How Novak Djokovic Not Only Overcame Roger Federer, But Also the U.S. Fans - UBITENNIS
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How Novak Djokovic Not Only Overcame Roger Federer, But Also the U.S. Fans

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By James Beck,

 

 

NEW YORK – The last U.S. Open without a complete roof was an overwhelming success. The rain started as soon as the women’s final ended, and then again just before the men’s final was to begin.

No harm done on Sunday evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Some fans in one end zone’s upper deck even benefitted from a partial roof while waiting out the two-hour delay before the start of the Roger Federer-Novak Djokovic men’s final.

RAIN DELAY MADE THE FINAL BETTER

The delay just made the main event that much better, as it should have been: the match of the tournament. Yes, Djokovic’s four-set win over Federer was much more thrilling and better played than Flavia Pennetta’s easy victory over old friend Roberta Vinci in the women’s final or Vinci’s upset of Serena Williams.

Federer gave the impression all week that Arthur Ashe Stadium now belonged in his arsenal of weapons as a result of the partial roof that reduced the effects of the wind. The TV commentators, mainly Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe, ate it up. It was perfect for his game, Federer made viewers think.

It was like Djokovic’s game was sour, not suitable for such a perfect Federer condition. When asked a couple of days before the finish what all of the upsets meant, a beaming McEnroe answered something like: “What this means is that Federer’s gonna win another major.”

POOR NOVAK JUST HAD TO TAKE THE FAN ABUSE

No wonder the fans treated Djokovic so rudely Sunday night. If the ESPN gang could be so outrageously supportive of Federer, why not the crowd, too. Poor Novak just had to take all of the abuse from the fans.

Even the court announcer introduced Federer “as arguably the greatest player ever.”

Wow, and here’s little Novak going for his third major of the year, playing in his fourth major final of 2015. He was only going for Grand Slam No. 10.

FEDERER OVERWHELMED IN RECENT YEARS BY COMPETITION

Lost in all of this was the fact that many of Federer’s Grand Slam conquests came in the age of “no real challengers” to his superb talent, the time before Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray came into their own.

And for Djokovic, it’s been war after war, fighting off Nadal, Federer and Murray to win his share of Grand Slam titles. All of the competition just made Novak better, while it seemed to overwhelm Federer in recent years.

Federer was back this year in the spotlight in New York as the men’s tour seemed to go flat late in the year, except for Djokovic and Federer. Nadal wasn’t his old tenacious self and Murray looked kind of tired.

FANS TRIED TO CARRY ROGER PAST NOVAK

The fans thought they could carry Federer on their shoulders past a player who is quietly and quickly putting his own stamp on being one of the greatest players ever, maybe right there with Rod Laver and the others.

“Double (fault),” someone would yell as Djokovic started his service motion on a critical point late in the match. The fan outbursts were always timed perfectly for the big moments when Djokovic faced a huge break point or break points, or when it appeared that Novak was just about ready to send Federer to the showers.

Federer had unbridled fan support all night, while Djokovic caught the wrath of the fans. Djokovic would just stand on the service line, look up into the eyes of his real enemy – the fans – and come up with a huge serve or brilliant shot. The bigger the moment, the more determined Djokovic appeared.

MOST MEMORABLE POINT OF MATCH

The most memorable point of the entire match was as Djokovic served with a 3-2, ad-in advantage in the fourth set. This was the killer point that could put Federer away. So, a fan tries to help Federer by yelling “Double” just as Novak went into his service motion. Djokovic stopped, looked up for a second, then responded emphatically with an ace.

That pretty much sealed the deal as Djokovic then broke Federer in the next game for a 5-2 lead. Of course, it wasn’t over as Federer broke right back and then held service before gaining double break point in the 10th game.

The fans went wild, thinking their man was going to even the set, but Djokovic got back to deuce twice before coming up with two strong serves that Federer couldn’t return into play. Roger Federer is a great player who gave a brilliant performance, but at the current time in their careers

Novak Djokovic is the better player.

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James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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