TENNIS ATP FINALS 2014 – Novak Djokovic d. Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-0. Group A
Q. Looks like in terms of number of games, it was your worst defeat on the ATP. Do you have any explanation why matches have been so one sided in this tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I don’t have any explanation. I think it’s a big surprise for everybody. For us also.
It’s so strange because this year everybody before the tournament was expecting some big matches because was more surprise during all the year with me winning Grand Slam, Cilic also, Raonic, Nishikori being there. So everybody was expecting some big match.
But apparently Novak is playing really well. Roger also.
No, it’s strange for everybody to see all those match really quick.
Q. What changed in this match? You had a good start, 2 0. Seemed to go pretty quickly after that.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, really quickly, not ‘pretty’.
For sure, was not my best match, that’s for sure. Also because he’s playing really well. He’s in confidence. He’s not missing much. Today I think it was more about what I was doing. He put me in a position that I think a little bit too much. I’m not really clear what I’m going to do, because he’s doing everything well and he’s returning well.
The serve was not good enough. Then I start to do mistake because here the conditions are really low. His ball is always coming to me and I cannot really mix the spin and try to get higher ball to try to attack him. That’s it.
When he got the break, when he start to be in front in the score, then he’s playing really well because he’s winning so many matches.
Q. You were saying with the top eight here, everybody is expecting great matches. Do you think that expectation is fair? Is the expectation too high in terms of the level that fans or the rest of us expect for this final tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: The expectation, yeah, are right because that’s the top eight, actually nine, players of the year who are playing the best tennis. If you look all the past years, it was always some good match, some tough one, three setter match.
This year is really a big surprise I think for everybody to see those match so quick.
Q. You probably saw the reports in recent weeks about the Italian players that were named in the soccer match fixing investigation in Italy. If this is a concern of yours on the tour in general at the upper level, lower levels?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think we had some few problem in the lower level. Already some guys got caught for that. I think at the top level, I don’t think some player are doing this. I’m pretty sure about that.
You can see in the challenger level, I think it’s more easy to bet. It’s more easy to find place on how to bet on match. That’s important to win or lose.
No, it’s not really something important for me because I’m not doing it.
Q. Roger said the good thing of this system is that even you have a defeat, you can still pass. Do you still have hopes in this tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, you know, for sure. Even if I got killed today, I still have a good chance to qualify. I need to focus for the next match to play Cilic. I know if I can beat him, I have some big, big chance to qualify.
I’m still playing great tennis. I play a great match against Tomas Berdych. I’m practicing well now. I need to accept that match tonight and focus tomorrow to do some good practice and be ready for the last match.
Q. A lot of players talked about what it was like to see you break through to win at a Grand Slam this year, being somewhat of a surprise. What were your thoughts when you saw Cilic win at the US Open, which was a much bigger surprise than you?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know if it was a bigger surprise. But, yeah, for me was a surprise also, like everybody, because he play amazing there, beating Roger in semifinal. I think he played his best match ever.
Yeah, also Nishikori beating Novak was quite a big surprise for me, especially when I played two days before Nishikori in five sets.
Yeah, I think it’s always good to see new player are winning some big tournaments, even if I know that the fans love to see the top guys still being there.
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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