubles before those singles matches. There is always probably two, three hours’ gap when there are no matches on center court.

I think they can decrease that gap. I agree with you.

Q. There were a lot of lopsided matches through the tournament. The matches yesterday were close. Now there’s no final. Probably a lot of fans that had higher expectations. Is it fair for people to be disappointed?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I understand people. I understand speculations about, you know, the whole week in general, and what has happened. We had probably two, maybe three matches that went the distance, that went over an hour.

But this is something you cannot predict. Obviously this is World Tour Finals. I’m sure that every single player, especially the ones that were losing those matches, you know, in an hour, didn’t do that on purpose. You know, this is sports. It’s the way it is.

In individual sports, you’re on the court by yourself. If you’re having a bad day, nobody can substitute you, nobody can help you.

Not many times has happened throughout the history that you have this amount of matches finish under an hour, around an hour. But, you know, again, it’s not something that is going to happen, I’m sure, every year.

Q. If you were in the same shoes as Roger, obviously you’re not in his body, going into a Davis Cup final, his first, little bit of something going on, can you imagine what you might have done in the same situation?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, you know, the stats are saying clearly that he is one of those players that would compete and would always fight if he can. He has had, what, three retirements in his entire career.

I don’t think he was calculating and trying to save his body for Davis Cup final. I’m sure that that wasn’t the case. This is probably one of the biggest matches of the year for him, as well as for me. You know, you have Grand Slams that are the pinnacle of the sport, and you have World Tour Finals. Then you have of course Davis Cup, 1000 events, there are many tournaments, but you know this is probably the biggest match of the season next to the final of a Grand Slam.

I’m sure if he could have, he would be on the court. I mean, I spoke to him. Also he doesn’t know. It’s a question mark for the Davis Cup final, as well.

Q. I would like to talk to you about this No. 1 achievement. You are 27 now. Do you know what will be the next goal in your career? Can we consider the French Open will be your main goal for the future? Do you think about becoming a legend being No. 1 five times?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, right now I’m at my pinnacle in the career. I physically feel very fit. I’m very motivated to keep on playing on a very high level. So as long as it’s like that, I’m going to try to use these years in front of me to fight for No. 1 of the world and to fight for, you know, biggest title in the sport.

Roland Garros is and was and still will be, you know, one of the biggest goals that I have. I’ll keep on trying, of course. Any Grand Slam win is another page in the history books of this sport. Of course, being No. 1 is also one of the biggest challenges and biggest goals a player can have.

Q. You’ve spoken at several of the press conferences this year and last about your personal preference to see this tournament move around the world. Do you think one of the advantages that London has is that someone like Andy Murray is here, there’s so many former legends that are around or it’s easy for them to travel to the tournament?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don’t think that traveling is an extremely important matter when it comes to this tournament. Of course, London is one of the most important cities in the world. Of course, it’s good when you have a tournament here. For tennis, as well, because there is a long tennis tradition and history in this country. People love tennis. They show their respect and appreciation to the players by coming in big numbers for Wimbledon and for World Tour Finals.

I want to say it again. The reason why I was saying I wanted this tournament to move around is because I feel like this is big leverage for ATP to use as one of the ways to promote the sport. Best eight players in the world, you know, what more can you ask for if you are a fan of tennis and the sport. I’m sure this is one of the biggest events that we have in sport in general because tennis is a very global sport.

I’m not saying that because I think it’s not supposed to be here. In contrary, I have only praises for this event over the years. Since 2009, it has been an incredible success in this city. The people would say, Why then change it? Why move it around?

But I think still you need to give the opportunity to other big cities, maybe some new markets, growing markets, emerging markets that start to emerge and like tennis, like China, Middle East, that can have facilities and have possibilities to host the event like this.

You know, America has always been, again, a big market for tennis. So there are places. I know that they’re negotiating the extension here, or if they want to move this event around. I just wish that this event can and should be used the way it’s used here in London. It deserves to be one of the biggest tennis events and sporting events in the world.

Q. To end on a lighter note, I guess you’re going back to domestic duties with the baby. How hands on are you? What surprised you the most with the baby and your new role as a father?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m very hands on. My wife told me what’s expecting me. I’ve seen it before I came to Paris and London. I’m glad during the stay in London for these 10 days I got a lot of sleep, because that will not be the case from now.

I’m looking forward to it. It’s the most beautiful feeling that I experience and my wife have experience as well holding a baby in your arms. That will be a lot of that without the racquet in next couple weeks for me.

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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