TENNIS AO2015 – The first Grand Slam of the season is already behind us. The Australian Open has traditionally thrown up more surprises and upsets than the other Slams as a result of it being right at the start of the season, when players still haven’t got a groove going. This season that hasn’t been the case. Except for Roger Federer, all of the top eight seeds reached the quarter finals and not many conclusions can be drawn from Melbourne. Bruno Bergareche Sans
What is clear is that Novak Djokovic is still the man to beat. Although the Serb wasn’t as brilliant as he has been in the past, he seemed to do just enough to coast to the trophy, without having to switch too much through the gears. When you’re winning slams in that manner then you’re in a class of your own, and with an outstanding fifth Australian Open, Djokovic now takes his overall tally to 8, with there being no clear indication of where his limit could be.
Melbourne also signalled the return of Andy Murray to the top four, a status he had struggled to regain after his back problems. For Murray the Australian Open was like going back in time to his pre-Lendl days. The man from Dunblane played aggressive tennis which helped him to impressive wins over Dimitrov and Berdych but it was his temperament and attitude which let him down in the final, as it had done on so many occasions previously to his first Grand Slam triumphs. The Briton has now lost six of his eight Grand Slam finals which is a very poor record and Amelie Mauresmo has her work cut out trying to ensure that the Scot keeps his focus in important matches because it has proven to be his downfall time and time again.
As for the semi finalists, Stan Wawrinka did his job on paper which was to reach the semi finals and bow out to Djokovic in five sets, but in reality his performance in those semis were a bit of a worry for fans of the Swiss star. Wawrinka was extremely erratic and later admitted that he was mentally drained; a very concerning fact when we’re just a couple of weeks into the new season. That semi final defeat also means that Wawrinka drops to number 9 in the world which means he could face the top four as early as in the last sixteen of tournaments. The other semi finalist leaves Melbourne with a slightly bitter taste feeling. Berdych will be radiant about his straight sets win over Rafa Nadal after a 17-match losing streak against the Spaniard but he really didn’t back it up against Murray in the semi finals. The gulf between the Scot and the Czech player was far too big for what Berdych’s aspirations are. With Vallverdu now in his corner, the man from Prague will look to definitively get himself up amongst the big boys but it always seems he’s just one step below.
With regards to Nadal, not much was expected from the Mallorcan and even more so after just about surviving against Smyczek in the second round. But if there is one thing you’re always going to get from the Spaniard its grit and determination and he put in a solid run to the quarter finals with a good win against Anderson in the fourth round. The match against Berdych however was a true measuring tool to gauge where Nadal was exactly and it went to prove that the 14-time Grand Slam champion has quite a way to go in terms of getting rid of the rust.
The one surprise of the tournament which is mentioned briefly at the top of the article was Roger Federer’s exit at the hands of Andreas Seppi. A curiosity about Federer’s draw at the Australian Open is that he played players ranked 47 (Lu), 48 (Bolelli) and 47 (Seppi) in the opening three rounds. The difference in results only going to show how beautifully unpredictable this sport is. Roger will be bitterly disappointed with such an early exit from a Slam and will be raring to get back on the courts but the sensation is that it will be very difficult for the Swiss maestro to add any more Slams to that incredible record of 17.
One of the positive stories from the Australian Open was the awakening of Australian tennis. One of the greatest powerhouses, if not the greatest, in the history of tennis, Australia has experienced a void since Lleyton Hewitt which appears to be coming to an end on the evidence of the opening Slam of the season. Huge hope Nick Kyrgios made the most of Federer’s absence to rampage through to the quarter finals with box office big hitting tennis and with a less flashy yet equally efficient game, Bernard Tomic had his typical good run in Melbourne which was only ended by Berdych in the fourth round. Kokkinakis also got the fans going with a tremendous first round win against Sam Groth. Now these players have to show they can also do it without their home crowd behind them.
So to wrap it all up, what we can conclude from the Australian Open is that Djokovic will take some beating, Murray has to cut down his moaning, Nadal needs some court time and Australia is putting its name back on the map. Let the tennis continue.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
Love him, or hate him. But respect him.
No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.
Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.
Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.
DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER
Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.
It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.
Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.
A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE
At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.
The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.
Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.
THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE
Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.
Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.
The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
Elena Rybakina’s Coach Blasts The WTA After Player Withdraws From Tokyo
Ludmila Samsonova beats Tatjana Maria to reach the second round in Tokyo
Alexander Zverev beats Grigor Dimitrov to reach the final at the Chengdu Open
Karen Khachanov beats Sebastian Korda in Zhuhai to reach his first final of the season
Maria Sakkari Determined To Silence Her Critics
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Holger Rune Accuses US Open Of Disrespect Over First Round Scheduling
Holger Rune ‘Disappointed’ With US Open Scheduling But Blames Shock Exit On Something Else
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Latest news2 days ago
Lorenzo Musetti, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov reach the semifinals in Chengdu
Latest news3 days ago
Maria Sakkari set up a final against Caroline Dolehide in Guadalajara
Latest news3 days ago
Team World leads 4-0 over Team Europe after day one in the Laver Cup in Vancouver
Latest news3 days ago
Alexander Zverev beats Pavel Kotov to reach his ninth quarter final of the season in Chengdu
Hot Topics2 days ago
Maria Sakkari Ends Four-Year Title Drought In Guadalajara
Focus1 day ago
Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe
Latest news2 days ago
Wang Xiyu claims her first WTA title at the Guangzhou Open
Hot Topics1 day ago
Maria Sakkari Determined To Silence Her Critics