Novak Djokovic: “Tonight there was not much I could complain about. From the first game till the last I played the way I wanted” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “Tonight there was not much I could complain about. From the first game till the last I played the way I wanted”

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 28th of January 2015. N.Djokovic d. M.Raonic 7-6, 6-4, 6-2. An interview with Novak Djokovic

 

Q. If he had won the first set it’s a totally different match, right? Do you feel that pressure?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, of course, it was a close first set, but I thought I had more chances in the first set than him. Managed to stay tough in the right moments and win the crucial first set. Obviously winning it in a tiebreak and making the break of serve first game of the second set was definitely huge really for me. I could start swinging through a little bit more, be more aggressive into the court. You know, since that first game of the second set I played a great match.

Q. How much confidence do you take out of the last two matches that were very tricky and you didn’t lose a set?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I take a lot of confidence. I try to carry that in every next match, next challenge. Obviously I’m going to play Stan, who is the defending champion here. We played five-set matches in 2013 and ’14 Australian Open. I’m going to be ready for a fight. But knowing that I have raised the level of performance tonight, and probably playing the best match of the tournament so far is affecting my confidence in a positive way. Hopefully I can carry that into next one.

Q. Any way you could be playing better?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m a self-critic. But, again, I got to try to take the positives out of every match. Tonight there was not much I could complain about. From the first game till the last I played the way I wanted. I created a lot of breakpoint opportunities. The key of tonight’s match, one of the keys, was to get as many balls back in play, returns back in play. I thought from the back of the court I had more chance than him to win the points. I executed very, very well. It’s easier said than done, but I feel very good about my game in this moment.

Q. You’ve had a few easier wins over Stan away from the Grand Slams. Last three games you played in Grand Slams it was deep in the fifth set. What made those matches more intense? How do you prepare for the next one knowing how long the last three have been?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I mentioned before, I’m ready for the battle. When we played last three Grand Slam matches they were the finals stages of a Grand Slam, semifinals, quarterfinals. Grand Slams are the tournaments where you want to perform your best. I’m sure we both are very much aware of that fact, and it’s why we get to play on a high level against each other and we push each other to the limit in a way. It’s a very physical battle, as well. But I haven’t had too many long matches during this tournament. I’m ready for it. I’m going to practice tomorrow, do a little preparation for that match, try to analyze his game and what I need to do in order to win.

Q. Stan played an unbelievable match against Kei today. Did you see any of it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. He played a great match. Kei has been playing his best tennis in the last 12 months. To be able to win straight sets against him is pretty impressive. Being the defending champion, obviously he’s got some of the pressure here. He is facing this kind of role for the first time in his life. He’s been playing some great tennis under the circumstances. Got to give him credit for that. I like Stan; respect him a lot. But I’m sure once we’re both on the court we both want to win.

Q. Is it the Boris Becker effect we’re seeing on your serve?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Definitely he’s got his contribution there, no question about it. He has joined the team last year. It’s been 12 months that we’ve been working together. He’s working closely with Marian and the rest of the team members obviously in improving my game, getting it to the highest possible degree. Serve was one of the tasks, one of the things that we wanted to improve. I know I can’t serve as fast as Milos, but I’m trying to use the angles, the accuracy, align myself to have some free points with that serve. That’s what I used well during this 10 days now so far.

Q. Having Boris in your camp, how much does that really benefit you from a mental side of things?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, that was the biggest contribution he could bring to me. Because he was the No. 1 player of the world, multiple Grand Slam winner, he understands exactly the kind of obstacles and challenges, mental challenges, I have to go through and I’m facing during the match. Especially in the later stages of tournament. That’s where we talk a lot. It took us some time obviously from the beginning of the partnership to understand how we work, what’s the daily routine, what’s the mindset because we are different people, but we went through the same circumstances and situations in our careers. That’s where he can help me the most.

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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.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

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.

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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.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

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.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

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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