AO2015: Djokovic wins his fifth Australian Open title - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Djokovic wins his fifth Australian Open title

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TENNIS AO2015 – Novak Djokovic clinched his fifth Australian Open and the eighth Grand Slam title of his career with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0 win over Andy Murray after three hours and 39 minutes in the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park to close the gap on Australian Open legend Roy Emerson who won six times in the home Slam in 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. Djokovic won his overall 8th Grand Slam title in a collection of Major titles which features the US Open in 2011 and Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. His coach Boris Becker celebrated his second Grand Slam triumph after Wimbledon last July when Djokovic edged Roger Federer in a epic five-set final. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Novak Djokovic b. Andy Murray 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0

Novak Djokovic part 1: “I’m not going to talk bad things about him in the press or find any excuses or something like this”

Novak Djokovic part 2: “you go through some particular moments that you can call crises during matches like these. This is what I had in these 15, 20 minutes. After that I felt better”

Novak Djokovic part 3: “I think tonight I played better (than against Wawrinka)”

Djokovic was unbeaten in the last four head-to-head matches against Murray but the Scotsman won two Grand Slam finals at the 2012 US Open and at Wimbledon in 2013. The two friends and rivals met for the fifth time in a Grand Slam final. Djokovic extended his winning streak to 16-8 in the 23 head-to-head matches overall including seven of the last eight match-ups and 13-6 in hard-court matches. They met for the third time in the final at the Australian Open after Djokovic beat his Scottish rival in the previous two title matches at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013.

Djokovic rallied from 0-40 to reel off five straight points at 1-1. In the fourth game the Serbian star broke serve to 15 with a crosscourt forehand return winner to build a 3-1 lead. Djokovic pulled away to 4-1 playing well on serve, although Murray did not play badly. Murray did not convert on two break point chances at 2-4 15-40 with two groundstrokes errors. Djokovic dropped serve when he hit his backhand wide allowing Murray to claw his way into the match. Murray went up 30-0 on his serve in the 8th game but Djokovic fought back to convert on his second break point chance to build a 5-3 lead. Djokovic had a problem with the thumb of his right hand and Murray took advantage breaking back to 15 in the next game for 4-5. The first set came down to the tie-break. Djokovic made a double fault at the start of the breaker but he fought back from 2-4 by winning three consecutive points to take the 5-4 lead. Djokovic clinched the breaker with 7-5 when Murray hit a backhand return into the net.

Murray opened up a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set when Djokovic hit his backhand into the net. Djokovic looked to have twisted his ankle. Djokovic rallied from 0-2 0-15 to reel off 12 consecutive points to build up a 4-2 lead. At 4-3 Djokovic missed two first serves at 30-all before Murray got the break with a forehand winner. Murray held serve to love to take the edge with 5-4. Murray recovered from 15-40 down at 5-4 but he failed to capitalize on a set point in the tenth game which lasted 15 minutes and featured five deuces. Djokovic finally managed to hold serve. Murray fended off three break points at 30-40 and twice more at deuce. The second set was decided by another tie-break where Murray opened up to a 4-1 lead before winning a rally of 26 strokes to pull away to 5-2. He brought up four set points at 6-2 but Djokovic recovered winning the next two points before Murray converted on his fourth set point to wrap up the second set with 7-4 in the breaker after a 80-minute battle.

After a two-hour and 32-minute battle in the first two sets Murray broke serve early in the third set for a 2-0 lead and looked to have taken control of the mach. Djokovic appeared injured at the start of the third set but he soon recovered with a series of winners. The Scotsman went down 0-30 at 1-2 and fended off one break point with an ace but he hit a wild forehand allowing Djokovic to break back for 2-all.

Murray failed to convert on a break point in the seventh game at 3-3 30-40 when he missed out on a backhand winner down the line. Murray faltered when he made a double fault in the 8th game at 3-4 15-40 allowing Djokovic to break again. Murray earned a break-back point in the next game but he hit the net with a half-volley. Djokovic wrapped up the third game with 6-3 after 39 minutes.

From then on Djokovic took the full control of the match winning the fourth set with 6-0. It was the second match in a row that Djokovic won the final set with 6-0 two days after his five-set bagel against Stan Wawrinka in the semifinal. In the fourth set Murray dropped serve to 30. Djokovic got two more breaks in the third game to 15 and again in the fifth game to 15 before clinching his third final win over Murray in Melbourne. Murray lost his fourth Australian Open final (the three against Djokovic and the other against Roger Federer in 2010)

Djokovic hit 53 winners to 40 unforced errors and converted on nine of his break point chances. He hit 8 aces and made just one double fault. Murray produced 41 winners and 49 unforced errors and broke serve five times.

