Roger Federer Ends Novak Djokovic's 3-Year Indoor Dominance at London ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Ends Novak Djokovic’s 3-Year Indoor Dominance at London ATP Finals

Ivan Pasquariello

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Roger Federer celebrates victory number 50 at the ATP Finals and ends Novak Djokovic’s three-year dominance on indoor courts beating the Serb by 7-5 6-2 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. After 23 consecutive matches, Novak loses to the last player who had beaten him in Cincinnati. The last time Novak had lost a match indoor was in 2012 to Sam Querrey in Paris. The Swiss has qualified for the semi-finals at the O2 Arena. 

 

 

There was a lot at stake for Novak Djokovic as he entered the O2 Arena on Wednesday for the big match of the Stan Smith Group. Facing the last opponent that had managed to beat him all the way back in August, the Serb and World No.1 was the player who had it all to lose.

A 38-match indoor winning streak. A 15-match winning streak at the ATP Finals. A 23-match winning streak since that match lost to Federer in the final of Cincinnati, a three-year dominance on indoor courts having lost the last match to Sam Querrey in Paris back in 2012. Finally, a shot at taking the lead in the Head-2-Head record against Roger Federer for the first time in his career. Tied at 21-21 after the US Open final, the Serb had never managed to hold the lead against the Swiss. Clearly, the Round Robin match in London seemed the best chance for Novak to turn that around.

Bidding to become the first player to win the ATP Finals for 4 consecutive times, Djokovic has now to win at all costs against Berdych to reach the semi-finals. Roger Federer on the other hand, has already qualified. If he were to lose a set to Nishikori in the last match of the group, he could also be sure to have the biggest threat sent out packing before the semifinals (if Berdych beats Djokovic in straight sets). It something that will hardly happen, considering the huge amount of respect the top players on the ATP tour have for one another.

Federer won the match simply playing better. More solid on the baseline, more keen to attack on the important points, the Swiss took advantage of a bad day at the office for the Serb. Djokovic closed the match with 22 unforced errors, far more than what the Serb had accustomed us to since winning the US Open in September and then one after the other Beijing, Shanghai and the Paris Masters.

Roger Federer on the other hand, can celebrate his victory number 50 at the ATP World Tour finals, a tournament he has won a record 6 times. Sure to be in the last 4 in London yet again, Roger will play out of pressure against Nishikori on Thursday.

With the win Federer has now tied the Head-2-Head record to 2-2 against Djokovic at the ATP Finals, without counting the final that wasn’t played in 2014.

 

Roger Federer b. Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 17 minutes

RR ATP World Tour Finals

O2 Arena, London

 

Head-2-Head tied at 21-21

 

Federer 1st match

 

+ Berdych 6-4 6-2

 

Djokovic 1st match
+ Nishikori 6-1 6-1

 

MATCH REPORT

 

Roger Federer starts the match on serve, at the left of the chair umpire.

 

THE FIRST SET

 

Novak Djokovic calls for a challenge on the first shot he hits in the match, a return that finishes just long, as confirmed by Hawk-Eye. Federer starts on the aggression, closing the third point at the net with a backhand drop volley and then a winner smash. The rallies are played on the baseline, where the Serb has the control. On a great defensive game, Djokovic gets to break point at 30-40. Federer saves the first chance with a first serve and forehand winner. The Swiss recovers quickly from the early scare, fires his first ace of the match and holds to lead 1-0.

 

With a drop shot and forehand return winner, Federer makes clear his intention to cut the rallies short and not spend too much time on the court. The aggression isn’t enough as the Serb resists and holds serve to 30 to impact on 1-1.

 

Roger starts the third game with his second ace, after a first serve he then fires his third ace of the match. Djokovic responds with a stunning backhand cross-court return clean winner at 40-0. After the aces, Federer also commits his first double fault in the match, but then holds to 30 with another deep first serve aimed at Djokovic’s body.

