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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Laver Cup Deserves More Respect From ATP, Says Captain McEnroe

The American tennis great believes more needs to be done to make the team competition more prestigious in the future.

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Former world No.1 John McEnroe has called for the Laver Cup to be turned into a stand alone event with no other ATP tournaments taking place at the same time it takes place.

 

The multiple Grand Slam champion is the captain of Team World who lost 14-1 to Europe in the latest edition of the event which took place over the weekend. This year’s Laver Cup featured ten top 20 players but the six highest-ranked individuals all represented Europe – Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.

However, McEnroe believes the three-day event needs to be given more priority if it wishes to emulate the success of Golf’s Ryder Cup which also pitches Europe against the rest of the world. This year’s Laver Cup took place during the same time as ATP 250 events in Metz, France and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

This is my personal opinion, but I don’t think there should be any tournaments going on if they want to try to get to the level of a Ryder Cup, say. It’s got to stand on its own,” McEnroe said.
“It’s not going to be like, ‘Well, other players need to be able to play and … get their points in Kazakhstan or wherever they are right now.’ I just don’t agree with that. I think it’s a mistake by the ATP.”

The Laver Cup first took place in 2017 and became an ATP Tour sanction event just two years later. Meaning they receive the same back-up and logistical support as other events on the Tour. However, ranking points are not awarded to players unlike the ATP Cup which does. The 2021 edition saw each member of the winning team take home prize money of $250,000.

“Yet it’s difficult to sort of get, sort of, the respect that I think this deserves,” McEnroe continued.
“It tears me up.”

It is the fourth time in a row that Europe has come out on top against their rivals. The only players to score a point for McEnroe’s side this year was Denis Shapovalov and John Isner in the doubles on the opening day of the tie.

“We battled our best. These guys are a great team, no question, incredible team,” McEnroe commented.
“Obviously, if you get a couple different results, could have put more pressure on them (Europe), but we just came up short in I think four tiebreakers. (If) you win half those, totally different story. Other matches we had a chance to get in. We gave it our best, but they were too good.”

The Laver Cup will move to Europe next year with it being held at The O2 in London which was the home of the ATP Finals for more than a decade.

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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