Djokovic was presented with the Australian Open Trophy by Australian Open legend Roy Emerson, who holds the record of six Melbourne titles.

I am privileged and honored and grateful to be standing here here for the fifth title, to be in an elite group of players, with legends of our sport out watching”, said Djokovic

Nole paid tribute for his close friend Andy, who is just one week older than the Belgrade native and offered him his best wishes to the Scotsman for his wedding which will be celebrated at the end of the year.

First of all I want to congratulate Andy for his great tournament. And congratulations to you and Kim on your engagement. I wish you many kids”, said Djokovic during the award ceremony

Despite the injury problem in the third set Djokovic won 12 of the last games.

There were a lot of turning points in the match. As I think everybody predicted, it was going to be a big battle. Regardless of the record that I have here and regardless of the fact that he played three finals here, without winning a title, we both knew that we had equal chances to win it, It was very similar match to the Australian Open final in 2013 when we played the first two sets for two and a half hours, It was very physical and very exhausting. We both went through some tough moments physically. You could see that I had a crisis at the end of the second set and at the beginning of the third. I just felt exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track. That’s what I have done. I started hitting ball and trying to be a little bit more aggressive coming to the net, shortening the points. I got a very important break of serve at 2-Love for him in the third that got me back in the match mentally as well. It was a cat and mouse fight. It always is. We always try to outplay the opponents with the groundstrokes, with the long rallies, a lot of variety of the games, spin, flat, slice and dropshots. I think both went out with the full repertoire of the shots we have. From my side it was very exhausting. I am just glad that I believed that I believed it all the way through. I saved some breakpoints at 3-all in the third set and managed to make that break and win the third set. After that I felt huge relief. I felt I could swing through the ball. I felt the momentum was on my side and I wanted to use that. At this level very few points can turn things around on the court as we could see tonight”, reflected Djokovic

In matches like this a lot of emotions go through, a lot of tension. It’s not easy to keep the concentration 100% all the way through. There was the interruption with people coming into the court. It was a long delay. I was a set and a break up serving. I lost that serve. He started going through the ball more, being more aggressive, He was not the freshest player as well in the second and third set. It’s normal to expect that after the amount and length of rallies that we had. It’s just all so physical”

Djokovic expressed his feeling on the importance of winning such an important title in one of the best moments of his life following the marriage to Jelena and the birth of their son Stephan.

This fifth title has a deeper meaning, more intrinsic value now to my life because I am a father and a husband. It’s the first Grand Slam title I won as a father and a husband. I just feel very proud of it. It try on the right path and committed to this sport in every possible way that I have had in the last couple of years and try to use the prime time of my career where I am playing and feeling the best at 27. This is why I play the sport to win big titles and to put myself in a position to play also for the people around me. I know how much sacrifice they put in my own career. I try to thank them and not take anything for granted. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations and events that define these beautiful moments. Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that I never felt before. Right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life. I am so grateful for that. I try to live these moments with all my heart”, said Djokovic

Despite the defeat Murray can be happy with his Australian Open in which he returned to a Grand Slam final after a difficult 2014 season.

It has been my most consistent Grand Slam throughout my career. I just haven’t been able to win it. We have put in a lot of work to try and get back in this position after a difficult year. Unfortunately we could not do it tonight but I am a little bit closer than I was a few months ago. We will keep working hard to try and get there. I will try to come back next year and have a slightly different outcome in the final”, said Murray.

The Dunblane native admitted after the match that he was disappointed with the third set when he broke serve in the second game.

I had opportunities in the first three sets. Then in the fourth set I needed to watch it back to see if I played badly. He was just ripping everything. He was hitting returns on the baseline which were far from the line all the time. Once he got up a break, he just loosened up and was just going for his shots. I couldn’t recover. So the fourth set wasn’t as frustrating to me. The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he fell on the ground after a couple of shots. It appeared that he was cramping and then I let that distract me a little bit. That’s what I am most disappointed about, not so much the fourth set because especially at the end of it, he was just going for everything and it was going in. But the third set was more frustrating for me”, reflected Murray

I don’t think he went for broke at the end because he was afraid of a fifth set, that he thought he couldn’t last a fifth set. He was moving unbelievable at the end of of the third set, sliding and chasing everything down. I think it was just more that once he got up he loosened up a bit, and then was just going for his shots. Maybe if he started to miss a couple, then you kind of rein it back a little bit. But he wasn’t missing, so he just kept going for it”

Novak looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of the third set. Then obviously the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive. I don’t know exactly what the issue was for him. If it was cramp, how he recovered from it, that’s a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end. So I am frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set because I was playing well. I had a good moment, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me. That’s the most frustrating thing because I thought I had opportunities in the first set. I couldn’t quite get them.I managed to sneak the second. Then there was that break up in the third. There were definitely opportunities there”

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Novak Djokovic Storms Into Wimbledon Third Round For 16th Time

The top seed dealt with the breezy conditions and his Australian opponent with ease in what was largely a one-sided performance.