 

At his third chance, Djokovic wins his first point on a second serve, firing a forehand inside-in winner to get to 30-0. The Serb also loses his first point on first serve, after winning 5 in a row, but holds easily to 15 to tie the score at 2-2. The rallies are within the 5-shot range as Federer hits his 4th ace to get to 40-0. Djokovic steps in again with another stunning backhand return winner to trail back 30-40. The Swiss closes the game with his 5th ace.

 

Serving down 2-3, Djokovic insists on Federer’s backhand, but sees every ball coming back. Federer wins another point with a spectacular backhand drop shot to see his first chance on Djokovic’s serve at 15-30. The Serb attacks with his backhand to cancel the threat, winning the 5th point of the game with a first serve and forehand winner to get to 40-30. Federer loses the battle of backhands hitting long as Djokovic holds to set the score at 3-3.

 

The rallies stay short in the match, with both players looking for the winner right away. On serve Federer manages to keep the edge, holding to 15 as Djokovic hits a forehand wide. With the score at 4-3 in favour of Federer, both players have a 76% of first serves on court.

 

In the 8th game Djokovic finally hits his first ace in the match. Novak attacks on Federer’s backhand to raise to 40-0 and holds serve to love thanks to an impressive centralised second serve. The match continues in its equilibrium with the score set at 4-4.

 

Federer responds with a service game held to love, started with a forehand down the line winner and finished with a backhand down the line winner, sending Djokovic to serve to stay in the match down 4-5. Djokovic starts sending a backhand long, but recovers from 0-15 down winning the point with a smash. Federer misses a chance to get to 15-30 missing a forehand on court open. The Serb hits his first double fault of the match at 40-15, but holds to 30 as Federer exaggerates on a forehand return hitting way too long.

 

With Federer on serve at 5-5, the match doesn’t see a turning point, as the Swiss holds to love, winning the game on a deep second serve. Djokovic is called to serve to stay in the match a second time down 5-6. On the longest rally of the set, it is Federer who wins the baseline battle, forcing Djokovic to hit long with his backhand. The Serb quickly recovers with a first serve on Federer’s serve to lead 30-15. Federer steps in the court, attacks on Djokovic’s backhand and wins the point to get to 30-30. In the following point, on another prolonged rally, Djokovic misses first, hitting a forehand wide. At 30-40 Federer has both his first break point and set point. Djokovic takes control of the baseline, insisting on Federer’s forehand and forcing the Swiss to miss. Djokovic then hits his second ace of the match to get to A-40. Federer stays in the game, winning the following point attacking with his cross court forehand. Djokovic doesn’t close a rally with a smash, Federer comes back in the rally and wins the point as Djokovic hits a backhand in the net. At 40-A Federer has a second set point, this time played on Djokovic’s second serve. The Swiss wins the set in spectacular fashion, attacking with his forehand, Roger wins the point with a backhand drop volley that hits the line.

 

After 44 minues, Roger Federer wins the first set by 7 games to 5.

 

Djokovic closes the set with 11 winners and 11 unforced errors. Federer with 13 winners and 10 unforced errors.

 

THE SECOND SET

 

Federer starts the second set holding serve to 15, closing the first game with a strong first serve on the line. Federer takes control of the baseline in the second game, forcing Djokovic to miss first twice. The Swiss swings a forehand down the line full power to get to 0-40 and see three consecutive break points. On the first break chance, Djokovic wins the point with a first serve and forehand winner. On his third chance, Federer hits a sneaky short slice backhand, on which Djokovic has to use one hand and finishes by hitting a tentative of sliced backhand in the net. Federer breaks in the second game and leads 2-0.

 

The Swiss pays off the effort in the following game, as Djokovic gets to double break point at 15-40. On the first break chance Federer wins the point with a first serve, but on the second the Swiss hits a forehand wide. Djokovic breaks Federer’s serve for the first time in the match to get back to 1-2.

