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




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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



Hubert Hurkacz Aims To Build On Delray Beach Triumph

The best way to start the season for the world No.35.




Hubert Hurkacz (image via

Poland’s Herbert Hurkacz says he hopes to play at an even higher level over the coming weeks after winning the Delray Beach Open title on Wednesday.


The world No.35 eased to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Sebastian Korda in the final to claim only the second title in his career after Winston Salem back in 2018. Hurkacz, who was the fourth seed in the tournament, didn’t drop a set all week en route to becoming the first Polish player in history to win the title. In the final he won 68% of his service points and broke Korda four times overall.

“It feels great. It is great to win the title and I am so happy about that. This Is a great start to the season,” Hurkacz said afterwards.
“I am happy that I am improving and we (my team) are doing good stuff with C.B (coach Craig Boynton), and things are working. So I am really pleased with this result.”

The 23-year-old is hoping to improve on what was a challenging 2020 season for him. After reaching the semi-finals of the Auckland Open in January last year, he could only win back-to-back matches in two out of his next 12 tournaments prior to Delray Beach. His best Grand Slam result was reaching the third round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

Seeking to break new territory in 2021, Hurkacz will today start his 24-hour journey to Australia which begins with a 5am departure from America this morning. His coach Craig Boynton also currently worked with Steve Johnson and previously mentored Jim Courier.

“It’s the beginning of the season and I still need to work on a couple of things, but I hope I can play even better in Australia,” Hurkacz stated.

Hurkacz is only the second Polish player to have won an ATP Tour title in the Open Era after Wojciech Fibak. At present he is the only player from his country ranked inside the top 100 on the Tour.

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Cristian Garin Out Of Australian Open Following Fall

The South American tennis star will not travel to Melbourne due to both injury and the travel restrictions implemented.




Chile’s Cristian Garin has become the third top 30 player to pull out of the men’s draw at next month’s Australian Open.


The world No.22 has confirmed that he will not be travelling to the Grand Slam after suffering a fall in which he hurt his wrist a week ago. Announcing his decision on Instagram, Garin said the limitations in place at the tournament which wouldn’t allow him to travel with his physio played a factor. This year’s Australian Open is taking place amid strict COVID-19 rules which requires players to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and limits the number of team members they can bring. The majority of players will be spending their quarantine in Melbourne but the top names will be in Adelaide following a recent deal secured by Tennis Australia.

I am very sad to report that a week ago I suffered a fall, which left me with a lot of pain in my left wrist (sprain),” Garin wrote on his Instagram story. “It has been very difficult for me to play the last days and given the restrictions of the tour, they do not allow me to travel with my physiotherapist, which makes it impossible to find a good recovery. Unfortunately I will not be able to play this year in Australia, which is something very difficult for me to accept. I hope to return in good condition and with the best energy for the tour in South America.”

photo via –

Garin kicked-off his season on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open where he was the top seed. However, he lost his opening match in straight sets to Christian Harrison who went on to reach the semi-finals. It is only the second tournament he has played since the French Open in October.

The setback comes after the 24-year-old confirmed that he has started working with Franco Davin back in November. A tennis coach known best for his work with Juan Martin del Potro. Davin has also previously worked with Grigor Dimitrov and Kyle Edmund.

The withdrawal of Garin follows that of Roger Federer and John Isner. Former champion Federer has pulled out due to his ongoing recovery from a right knee injury. Although one Australian Open official believes his decision was due to another factor. Meanwhile, Isner has opted not to travel to Australia because he didn’t want to spend an extended time away from his family.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

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Christian Harrison Speaks Out After ATP Fines Him For Not Wearing A Mask

The American says he is against ‘masking people for the sake of it for TV.’




Christian Harrison (image via

American tennis player Christian Harrison has said he will appeal a fine issued to him at the Delray Beach Open after he refused to do an on-court interview because he was required to wear a mask.


The ATP has slammed the 789th ranked player with a fine of $3000 for refusing to do the mandatory interview. However, Harrison is arguing his case by saying he believed that wearing a mask was optional and has been told by the tournament supervisor he can appeal against the fine. He has previously spoken out against wearing masks after writing last week ‘Healthy enough to play 3 hour matches. But I’m an absolute safety hazard walking maskless through a restaurant.’ On Twitter he also liked a Tweet last month by Political commentator Liz Wheeler who wrote ‘Wear a mask until EVERY person is vaccinated?! Are you insane?’

“Christian Harrison was fined $3,000 for declining the mandatory post-match on-court interview following his second round win over Cristian Garin on Saturday,” the ATP said in a statement.

Arguing his defence Harrison wrote on social media that it is ‘not healthy’ to wear a mask in the sun for longer than necessary after a match. The rule implemented is one of a series that has been taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In America, where Harrison is playing at the Delray Beach Open, the country has recorded more deaths from the virus than any other.

“After my second round match I chose not to do my post match interview due to wearing a mask. It’s not healthy to wear a mask in the hot sun for more time than absolutely necessary after a tough match,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I was given the impression it was optional. I wasn’t told I would be fined. That night I was told it is a requirement for T.V. matches and I would be fined. When I spoke to the supervisor the following morning, I was told since I wasn’t notified that it was mandatory I could appeal the fine and it would be taken away. Unless something changes now I still believe that to be true.”

Refusing to admit any wrongdoing, the 26-year-old says he ‘doesn’t agree’ with masking people for the sake of TV. Although he has stated that he will follow the rules in the future.

“I was required to do a sit down interview after the match with the same person which I agreed to and I did not have to wear a mask for it,” he continues.
“It’s not about safety to wear mask for TV to talk to a microphone with no one around . Playing the tournaments I’ll follow whatever is required even if I don’t agree with it. I don’t support masking people for the sake of it for TV.”

The controversy coincides with Harrison’s fairytale run at the Delray Beach Open this week. On Monday he defeated Gianluca Mager 7-6(2), 6-4, to reach the semi-finals of an ATP tournament for the first time in his career. He did wear a mask during his on-court interview following that win. The breakthrough comes after more than a decade of setbacks for Harrison who has undergone a total of eight surgeries on both legs, both hips, his right wrist, and both adductors.

Harrison will play fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals.

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