TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 23rd of January 2015. A.Seppi d. R.Federer 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. An interview with Andreas Seppi
Q. Did you surprise yourself today?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, of course. You know, to beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me. Of course at the beginning I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis. Yeah, but especially after the first set, then I felt, you know, I am there, I am hitting the ball very well. I start to believe that I can do more. Yeah, then I think very important was the second set tiebreak. And, yeah, it worked out pretty well.
Q. His record against you is very imposing, 10-0. How do you go into a match trying not to think about that?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, I mean, as I said, I went in the court of course to, first of all, enjoy the moment. You don’t play every day on center court, full stadium in a Grand Slam against Roger. I was pretty calm, I have to say, from the beginning. Also in the important moments. Maybe it was the match where I felt more comfortable in my life also with my emotions. I think that help me for sure in the end of the match a lot.
Q. What did he say to you at the end?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, I can’t remember well. But I think he said, Unbelievable last point. Congratulations, something like that.
Q. You had a lead back in 2012 against Djokovic, also up two sets. Did that ever enter your mind when you had the two-set lead against Federer and then maybe lost the third as well?
ANDREAS SEPPI: I wasn’t thinking about anything, I have to say, about this match. As I said, I was very calm. I really enjoyed the atmosphere out there. I was not thinking I’m leading two sets to love or two sets to one. It was going to the end, the match, so just if I could do that any time, it would be great, yeah.
Q. Is it still such a moment to play against Roger Federer compared to five, ten years ago?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah. I mean, especially for me it’s always special moment to play against him. I know him a long, long time. He had so many great results. So step on court against him for me is always something special. Yeah, it’s always different than against anyone else.
Q. What does this win mean for your career? Biggest one so far?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, of course. It’s first time I beat him. I beat once Nadal in Rotterdam when he was 2 in the world. Was also a big win. Against Roger, you know, I never went close. I never had the chance. To have this win in my career, it’s for sure something big, yeah.
Q. Your countryman, Bolelli, played Federer before. Did you get a chance to speak to him and get some advice?
ANDREAS SEPPI: No, not really. I didn’t ask any advices or anything. I mean, it’s tough to ask some advices because, anyway, Roger, you know how he plays. You know him well. I just saw the first set yesterday. I think, yeah, Bolelli played a great set, and the rest I didn’t see. I didn’t talk to him after the match, I have to say.
Q. The way you play, beating him, did it tell you anything about yourself as a player which you didn’t know before?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, of course. Now I know that I can handle also some very difficult moments or some big pressure. Maybe I’m a little bit more mature, you know, on court. Especially, yeah, I know myself a little bit better. Yeah, it’s for sure a big confidence for the next upcoming matches.
Q. Did you feel that playing in the day helped you? Was the court faster? Do you feel like you would have had the same victory if you played in the night session? How different are the sessions?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Actually I like more to play in night session, I have to say. I like more play without sun. It’s not so hot. I mean, for me it’s also better if I play at night, I have to say. But, I don’t know. The conditions were not so hot I think today. Maybe at the beginning, but then during the match was pretty okay. So comparing to maybe yesterday or two days ago, so…
Q. Was it faster?
ANDREAS SEPPI: No, no, no. I don’t think it was faster than the other days. I mean, for sure I like to play on faster surfaces, but I think also he do. So I think, yeah, it’s pretty even.
Q. How about the match point, that shot, how did you see it coming and how highly does it rank on the list of shots you’ve hit?
ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, was for sure a strange shot. At the beginning I thought I couldn’t even reach the ball. Then, yeah, when I hit it, I didn’t saw it going there. I just saw when it bounced in. Was, yeah, for sure one of the important shots of my life.
Q. Have you watch it on video yet?
ANDREAS SEPPI: No, not yet. I will.
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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