AO2015: Djokovic through to the fourth round - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Djokovic through to the fourth round

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TENNIS AO2015 – Novak Djokovic beat Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 6-4 to get through to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the ninth consecutive year but the four-time Melbourne champion had to face a tough challenge when he had to fight back from 3-5 in the first set tie-break. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Djokovic earned a break point in the first set but Verdasco managed to hold his serve. There were no breaks in the first set which came down to the tie-break where Verdasco got a mini-break to take a 5-3 lead but Djokovic broke back as Verdasco made a double fault. At 6-5 Djokovic earned a set point but Verdasco saved it with an ace. Djokovic clinched a hard-fought first set with 10-8 on his fourth set point when Verdasco made a backhand error.

Djokovic broke serve in the second game of the second set before fending off two break points in the following game with three aces to go up 3-0. The second set went on serve until the eighth game when Nole earned two break point opportunities but Verdasco saved them. Djokovic broke serve in the fifth game as Verdasco made a backhand error en route to sealing the win in straight sets.

Djokovic could not convert on 12 of his 14 break point chances

It was a turning point winning the tie-break as close as it was. I thought I served very well and allowed myself to have a lot of free points in the first serve. What I could have done better was just to capitalize on on the break point opportunities. But credit to him for playing well, serving well, especially down the T. It’s hard when somebody serves 215 down the T on the line, you can’t do much about it. It was a good challenge for both of us. He was a former top-10 player. Somebody that loves playing on the big stage, a powerful game.I am glad to go through in straight sets. I am pleased with how I served.I didn’t give him too many of the similar serves. I changed the pace, the angles. I tried to go for accuracy, vary with the serve, not give him rhythm. He had a couple of opportunities. I think the closest he was was love-40 n the second set. Then in couple of the last serves in the third set where he got 15-30, love-30 in my service games but I served well and this helped me to get out of the trouble in these big moments”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic has always thrived at Melbourne Park where he won four titles in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and has always played his best tennis here.

It’s a great confidence booster if you are on the court if you have great memories and you won the tournament four times. It’s not any tournament. It’s a Grand Slam, one of the four most important events in our sport. I am always trying to have the great performances I had over the years in the back of my mind. I try to use that to my advantage”

Djokovic will take on Gilles Muller from Luxemburg in the fourth round who beat John Isner 7-6 7-6 6-4. Muller has advanced to the fourth round in a Grand Slam since losing to Rafa Nadal in the 2011 US Open. It will be the first match between Djokovic and Muller.“Gilles has been on the tour for many years. He has a great lefty serve. I think the match tonight will help me in the next one as well. He has a similar game, except from the fact that he serves on volleys and he comes to the net. He has a nice slice serve. That’s his favourite. But he struggled a little bit with injuries in the last couple of years. I think that in the last six months he has been playing some of his best tennis. He reached the fourth round winning against some top players (Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta). Winning against John Isner in straight sets is never easy. He has done that, so he deserves respect. I need to be obviously very alert and hopefully I can return well, which is going to be one of the keys of the match

australian-open-2015-outfit-nishikori-150x84In the other top matches of the third round Saturday’s programme Kei Nishikori fought back from a set down to edge Steve Johnson with 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-2 6-3 after two hours and 26 minutes. Nishikori broke serve early in the first set but the US player broke back at 3-3. Nishikori made nine unforced errors in the first set before losing the tie-break 7-9. Nishikori turned around the match by taking two breaks in both the second and the third set to go up 2-1. The Japanese star got another break to seal the win.

The 2014 US Open runner-up converted on seven of his ten break point chances. Nishikori will take on David Ferrer who overcame a hard-fought battle to battle past Giles Simon in four sets with 6-2 7-5 5-7 7-6 (7-4) after 3 hours and 37 minutes in a re-match of last year’s third round clash at the US Open won by the Frenchman.

The US drought in Melbourne continues as there are no US players left in the fourth round.

David FerrerFerrer broke serve three times en route to clinching the opening set in 34 minutes. Simon dropped serve early in the second set but he broke back before taking the 5-4 lead. The Frenchman was broken again at 5-5. Ferrer sealed the second set.

Ferrer broke serve in the sixth game and served for the match at 5-3 in the third set before Simon reeled off three consecutive games to force the match to the fourth set. The Spanish player, semifinalist in Melbourne in 2011 and 2013, served for the match but he wasted a 5-1 lead in the fourth set when Simon won five consecutive games to go up 6-5. Ferrer held serve to force the match to the tie-break which featured seven mini-breaks. Simon dropped four service game to trail 2-6.The Frenchman saved two match points but Ferrer claimed the win with 7-4.

