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.
Andrey Rublev wins Rotterdam dispatching Marton Fucsovics in straight sets
The Russian and world number 8 won the title in Rotterdam beating his Hungarian opponent in straight sets.
Andrey Rublev is the 2021 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament champion after beating Marton Fucsovics in Sunday’s final 7-6 (4),6-4. He was clinical from the word play not giving an inch in a match that was pretty tight.
The triumph has extended the unbeaten run of the 23-year-old in ATP 500 tournaments to 20 matches. To put that into perspective, only Roger Federer and Andy Murray has achieved more consecutive wins in that tournament category. In his latest match Rublev won 75% of his first service points and 63% of his second.
“Marton was playing with a lot of confidence, having come through qualifying,” said Rublev.
“He played an extraordinary tournament. It was a tricky final for me as I was favourite. But in a final, that doesn’t matter.”
Initially it was Fucsovics who got off to a very fast start as it seemed nerves were playing a factor in the early on going for the Russian and he was facing three breakpoints in the opening service game of the match.
Thanks in large part to his big serve the number four seed was able to save those break points and hold his opening service game. From there the nerves had gone and tennis fans were witnessing the Rublev they had watched all week with his powerful serve and ground strokes.
The following game the Russian earned two breakpoints of his very own but it was the world number 59 who would save them this time with his forehand. There wasn’t another breakpoint until 6-5 when Rublev earned a set point but it was Fucsovics again coming up big to save it and force a tiebreak.
In that breaker Rublev would bring his game up an extra level and broke on the opening point with his ferocious forehand up the line. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead the world Fucsovics wasn’t going to throw in the towel and managed to win two straight points with some solid groudstrokes to tie the breaker at 3-3.
It was then Rublev’s turn to respond and he won three points off the trot with three stunning winners that were unreturnable and would take the first set when the Hungarian sent a return long.
The momentum clearly with the Russian from winning the first set and in the first game of the second set earned an early breakpoint and would break playing another amazing rally and finishing the net with a volley winner.
At 4-2 the number four seed had a chance to go up a double break when he had two more breakpoints but the world number 59 came up with two huge serves to save them and eventually hold serve.
Rublev would serve it out to take the set and the match and the title and was very pleased with the win.
” I’m doing everything right, I’m moving in the right direction, I need to keep working the same way to improve the things I need to improve to be able to compete even better”
On the other side of the spectrum Fucsovics spoke on the fact that he started in qualifying and made it all the way to the final.
“I’m very happy, I’m very satisfied with my performance, it wasn’t too bad to play two matches in the qualies, I got used to the court, and I think physically I was fit the whole time all the matches even today, I’m very happy to be in the top 50, to reach the final in the 500, my goal is to win a 500 or win a tournament “
Rublev has now won eight ATP titles in his career.
Rankings Monopoly Of ‘Big Four’ To End
The will be a brand new world No.2 for the first time in more than a decade!
Later this month there will be a change to the ranking system which hasn’t occurred in almost 16 years on the Tour.
Daniil Medvedev is set to overtake Rafael Nadal and climb into the world No.2 position to become the first player outside of the Big Four to do so since Lleyton Hewitt on July 25th 2005. The Russian has been on the verge of taking the spot away from the Spaniard following his run to the final of the Australian Open last month. He had an opportunity to secure the spot in Rotterdam but suffered a shock loss in the first round.
Confirmation of Medvedev’s rise to the second spot was announced by the ATP on Saturday after Nadal officially withdrew from the Acapulco Open. Meaning that a series of points will drop off.
25-year-old Medvedev has won three out of the past five tournaments he has played in on the Tour. During that period he won 12 out of his 13 matches against a member of the top 10. The only loss was to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne. He is already the highest ranked Russian man since Nikolay Davydenko in 2007.
“There’s some confidence when you win tournaments. I won three in a row, one of them [the ATP Cup] was a team competition, of course,” Medvedev said prior to playing Rotterdam. “When you get the confidence going, in the tight moments you feel like you can always make the winners or put the ball back in the court when you have to and make your opponent miss.”
There is still a way to go for a player outside of the elusive Big Four to top the rankings with Djokovic currently having a lead of more than 2000 points. The last player outside of the quartet to do so was Andy Roddick back in 2004.
Medvedev returns to action next week at the Open 13 in France. Granted a bye in the first round, he will start his campaign against either Egor Gerasimov or Yannick Hanfmann.
Marton Fucsovics upsets Borna Coric to reach Rotterdam Final
The Hungarian is into his third ATP final after stunning the Croatian with a straight sets win.
Marton Fucsovics is through to his third ATP final after beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
The 29-year-old Hungarian broke Coric fives time and won 75% of his first service points at the Ahoy Arena to become only the second qualifier in history to reach the title match. The first was France’s Nicolas Esdcude back in 2001. It is also the first time Fucsovics has beaten Coric on the Tour following on his forty attempt.
” I come here every year, it’s not my favourite surface but I can say after this week I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people here,” the world No.59 said during his press conference.
“It’s a very famous tournament, it has a long history and I haven’t seen any Hungarians on the winners list but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”
Coric, who is ranked 33 places higher, didn’t get off to a good start and Fucsovics made sure to take advantage of it in the first game of the opening set by earning three early breakpoints. He broke by winning an intense rally and finishing the point with a sensational forehand winner down the line that was almost picture perfect. There was a small lapse in his game at 3-2 when he served an off game and the Croat would break to put the set back on serve.
That’s when the world number 59 went into full overload earning two more breakpoints the following game after playing a solid point and finishing with a powerful smash at the net. He would break once more as the world number 26 would send a ball long to regain a 4-3 lead. The underdog would save two breakpoints from the Zagreb native who was starting to find his game playing some outstanding tennis and eventually serve out the first set.
The second set is where the Hungarian dominated and went for the kill. Eager to book his spot in the final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon. At 1-1 he would earn another breakpoint winning a long intense rally with a stunning forehand winner.
He would break the following point as Coric hit another unforced error and was visibly frustrated as he belted out in Croatian. After holding serve to consolidate the break Fucsovics smelled blood and once again unforced errors were creeping into the Croats game and he would break once again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Once again after having no issues holding serve the world number 26 was serving to stay in the match but the day belonged to the Fucsovics as he finished the match in style overpowering his opponent to break for a third time to take set and the match.
When asked what it is going to take to end up victorious on Sunday against one of the best players in the world, the Hungarian hopes he will be cheered on by his country.
” It’s going to be a tough match, I just want to enjoy it, I want to play my best tennis, I hope the people from Hungary will be supporting me “
Fucsovics beat Rublev in a Davis Cup World Group Playoff while Rublev got his revenge three years later at Roland Garros. Although both those meetings were on a outdoor clay court and this will be their first meeting on indoor hard.
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