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) - Credit: AELTC/Joe Toth

Novak Djokovic has sent out a warning to this year’s men’s draw at Wimbledon by producing a clinical win over Thanasi Kokkinakis to reach the third round on Wednesday.

 

The world No.3 dictated proceedings throughout his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, triumph over Kokkinakis. A player who is currently 79th in the world that has been hampered by injury issues throughout a large chunk of his tennis career. Djokovic has now won 307 Grand Slam main draw matches and a staggering 1007 at Tour level. The latest performance saw him produce a total of 29 winners against 14 unforced errors

“I’m very happy with my performance today. I thought I started with well, I was very solid from the back of the court,” said Djokovic.
“I tried to make him work a lot around the court and brought a lot of variety into the game.’
“It was not easy to serve because of the wind but from my side overall it was a really high-quality performance and I’m very pleased.”

In what was their first Tour meeting in seven years the reigning champion got off to a dream start against an erratic Kokkinakis. The Australian struggled to control his unforced error count early on which resulted in him getting broken in his opening service game. Meanwhile, Djokovic settled in instantly as he worked his way to a 3-0 advantage with relative ease. A couple games later the double break was sealed with the use of a delicate drop shot which Kokkinakis failed to return over the net. He went on to close the set out yet another carefully placed drop shot. 

Contending with strong gusts of wind, as well as Kokkinakis’ speedy serve, Djokovic broke once again early in the second frame with a winning volley at the net. Despite glimmers of impressive shot-making from his opponent, it failed to materialize into any momentum as the Serbian eased to a two-set lead. Down 3-5 Kokkinakis valiantly saved four set points to hold serve. However, Djokovic proceeded to seal the two-set lead in the following game.

Djokovic’s relentless hitting overwhelmed his opponent who looked growingly lost on the court. The start of set three saw a 12-minute Kokkinakis service game where the Australian buckled once again whilst under intense pressure. Strolling to a game from victory, Djokovic closed out the match with a serve out wide that Kokkinakis returned out.

It is the 16th time in Djokovic’s career he has reached the last 32 at SW19 and his 13th in a row. Only Jimmy Conors has achieved a longer run of 14 between 1972-1985. In total, he has won 81 matches at Wimbledon which is the third-highest tally for a male player in history. 

“I’m quite pleased with the way I have raised my level within two days,” said Djokovic who defeated Kwon Soon-woo in the first round. 
“Hopefully I can keep that trajectory and keep getting better as the tournament progresses.”

Djokovic will play compatriot Miomir Kecmanović in the third round. He leads their head-to-head 2-0. 

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(EXCLUSIVE) Ricardas Berankis’ Coach On Wimbledon Showdown With Rafael Nadal

Dirk Hordorff speaks to UbiTennis about the world No.106 and his chances against the second seed.

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Ricarcas Berankis at Wimbledon (image via http://www.yonex.co.uk/_assets/)

Ricardas Berankis is no stranger to Wimbledon as he marks the 12th anniversary of his first-ever main draw win at the tournament after coming through three rounds of qualifying.

 

A stand-out player in his younger years, the Lithuanian topped the world junior rankings and won the US Open boys title back in 2007 when he defeated Jerzy Janowicz in the final. Transitioning to the pro level was never straightforward for Berankis who is now 32-year-old. Nevertheless, he has made his impression on the Tour with runs to two ATP Tour finals in 2012 (Los Angeles) and 2017 (Moscow). He also won the 2015 US Men’s Clay Court doubles title in Houston alongside Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Today Berankis is ranked 106th in the world, which is 56 places below his career-high. His best performance on the ATP Tour so far this season was in Abu Dubai when he came through qualifying to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Denis Shapovalov. He also reached the final of a Challenger event in Lille.

At Wimbledon this year he started his campaign with a straight-sets win over former semifinalist Sam Querrey. Making it only the fourth time in his career he has won a main draw match at the tournament. His reward is a showdown on Thursday with the formidable Rafael Nadal who is seeking a historic 23rd major title and his third in a row. Nadal defeated Francisco Cerundolo in his opening match.

