TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 1st of February 2015. N.Djokovic d. A.Murray 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0. An interview with Novak Djokovic
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)”
Q. Talk us through that third set. Struggling with injury, then you went on to win 12 of the last 13 games.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. There were a lot of turning points in the match. As I think everybody predicted, it was going to be a big battle. Of course, Grand Slam finals for both of us, regardless of the record that I have here, and him playing also three times the final not winning a title, regardless of that, we both knew that, you know, we have equal chances to win it. Very similar match to the Australian Open final in 2013 when we played over two hours the first two sets. Tonight two and a half hours the first two sets. Very physical. Very exhausting. We both of course went through some tough moments physically. You could see that I had a crisis end of the second, beginning of the third. Just felt very exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track. That’s what I’ve 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 in the games: spin, flat, slice, dropshots. I think both went out with the full repertoire of the shots we have. I hope everybody that watched it enjoyed the finals. From my side it was definitely very exhausting. Just glad that I believed it all the way through. Saved some breakpoints at 3-All in the third set and managed to make that break and win the third. 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.
Q. Even if you know him since you are both 11 years old, he said he was distracted by you limping or having a problem to the hand or foot. Should it happen between two people who know each other so well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I’m not going to talk bad things about him in the press or find any excuses or something like this. In the match 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 this 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, better player on the court. He was not the freshest player as well in the second and third set. But it’s normal to expect that after the amount and length of rallies that we had. It’s just all so physical.
Q. What does this fifth title here mean at this moment of your career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think it has deeper meaning, more intrinsic value now to my life because I’m a father and a husband. It’s the first Grand Slam title I won as a father and a husband. Just feel very, very proud of it.
Q. In what way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In a way that I’m a father and a husband (smiling). Well, you know, I try to stay 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 this prime time of my career really where I’m playing and feeling the best at 27. This is why I play the sport, you know, to win big titles and to put myself in a position to, you know, play also for the people around me. I know how much sacrifice they put in in my own career, and I try to thank them and not take anything for granted. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations, events that define these beautiful moments. Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that gave me a new energy, something that I never felt before. And right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life. I’m so grateful for that. So I try to live these moments with, you know, all my heart.
Q. How do you explain looking as if you’re almost out of it physically and mentally and then within two games managing to switch round to running. He thought you were cramping.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I wasn’t cramping. I didn’t call a timeout because I had no reason to call it. I was just weak. I went through the physical crisis in the matter of 20 minutes. And, honestly, didn’t feel that too many times in my career. But knowing in the back of my mind that it was a similar situation two years ago in Australian Open final, 2013, where two sets went over two hours, was a similar battle. Then I felt that I had some physical edge over him in that match. That was in back of my mind. That was something that kept me going. And obviously the importance of the moment, being in finals of Grand Slam. I didn’t want to give up. I try never to give up. Even though I went through this moment, I believed that I’m going to get that necessary strength. I’m going to have to earn it, and that’s what I did. I started hitting the ball more, covering the court better, shortening the points, and allowed myself to come back to the match.
Q. Early in the second set you fell over and seemed to have a few points where you were struggling with your ankle.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, no, no. I wasn’t. Again, same reason that I mentioned before. You know, just the length of the rallies. That’s what has taken this physical toll on my body.
Q. Given the toll that you talk about and the willpower to overcome that, given all of that and that this eighth Grand Slam tonight is your biggest achievement? Would you say this is your greatest achievement on court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’ve had thankfully many great moments on the court in Grand Slams. I think every Grand Slam win is special in its own way. I can’t really compare. But this tournament by far has been my most successful tournament in my life, in my career. I enjoy playing here, enjoy coming back. Australia is a sports nation. They love the Australian Open. Another record-breaking year. The tournament sets up a standard for all the other tournaments and Grand Slams. It’s just such an enjoyable time to be out here. Andy was saying on the court, he listened to the comments of the other players and they all love this tournament. That’s one of the big reasons for this, is the facts that Craig Tiley and all the people from behind the stage, and sponsors of course, all the people who lead this tournament, are trying to improve facilities and accommodate players and make them feel good. Also going back to Australia as a sports nation, everywhere you go people are doing sport. They’re all fit. It’s kind of a very stimulative environment for sports. I love my time being here, and winning the eighth Grand Slam title and being mentioned in the elite group of legends in our sport is a huge privilege and honor. You know, I can’t say how proud I am. That’s going to serve definitely only as a great deal of inspiration for the rest of my career.
Q. You’ve won five now, which is a lot. Would you perhaps trade one, even two, for a win in Paris?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Ha! Don’t ask me this here, please (smiling). No, I strongly believe everything happens for a reason in life. I try not to waste my energy thinking, What if, what if, so forth. For a reason I’ve been playing so well here and winning five titles, and for a reason I haven’t won French Open yet. I’ll keep pushing and keep working and keep believing I can make it, at least once, until my career ends.
Q. When you lift the trophy, do you always think about the lady who has done so much for you, Jelena Gencic?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, of course. Of course. She’s not there only when I lift the trophy. She’s there very often in my mind. Next to my parents, my family, closest people in my life, she has done the most with them for my career, for my life in general. You know, this trophy, as much as it’s mine, it’s her’s.
Q. Do you think you’re paying a price physically for all the tennis you played the last couple years and the end of the season last year being pretty tough? And just to understand the situation, I saw you get drinks against Stan from the stands and also today in the match. Is that just electrolytes? What are you getting from your camp?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, the first question was about paying a price. You know, look, I’m not injured and I have no major concerns for my body, so I don’t think I’m paying the price for a lot of tennis. As a matter of fact, I think out of all the top players I’m playing the least tournaments. I can’t really use that as an excuse. Of course, I try to set up my own form for the biggest events because that’s where I want to shine. That’s where I want to perform my best. So in terms of scheduling, I try to pay a lot of attention on how I organize my scheduling in advance. I try to stick with it as much as I can. Obviously this year I’ll have Davis Cup. That’s an additional couple weeks. But the schedule is more or less the same. I actually feel physically very, very good. I don’t think that this 20, 30 minutes tonight can cause a major concern for me for the future. In contrary, I think that being able to bounce back from that period of 20 minutes and finish the match the way I finished it can only serve as an encouraging fact. And drinks, electrolytes, energy drinks, the stuff that every athlete drinks. I, of course, am very disciplined, very thorough with what I drink, with what I eat. I think when all the small details that you think are small, you pay attention to them, in the end it turns out to be very decisive, especially for these kind of matches. I believe the healthy lifestyle that I had in the last couple years for which I had to make a lot of sacrifice – trust me; even this nice champagne here – you know, a lot of sacrifice in terms of my free time, in terms of some delicious meals. But still I enjoy what I eat; I enjoy what I drink; I enjoy the life that I have. It’s my choice. So I can’t sit here and complain about my life where I’m actually saying it’s the best life I can have. As everybody else, I’m trying to be the best that I can be. That’s why I pay so much attention to it.
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.
Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.
The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.
During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.
“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.
“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“
Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.
Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.
“Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”
As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months
The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.
Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.
The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.
“It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”
Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.
“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.
Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.
In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.
“Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.
Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.
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