TENNIS AO2015 – Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will play they third final at the Australian Open. Nole won the previous two final match-ups Down Under in 2011 (6-4 6-2 6-3) and 2013 (6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2) and the semifinal in 2012 in a five.-set match (6-3 3-6 6-7 6-1 7-5). Djokovic leads 15-8 in the previous head-to-head matches against Murray and leads 13-6 in hard-court matches. Their last Grand Slam match was the US Open quarter final last year when Djokovic won in four sets with 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-4. Djokovic also won the last two matches in the Beijing semifinal (6-3 6-4) and in Paris Bercy quarter final (7-5 6-2). Diego Sampaolo
Nole won six of their past seven head-to-head matches since the epic US Open final in 2012 won by Murray in five sets with 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2. Murray clinched only one of these seven matches at the 2012 Wimbledon final when the Dunblane native made history becoming the first Briton to win at Church Road since Fred Perry in 1936.
“He has a fantastic record in Melbourne. He loves the court and the conditions. It would be a big upset if I manage to win. I have never won against him in Melbourne. I have lost against him the last four or five times we played against each other. I am not saying it’s not a possibility but it’s going to be very tough. ”, said Murray.
Murray admitted that he did not watch the second semifinal between Djokovic and Wawrinka
“I tried not to spend too much thinking about it (the match between Wawrinka and Djokovic) and I tried to do the same sort of routine as I have been doing in the other matches and use Friday as a recovery day. Then I practiced slightly harder than I would normally have the day before a Grand Slam final”, said Murray
Murray and Djokovic will play the closest Grand Slam final by age. Both players were born in 1987 but Murray is just seven days older than his Serbian fellow colleague. The previous closest Grand Slam finalists by age were Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors who played the 1977 US Open when Vilas was 18 days older than Connors.
Djokovic is bidding to win his 8th Grand Slam title and become the 8th player in history together with André Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall on the all-time list for most major titles. “Djoker” has a 7-7 win-loss record in the previous Grand Slam finals. He won four titles at the Australian Open in 2008 against Jo Wilfred Tsonga in four sets (4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6), in 2011 against Murray (6-4 6-2 6-3). In 2012 against Rafa Nadal in a epic five-set match (5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5) and in 2013 against Murray (6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2).
Djokovic is looking to become the 17th Number 1 seed player to triumph at the Australian Open in the Open Era. He is bidding to extend to extend his 9-match winning-streak against top-10 players. He suffered his last defeat against a top-10 player last October when he lost to Roger Federer in the 2014 Shanghai Master 1000 Tournament. He lost just two sets in his last eight matches against top-10 rivals against Kei Nishikori at the 2014 ATP Finals in London and in the semifinals at the 2015 Australian Open against Stan Wawrinka on Friday where he prevailed with 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-4 6-0.
Murray, who is playing in his 10th consecutive Australian Open and in his 36th Grand Slam tournament overall, is bidding to become the first player in the Open Era to clinch the Australian Open title after losing three finals in 2010 to Roger Federer, in 2011 and 2013 to Djokovic. Marat Safin lost two finals in Melbourne in 2002 to Thomas Johanson and 2004 to Roger Federer before beating Lleyton Hewitt in his third attempt in 2005. Murray has a 2-5 win-loss record in his previous seven Grand Slam finals. Murray is looking to become the first number 6 seed to clinch a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin Del Potro’s win over Roger Federer at the 2009 US open.
Murray became the first Briton to win a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry in 1936 and the first player from his country in the home Slam at Wimbledon since Perry in 1936. He could write another piece of British tennis history if he wins tomorrow. He could become the British player to clinch the Australian Open since Perry beat Jack Crawford in 1934. Murray is looking to become the 21st man to win three or more Grand Slam titles. He has not defeated a World Number 1 since beating Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final. The only other number 1 player Murray managed to beat in the four Grand Slams was Rafa Nadal in the semifinals of the 2008 US Open. Murray lost the final of that edition of Flushing Meadows against Roger Federer. Then he became the first British player to qualify for a Grand Slam final since Greg Rusedski in 1997. By reaching his 8th Grand Slam final with his semifinal win over Tomas Berdych Murray has become the second most successful player in Grand Slam behind Fred Perry who qualified for 10 Slam finals (including two at the Australian Open).
Federer (25 finals), Nadal (20) and Djokovic (15) are the only three active players to have reached more Grand Slam finals than Murray who Is currently joint 13th with Ken Rosewall and Guillermo Vilas for the most Grand Slam finals in the Open Era.
The last time Murray suffered a five-set defeat was in the semifinals of the 2012 Australian Open against Djokovic.
After winning at the US Open and Wimbledon the Dunblane native could add a third Slam to his trophy cabinet and come closer to achieving a Career Grand Slam.
“Winning any of the Slams is a very tough and challenging ting to do. Winning three or four Grand Slams seems like nothing because of everything that the other guys have done, but it’s a very difficult to do. Whether I win or not on Sunday, I still feel like my record here has been a good one. We know each other pretty well. We both know what to expect from each other’s game. The fact that I have won seven of the last eight matches is going to serve a great confidence booster coming into the match”, said Murray.
‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances
John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.
One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.
Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.
Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.
“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”
This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.
During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.
“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.
De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.
Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome
Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion.
The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome.
Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve.
Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0.
Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand. Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman.
Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4.
Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner.
Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes.
Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide.
Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.
Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final.
“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic.
Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman
Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.
It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.
The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.
“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.
44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.
“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”
The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.
It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.
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