So can Berankis trouble Nadal on the grass?

The best person to ask is Germany’s Dirk Hordorff who coaches Berankis. The veteran coach has also previously collaborated with the likes of Rainer Schuettler, Lars Burgsmüller, Yen-Hsun Lu, Kristian Pless, Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Vasek Pospisil.

During an email exchange with UbiTennis, Hordorff shared his thoughts about Berankis’ upcoming clash with Nadal.

UBITENNIS: It wasn’t until Melbourne this year that Ricardas played Nadal on the Tour for the first time. He lost the match 6-2, 7-5. What did his team learn from that experience?

HIRDORFF: I was not in Melbourne, but I coached unsuccessfully in a lot of matches against Rafa. He is next to Novak (Djokovic) over so many years as a true champion and a great person outside the court. You learn every match against him and Ricardas is ready for this match.

UBITENNIS: When it comes to playing a member of the Big Three, how do you as a coach go about dealing with Berankis’ mentality?

HIRDORFF: Ricardas played a good first round against Sam Querrey. Nevertheless, to play Rafa is a different issue. You need to concentrate on your abilities and not worry about history.

UBITENNIS: Nadal was sternly tested during his opening match. Does this in any way give a confidence boost towards Berankis or do you think it is irrelevant?

HIRDORFF: Every match starts at zero. What Rafa played yesterday doesn’t affect Ricardas’ match. Anyway, Rafa won his first round quite solidly against a good upcoming player.

UBITENNIS: Whilst the odds might be against Ricardas, it isn’t impossible that he could defeat Nadal. What will the key areas be for him to focus on during their match? (e.g. return position, use of slice etc).

HIRDORFF: Ricardas needs to focus on his abilities and take his fine form from the first round in this match. Rafa is a complete player, so you need to perform well in all aspects of the game.

UBITENNIS: What is the most difficult thing about playing Nadal on the tour?

HORDORFF: He is a complete player with a lot of special strengths. Strong serve, good backhand, fast, perfect coordinate and no weak parts in his game.

UBITENNIS: Ricardas might be 32 but he has shown some good results on the Tour (runner-up at a Challenger event in Lille and QF in Dubai). Given the trend of players playing later into their careers, is his best yet to come?

HIRDORFF: Ricardas had to deal with a lot of health problems. I am sure that the best part of his career is yet to come for him.

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Rafael Nadal Survives Scare In Wimbledon Opener

Bidding to win his third slam in a row, the Spaniard experienced a tougher test than he expected.

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Rafael Nadal’s bid for a first Wimbledon title in over a decade has got off to a shaky start after he battled his way past Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo in the first round.

Nadal was unable to tame the world No.41 throughout his rollercoaster 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4,  victory which is his 306th in the main draw of a Grand Slam. Cerundolo exceeded expectations by playing some inspired tennis for a player who has only ever won one Tour-level match on the grass and had never won a main draw match at a major.

 

All the credit to Fran, I think he started to play great and he was a very tough opponent,” said Nadal.
It has been three years since I last played on this amazing surface and I’m happy to be back. For me, it’s always amazing to play on their court (Center Court) and I can’t thank the crowd enough for their support. 

The showdown was the first real test for the Spaniard since his historic triumph at the French Open which he won for a record 14th time. Since then, he hasn’t played any ATP grass-court events leading up to Wimbledon. Although he did take part in an exhibition event at the Hurlingham Club. Furthermore, he had undergone a new medical procedure in a bid to solve the pain caused by his long-term foot condition.

“It’s not the surface we play very often, especially in my case due to different reasons. For the last three years, I haven’t stepped onto a grass court so it always takes a while,” the 22-time Grand Slam winner commented.
Today has been an important test, especially at the start of the tournament and the difficult circumstances I arrived in.

It was by no means a vintage performance from the former world No.1 who struggled behind his second serve by winning just 43% of those points. Furthermore, he hit a total of 23 winners against 41 unforced errors. At one stage he was facing the prospect of going into a fifth set after falling behind 2-4 in the fourth frame before upping his intensity to claim four games in a row and clinch the match.

“It’s obvious when you play well in Roland Garros there is not much time between (that and Wimbledon). I used to remember the beautiful days when I used to win Roland Garros and then play on grass at Queen’s the next day but my body doesn’t allow me to do this anymore so I have to take some days off,” he admits.
“The most important thing for me is that I am at Wimbledon 2022 and I won my first match.”

Nadal will play Ricardas Berankis in the second round.

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