TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 24th of January 2015. N.Djokovic d. F.Verdasco 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. An interview with Novak Djokovic
Q. How important was it to win that first set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was turning point probably winning the tiebreaker as close as it was. I thought I served very well, allowed myself to have a lot of free points in the first serve. What I could have done better I thought was just capitalizing on the opportunities, breakpoint opportunities, especially in the first set. But again, credit to him for playing well, serving very 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. I thought it was a good match. It was a big challenge for both of us. He was a former top-10 player. Somebody that loves playing on the big stage, a powerful game. I’m glad to go through in straight sets.
Q. He said he was particularly impressed with your serving, you were varying it a lot. Are you pleased with how you served?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I’m pleased. 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 in the second set. And then couple of the last serve, my service games in the third set where he get 15- 30, Love-30. But because I served well, I think that’s what helped me to get out of the trouble in these big moments.
Q. Gilles Muller next. Somewhat surprising given what’s gone on before. What do you know about Gilles?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he’s been on the tour for many years. Best junior in the world. He’s got a great serve, lefty. So I think the match tonight will help me in the next one, as well. He has a similar game, except he serves on volleys and he comes to the net. He has a nice slice serve. That’s his favorite. But he struggled a little bit with injuries last couple years, but I think last six months has been playing some of his best tennis. Finals in Sydney. Now fourth round winning against some top players. Winning against 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.
Q. Sounds like you know him quite well. Is that the case?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s my job to know my colleagues, tennis players, especially if I get to play them. So I do my homework.
Q. But you’ve never played him before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I never played him.
Q. Is it strange that someone from that generation, you’re still finding people you haven’t played before?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s something that is obviously a challenge for me, to come to the court and play the way I want to play against somebody I never played against before. But that can be also dangerous because of the uncertainty of what he’s going to do in some moments. That’s why I said I’ve got to do my homework, sit down with the team, prepare myself well with the video analysis.
Q. What did you make of the marriage proposal in the crowd tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Great. Beautiful, very important moment for him and for her. I’m sure he was very happy when she said yes. He didn’t take no for an answer, I’m sure about that. Yeah, it was great. It was great. I think it happened maybe once prior to this match in my whole career that somebody proposed. It’s nice to see this moment. It’s one of these moments you remember forever. Not just for them, but for everybody who was there. They’re going to spend their life together, so I wish them all the best.
Q. Talk about music. What is your favorite music? Will you offer a song if you win here this year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Some singing for my mom’s birthday. Obviously a special day. I dedicate this win to her. I’m grateful to the crowd for joining in wishing the happy birthday with the Happy Birthday song. It was nice. These are some nice moments. You mentioned Monte-Carlo. Monte-Carlo show is actually one of my favorite parts of the year on the tour. It’s too bad that we don’t have the similar shows in the other tournaments. For those who don’t know, it’s a show that goes on for I think over 20 years now. It’s a tradition. It’s called the Players Show. It’s a show where the players impersonate other players, male and female, personalities. It’s a little theater show. I’ve been taking part in it for the last seven, eight years. Funny moments going on there. I think that the ATP should be able to use that material more even for charity, but to allow people, especially nowadays with digital media, social networks, to see what’s going on there. I mean, some players wouldn’t like to show to the world what they’re doing. I have those moments as well when I was impersonating Jessica Simpson, “These Boots are Made for Walking” in front of my parents, washing the car, you know, having only underwear. You can imagine how that looked like. Had some other times where it was Michael Jackson on the stage, Steven Spielberg. It’s really cool, because you think about anything that comes to your mind. You come up with the idea. There’s music involved, acting, something that players really do enjoy doing that. I know Rafa has been part of it for a while now. It’s fun. It’s all for good laughs.
Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days
The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.
The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.
Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.
There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.
“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”
Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.
Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.
“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.
Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
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