Reigning Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka claimed a 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen to set up a fourth round match against Guilerrmo Garcia Lopez who beat Vasek Pospisil from Canada 6-2 6-4 6-4. Wawrinka got his first break in the ninth game of the first set at 4-4 before a double break to cruise to 4-0 in the second set. Nieminen broke serve early in the third set but he dropped his serve. Nieminen served to stay in the match at 4-5 but Wawrinka got the break to love to seal the win. The defending champion hit 55 winners to 39 unforced errors

Garcia Lopez trails 3-4 in the previous head-to-head matches but claimed the last head-to-head clash against the Swiss in the first round at last year’s Roland Garros.

wawrinka-australian-open-2015-150x93I lost against him in the first round at the Roland Garros last year. We had some tough battles in the past. It will depend on me, the way I am going to play, the way I am going to find my game to be aggressive, because I need to make my game”, said Wawrinka.

Milos Raonic, runner-up to Roger Federer in the Brisbane final earlier this year, converted on five of his 14 break points to beat Benjamin Becker on his fourth match point with 6-4 6-3 6-3 as the German made his double fault. Raonic, who has been broken only once in the tournament, will take on Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. Lopez beat Jerzy Janowicz 7-6 (7-6) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after an exciting match. There were 11 break points in the first set (7 for Lopez and 4 for Janowicz). Feliciano cruised to a 3-0 lead but Janowicz fought back to draw level to 3-3. The first came daown to the tie-break which featured six mini-breaks. Lopez clinched it after the Polish player committed a double vault at 7-6. In the second set Janowicz earned five break points but Lopez saved them and took the 2-0 lead with a 6-4 win. In the third set Lopez faced a break point at 3-2 Janowicz but the Pole failed to convert it. Lopez won the tie-break with 7-3.

Last year I made my first quarter final and I followed it up with my first semifinal at Wimbledon, I have a better understanding of how to deal with things, a better understanding of how to play second weeks. The tournament starts in the second week of the semis. It’s time to buck down.”

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Nick Kyrgios Admits Assaulting Former Girlfriend But Avoids Prosecution

The tennis star says he ‘deeply regrets’ how he reacted during an argument with his former partner.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios will not be charged with assault despite pleading guilty to shoving over his former girlfriend following an argument. 

 

The Wimbledon finalist attended court on Friday after he was accused by his former partner, Chiara Passari, of assaulting her during an incident that took place on January 10th 2021. Kyrgios was initially charged following an argument which took place outside of Passari’s apartment in the inner-city Canberra suburb of Kingston. 

At a hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court, it was revealed that Kyrgios’ ex-girlfriend was standing in front of an Uber car door which prevented him from closing it before he pushed her over. When she fell to the ground, he was heard saying ‘seriously.’ In the minutes leading up to what happened, Kyrgios told Passari “leave me the f*** alone” and to “just f***ing piss off” when he was asked to get out of the car and calm down. He had called for an Uber ride following their argument. 

Passari, who didn’t report the incident to the police until 10 months after it happened, suffered a grazed knee and hurt her shoulder as a result of her fall, according to her legal filing. Kyrgios apologized for his actions two days later when the two met at a Canberra cafe. Unknown to him at the time, that conversation was recorded by Passari. The two continued their relationship for some months before breaking up. 

Magistrate Beth Campbell has ruled in Kyrgios’ favour despite him owning up to his actions. In her verdict, Campbell said the seriousness of the matter was ‘low’ and the tennis star was not likely to re-offend again. 

“You acted in the heat of the moment,” she said.
“I am dealing with you in the same way I would deal with any young man in this court. You are a young man who happens to hit a tennis ball particularly well.”

During the hearing, evidence was heard from Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, who said his mental health issues were ‘recurrent’ and he has suffered from thoughts of self-harm. Although Borestein says his condition has improved in recent times. Furthermore, Kyrgios’ lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, said there was “a relationship between the mental health and the offending – even though he no longer suffers it to the same extent today.”

In a statement issued following the court’s decision, Kyrgios said he reacted ‘in a way he regretted’ and apologized for his actions. He went on to attribute what happened to his mental health condition at the time. 

“I respect today’s ruling and I am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,” he said.
“I was not in a good place when this happened and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I am sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.
“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I have found that getting help and working on myself has allowed me to feel better.”

Before his guilty plea, Kyrgios had argued that the charge should be dropped on the grounds of his mental health but that appeal was withdrawn when the court found that he is not currently suffering from a major depressive illness. 

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