Novak Djokovic: “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” - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: “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”

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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.

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Casper Ruud and Cristian Garin reach the semifinal in Hamburg

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Last week’s Rome Masters 1000 semifinalist Casper Ruud reached his second consecutive semifinal in Hamburg after beating Ugo Humbert 7-5 3-6 6-1 after 2 hours and 36 minutes. 

 

Ruud, the son of former Norwegian star Christian Ruud, converted four of his 17 break points and dropped his serve twice. 

Both players traded breaks in in the fifth and sixth games in the opening set and stayed neck and neck in the next games. Humbert earned two set points in the 10th game, which featured six deuces. Ruud saved both opportunities to draw level to 5-5 and broke serve to take a 6-5 lead. The Scandinavian player held serve at love with a smash winner to seal the first set 7-5 after 64 minutes. 

Humbert broke serve in the fourth game of the second set with a backhand winner and saved all five break points in the fifth and seventh games before closing out the first set 6-3 with an ace. Ruud fended off a break point in the first game of the decisive set and broke serve at love in the second game. 

Ruud broke serve at 4-1, as Humbert netted a forehand, and served out the match in the next game. Ruud set up a semifinal match against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev. 

Chile’s Cristian Garin came back from one set down to beat lucky loser Alexander Bublik 3-6 6-4 6-4. Garin will play against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the oher semifinal. 

Bublik earned breaks in the first and ninth games to win the first set 6-3. Garin broke serve in the second game and saved two break points in the sixth and eights games to win the second set 6-4. Garin earned his only break at love in the fifth game to seal the decisive set 6-4. Garin will face Stefanos Tsitsipas for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour in the semifinal. 

“I am happy to be in the semifinals. Hamburg is a really special tournament. I am having a good week and I am playing my best tennis”, said Garin. 

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‘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.

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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.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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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. 

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