 

Djokovic gets back to 2-2 winning the fourth game with a stunning backahdn down the line winner, which leaves Federer still and turn the crowd on fire. The rallies are now growing longer. Federer serves with new balls at 2-2 but starts the game with a double fault. The Swiss recovers firing his 6th ace, then holds serve with a first serve on the line to regain the lead at 3-2.

 

Djokovic fails to be as continued as seen against Nishikori on his backhand. Missing two in the game, the Serb trails back 15-30. The World No.1 then kills a forehand in the net and faces two break points at 15-40. On his first chance, Federer breks firing a backhand down the line passing shot. As the 02 Arena explodes, the Swiss leads 4-2.

 

Djokovic clearly isn’t moving at his best as he keeps on losing the timing on the ball. Federer takes advantage of the momentum to hold to love as Djokovic hits a forehand wide. Federer leads 5-2 and sends Djokovic to serve to stay in the match.

 

Federer has his first match point in the 8th game, with a stunning backhand cross court passing shot. The first match point sees one of the most intense rallies in the match. Federer loses the point after more than 15 shots, hitting an exhausted backhand in the net. Djokovic misses another forehand to let Federer have his second match point. On the second match point Djokovic hits a forehand that is called out. The Serb asks for the challenge to verify the call. Hawk-Eye confirms the call ending the match after 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Federer closed the match with 19 winners and 19 unforced errors and over 70% of the points won on first serve. Djokovic finished with 12 winners and 22 unforced errors.

 

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Andy Murray To Return To Action Next Month In Six-Day Tournament Organized By Brother Jamie

A date has been confirmed for when the three-time grand slam champion will return to competitive tennis following his injury-related absence.

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Former world No.1 Andy Murray will be one of the headline acts at a all-British tennis tournament set to take place in Roehampton next month.

 

The ‘Schroders Battle of the Brits’ is a six-day event that features some of the country’s top players. Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and organiser Jamie Murray are also set to take part. The tournament, which aims to raise at least £100,000 for the NHS, will feature both doubles and singles matches. It has also managed to secure a broadcast deal with Amazon Prime agreeing to screen the tournament live.

“The last few months have been incredibly challenging times for everyone and we see this event as our way of giving back,” Jamie Murray told the Associated Press.
“A lot of work has gone in to make sure this could happen and we are very excited to be able to bring an action-packed week of tennis, while raising valuable funds for NHS heroes to say thank you for the amazing work they have done.”

Next month’s event should provide tennis fans with a glimpse of Andy’s current fitness following his break from the sport in recent time. The three-time grand slam champion last played a competitive match in the Davis Cup finals last November and has been sidelined from action since then due to pelvic bruising. Last year he underwent hip resurfacing surgery before returning to action and winning the European Open in October. During an Instagram Live chat with Rafael Nadal on April 20th he said he physically ‘felt pretty good’ without going into specifics.

“I’m really excited to be putting on Schroders Battle of the Brits and for the first time bringing together the current generation of British male players to compete against one another while raising significant funds for charity,” Brother Jamie said.
“I am particularly grateful to our broadcast partner here in the UK, Amazon Prime Video, for enabling this event to happen.”

Scott Lloyd, who is the CEO of the Lawn Tennis Asscoiation, has said he and his team are working closely with Jamie Murray regarding the upcoming event.

“The LTA is looking forward to bringing tennis back into people’s lives this summer and are excited about events like this inspiring fans to get involved in our sport and pick up a racket,” Lloyd said in a statement

Recently the LTA announced that they are launching the British Tour during July which will feature four tournaments taking place within as many weeks. Those events will be open to the country’s 16 highest ranked players in the men’s and women’s game with prize money also up for grabs.

The Schroders Battle of the Brits will take place between June 23 to 28.

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Roger Federer Sends Retirement Message To Controversial Broadcaster But Did He Know Him?

Was this something the world No.4 personally wanted to do or was it just a massive publicity stunt?

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When Roger Federer and his PR team sent a video message to a 79-year-old Australian broadcaster they never anticipated the backlash it would attract.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion was one of a series of top names to pay tribute to Alan Jones. A former national rugby coach who has recently announced he is stepping down from his media commitments due to health reasons. During an interview with Sky News Australia, which he works for, Jones was shown a video of Federer wishing him well for the future.

