Is it fair to call Novak Djokovic’s 2015 better than Federer’s 2006 triumph? - UBITENNIS
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Is it fair to call Novak Djokovic’s 2015 better than Federer’s 2006 triumph?

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Novak Djokovic (left) and Roger Federer (right) – image via Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Novak Djokovic is experiencing the greatest year of his career as he claimed his 9th title of 2015 in Shanghai on Sunday.

In the final of the Shanghai Masters he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets to claim his 25th Masters title and back-to-back titles in China. Speaking after his win in Shanghai, the world No.1 described this year as his best yet.

“It’s the best year of my life, no question about it,” Djokovic said.
“Everything is working great. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be able to play this well.”

The Serbian is guaranteed to finish the year at the top of the rankings as he leads his nearest rival, Andy Murray, by an untouchable 8025 points. This year Djokovic has won three out of four Grand Slam titles and is currently on a 17-match winning streak. His current ranking points is 16,785 which surpasses Federer’s total in 2006. During 2006 Federer accumulated 8370 points which is equivalent to 15675 points in today’s ranking system. Nevertheless, if Djokovic wants to win more matches than Federer did in 2006, he needs to win 20 more.

Glancing at the figures, it clearly indicates that Djokovic has produced a more dominant season than Federer in 2006 but is this a fair representation considering Federer won more matches and titles during his best season?

In 2006 Federer won five ATP titles, three Masters Tournaments, three Grand Slams and the end of the year finals. In comparison Djokovic has won five Masters titles, one ATP title and three Grand Slam titles as he prepares to end his season at the ATP Tour Finals next month. Federer ended 2006 with 92-5 (95% winning rate) compared to Djokovic, who is currently at 73-5 (93.5% winning rate).

Federer won $8,333,585 in prize money during 2006 which is almost half of what Djokovic has so far earned this year (15,986,990). There are two reasons why Djokovic’s prize money overwhelms Federer’s. First is the natural increase in tournament winnings over the years. Also the level of Djokovic’s titles is of a higher calibre the Swiss (more Masters 1000 titles). The prize money for a Masters winner is approximately three times more than a ATP 500 event and 6 times more than a ATP 250 event.

One way to distinguish the two men could be by looking at their rivals during their best season, however this approach can be very subjective. In 2006 Federer defeated Tomas Berdych, Fernando Gonzalez, Ivan ljubicic and James Blake to claim a series of titles. His biggest 2006 nemesis was a young Rafael Nadal, who Federer lost to in four out of five finals. If if wasn’t for Nadal, Federer could of won 16 titles instead of 12. In comparison Djokovic has reached 13 finals, winning 9 of them. The Serbian final opponents include Milos Raonic, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Six of Djokovic’s finals have been against Federer with the world No.1 winning four of them.

Another factor to take into account is that the season is still ongoing for Djokovic, who will play at the BNP Paribas Masters before ending his year at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

There is no easy way to label one season greater than the other. Some will say Djokovic due to his Masters triumphs in a field which consist of some of the best players in the modern era. On the other hand Federer won the most matches in 2006 since Ivan Lendl back in 1982 and reached the final in 16 out of 17 tournaments (the only exception was the Cincinnati Masters where he lost to Andy Murray in the second round). There is one certainty, both seasons have cemented their place as one of the greatest players in the modern era.

Roger Federer’s 2006 season

ATP Doha Open – Champion
Australian Open – champion
ATP Dubai – Runner-up
Indian Wells Masters – Champion
Miami Masters – Champion
Monte Carlo Masters – Runner-up
Rome Masters – runner-up
French Open – runner-up
ATP Halle – Champion
Wimbledon – Champion
Toronto Masters – champion
Cincinnati Masters – R2
US Open – Champion
ATP Tokyo – Champion
Madrid Masters – Champion
ATP Basel – Champion
ATP Finals – Champion

Novak Djokovic’s 2015 season

ATP Doha – Quarter-finals
Australian Open – Champion
ATP Dubai – Runner Up
Indian Wells Masters – Champion
Miami Masters – Champion
Monte Carlo Masters – Champion
Rome Masters – Champion
French Open – Runner Up
Wimbledon – Champion
Canadian Open Masters – Runner-up
Cincinnati Masters – Runner-up
US Open – Champion
ATP Beijing – Champion
Shanghai Masters – Champion
BNP Paribas Masters – To be played
ATP World Tour Finals – To be played

The first match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer – 2006 Monte Carlo Masters R2

Their latest match – 2015 US Open final

Note – Ubitennis does not own either of these videos.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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