Federer and Wawrinka cruise on Day 1 at the French 2015 - UBITENNIS
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Federer and Wawrinka cruise on Day 1 at the French 2015



TENNIS – Roger Federer made a winning start to his Roland Garros campaign with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 win over Alejandro Falla in one hour and 49 minutes on the Philippe Chatrier court in Paris. The other top-ranked Swiss player, Stan Wawrinka, also had a comfortable start beating Marsel Ihlan with 6-3 6-2 6-3 Diego Sampaolo


Falla, who in past has posed a very tough challenge for the World’s No.2 Federer despite the fact that the Colombian has never beaten the Swiss legend in their 7 previous meetings. There most notable encounter was at Wimbledon 2010 when Falla led 2 sets to love and served for the match in the fourth set. He was a mere 4 points away from sending the then defending champion Federer packing in the 1st round. However, Federer pulled through in that match as he did again in last year’s Halle final where Falla again presented himself as a formidable opponent.

This match would be no different as Falla started well earning an early break point chance but Federer saved it to stay ahead at 2-1. The 2009 Roland Garros champion held his serve at love for 4-3 before earning break point chances on the Falla serve. Falla saved the first three but Federer finally able to convert as the Colombian made two unforced errors allowing Federer to serve out the opening set 6-3. The momentum carried over into the 2nd set for the Swiss as broke Falla early in the third game for 2-1 before sealing the second set breaking Falla again to take it 6-3.

In the 3rd set, Falla was once again under pressure when he had to save three break points before holding his serve in the early part of the set. Federer faced a single break point but he held serve to maintain his lead at 3-2. Things remained on serve until Falla was serving to stay in the match down 4-5. Federer broke him for a fourth time to take the match 6-3 6-3 6-4.

Federer had 42 winners, including 8 aces and converted on four of his 15 break point chances. Federer extended his winning streak to 8-0 over Falla who was a Lucky Loser into the main draw this year as he lost in the last round of qualification on Friday. In the next round, Federer will face Marcel Granollers who beat Matthias Bachinger 6-4 6-3 7-6(7) to advance.

Federer’s compatriot Stan Wawrinka (8) beat Marsel Ihlan 6-3 6-2 6-3. Wawrinka held his serve after a tough opening game. Ilhan had four early break points but failed to convert any of them as they remained on serve until Wawrinka edged ahead 3-2. The Swiss No. 2 got his first break point in the 6th game. He converted and consolidated the break by holding serve for 5-2. Ilhan was able to hold serve in the next game but was unable to recover the break as Wawrinka closed out the set at 6-3.

Wawrinka got the early break in the first game of the second set and earned the double break in the 5th game for 4-1. Wawrinka earned another break point up 5-1 but Ilhan saved it. Wawrinka had no problems taking a 2-0 sets lead over Ilhan 6-3 6-2.  Last year, Wawrinka lost in the first round to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in 4 sets. This year, his French Open campaign opener was far easier as he raced out to a 3-1 lead in the 3rd set. Ilhan earned himself a 6th break point in the 8th game but as with the other 5, he was unable to convert as Wawrinka held serve for 5-3. Wawrinka then broke Ilhan again to take the match 6-3 6-2 6-3.

Kei Nishikori (5) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3 7-5 6-1 already improving on last year’s result when he was knocked out in the 1st round by Martin Klizan. The Japanese player converted 7 of his 15 break point chances. After two tight games to open the match, Nishikori got the first break of the match in the 1st set en route to winning it 6-3. Nishikori went up an early break in the 2nd set but Mathieu reeled off three consecutive games to level it. However, Nishikori would not be denied the set and quickly took back the momentum by taking the set 7-5 and a commanding lead up 2-0 sets. In the 3rd set, both Mathieu and his home crowd were deflated as Nishikori cruised through it 6-1 to take the match in straight sets.

It was not all disappointment for the Frenchmen on this day as both wildcard Nicolas Mahut and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14) won their matches in relative ease. Mahut took out Kimmer Coppejans 6-3 6-4 7-6 and Tsonga beat Christian Lindell 6-1 6-2 6-2. Ernests Gulbis (24) who is having a most dismal year is looking to defend the semifinal points he earned here last year and is 4 matches away from doing so as he won over Igor Sijsling 6-4 6-4 7-6 to get to the next round.

Other winners on the day include Roberto Bautista Agut (19) beat Florian Mayer 6-3 6-1 6-3 setting up a second round encounter against Lukas Rosol who beat Swedish rising star qualifier Elias Yimer 6-2 7-6(7) 6-3. Philipp Kohlschreiber (22), who last year lost a marathon 3rd round match 12-10 in the 5th set against Andy Murray, eased past Go Soeda of Japan 6-1 6-0 6-2. Dudi Sela, Dusan Lajovic and Pablo Andujar also moved through to the 2nd round. Damir Dzumhur was able to get to the next round when after being up 2-0 sets, Mikhail Youzhny retired from the match.

There were two minor upsets on the day, American Steve Johnson taking out the 26th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 6-3 6-7 3-6 6-3 and Marcos Baghdatis knocked out Ivo Karlovic (25) 7-6 6-4 6-4.


Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.



Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 


The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.



Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 


France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final



Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 


Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

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