TENNIS ATP FINALS 2014 – Novak Djokovic d. Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-2. Group A
Q. Just a few words about Novak, if you can, sealing the year end No. 1 spot today.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, definitely he deserves to win. There was no question about it. He just secure his spot for the No. 1 player in the world. I think it just show how great he is, how well he played during the whole season. Yeah, that’s it.
I mean, there was not much doubts that the match could go the other way. There was nothing the way I can challenge him better than this.
Q. A little disappointing end of the year, but what is your opinion of having this event move to another city in the future or staying here more years?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Let’s separate the question a little bit. Yes, the season was solid, was very good. Was another year to finish in top eight, that’s great. The other one is the last week of the season was terrible. That’s how it is.
If moving or not, really I’m probably not the one who can decide that and can have the powerful word.
I think it’s been already pretty a while here. Who knows. Maybe the change can bring something else, you know, bring some new spectators or just a different part of the world.
But I think it’s quite still open in that. But there is definitely nothing that we can criticize that we are missing or they are not doing well here.
Q. Can you say anything about why it’s so hard for players to stay in the matches once they fall behind?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, I don’t know what’s the explanation. But there could be also something about the surface, you know. I’ve been asked many times if it’s the same or not. But it’s always hard to judge when you go during the year, and every single indoor tournament is a bit different.
It’s hard to remember how was the surface one year ago when you play 15 tournaments in between on the hard courts.
But I find the court very tricky, very challenging. It doesn’t allow you for any mistakes. In my word, I think it’s very slow. You know, for us who wants to hit the serve and try to play aggressive, it’s very difficult. So that’s why we kind of struggle with that.
You facing the best players in the world. So when you put these things together, then the scissors opens too much and then it creates the scores how it is.
Q. Marin Cilic said the other day how tough playing Djokovic in the first match of the tournament. You played him in the last match of the round robin. Do you think it’s even tougher to handle because you are under pressure to try to many games as you could?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, you are under pressure from the beginning of the tournament, no matter if it’s the first or last match. If you play Novak first or last, it’s pretty much the same. There is not much difference.
Especially here, you know, he’s been fighting for being No. 1 in the world. This match just secures him that. Really, I don’t see a big difference between the first or last.
Yeah, I mean, it’s extremely tough to play him.
Q. Talk a little bit about your off season, what you’re going to be working on. Is it an important one for you to try to make some big changes or not?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, it’s hard to say ‘big changes’. First of all, there is going to be time just to get myself rest, prepared, relaxed. You know, that’s the first step to try to start it all over again.
Then my main goal definitely is going to be, I would say, fitness and movement. It’s still becoming more and more important in the game.
No matter how challenging are those guys, it’s always very important how my game is. If I’m able to move well, hitting the ball nice and clean, which goes very well together, then that’s the beginning of the success. So that’s going to be definitely the start up.
Yeah, I mean, follow up on the other things, as well. You know, I think it’s too soon just now to talk what’s going to be my plans in off season basically like what to work on and what to do.
But, yeah, I’m going to have, I would say, maybe one week more because the last two years play always Davis Cup. That was extremely tough. But, yeah, the good thing is that I’m not 20 year kid that needs more time, can work on much more things. But there is still a lot to improve.
Q. You’re older than Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. You’re four years younger than the No. 2 player in the world. Where tennis is going, do you think you’re around your prime age? Is your peak still to come? Are you already past your prime given where the sport is now?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, okay, so let’s forget the last one that you said because he is not from this world. That’s really no question about it.
Well, for myself, I take every year as a new challenge. It’s how it is. I just try to push it as far as I can, get myself as close as possible to my limits. Probably you can find it out when you are done. It’s really hard to say in the middle not anymore in the middle of the career, but in the career or during your play if that was the best or if you are still able to bring something more.
I mean, you can always come up with matches that you can handle a different way. You can have more experience and you can still winning a big matches or you can lose them also because of maybe, I don’t know, your fitness is not so great like it was when you were 20 or something like that. Just examples.
But hopefully this is not the case. It’s always a matter of having some goals and having some plans and just go for it.
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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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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