“Alan, it’s Roger here. I wanted to wish you all the very best for what’s to come, and many congratulations on an amazing 35-year career in the media business,” Federer said.
“Take care and all the best.”

Federer wasn’t the only person to send their well wishes. Others include athletics great Usian Bolt and Lleyton Hewitt, who hailed Jones for the support he has received over the years. However, it is a little bit more complex than that for Federer.

In his home country Jones is a renowned but controversial figure who has been in trouble numerous times. He has been accused of sexism against a series of top female officials. One of the most notable being back in 2012 when he said the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard was a liar and her father ‘died of shame.’ He was involved in the cash for comment scandal back in 1999, which uncovered that a series of radio hosts was paid to say favourable stuff about certain companies. In another incident he suggested that Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down the throat” of the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and that she should be “backhanded”.

In the aftermath of the backlash, it has since emerged that Federer’s video has been removed from Jones’ Instagram account as well as the 2GB website, which is the radio station the broadcaster also works for. Although an archive copy of it can be seen here. It is unclear if that action was done due to the backlash or if it was due to a request from Federer’s team.

It is unclear as to how familiar Federer is with Jones or if the two have even met in person. UbiTennis tried to find online evidence of the two at least talking at some stage over the past 10 years and was unable to find a single news source that mentioned this. The only reference that involves the two was back in 2011 when Jones said cricketer Nathan Bracken was the ‘Roger Federer of one day cricket.’  Hardly proof of the two being friends or even acquaintances at some point.

The video from Federer was secured by James Willis, who is the producer of Jones’ show. Although it is unclear as to how he went about it and how much the Swiss maestro actually knew about the person he sent it to. A somewhat confusing and bizarre situation for the tennis great.

Transcript of Jones’ reaction to Federer’s message whilst live on 2GB.

Willis: Last Friday I managed to secure a farewell from Usain Bolt for you. I may have gone one better, with the greatest tennis player in the modern era. Here we go.
[message from Federer plays]
Willis: That’s not bad. come one, Usain Bolt last Friday, Roger…
Jones: Shut up
Willis: I’ve got one more. How can I outdo that? any requests?
Jones: [laughing]
[both laughing]
Jones: Oh dear, Riley, save me will you? Goodness me.
Willis: Play it again
Jones: Yeah play it again
[message plays]
Jones: Isn’t that lovely. a lovely human being. We could tell a few stories there I could tell you…
Source – https://ketanjoshi.co

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EXCLUSIVE: Denis Istomin Doubtful 2020 Season Will Resume As He Backs Djokovic’s Vaccination Stance

Ubitennis has spoken to the former top 40 tennis star about how he is coping during the Tour shutdown and what he thinks the future has in store for the sport.

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Many tennis fans know Denis Istomin thanks to his second-round victory at the 2017 Australian Open over the then world number 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic. In the current ATP ranking, the 33-year-old Uzbek tennis player can be found in 156th place, but he has a best ranking of 33 achieved in 2012. 

Where have you been during the lockdown?

 

I have been spending this time in Almaty [city in Kazakhstan, Ed.] with my family.

Did you resume training and playing tennis in this period?

Tennis clubs in Almaty have just reopened again, so for now I am still focusing on fitness training. Most likely, I will start playing tennis again on May 25th.

During this time, did you have a chance to talk to any of your colleagues about the current situation? Nadal thinks that the ATP Tour will not resume in 2020. What is the other pros’ viewpoint on this? 

Indeed, I spoke with some colleagues who are also my friends about the current situation in which we are living. If you ask me and other players, professional tennis will not resume in 2020.

Do you think it is the same for the remaining two Grand Slam tournaments – the US Open and the French Open?

I would like them to take place. However, I think the chance that it happens is really, really low.

What do you think of the French tennis federation’s decision to postpone the event?

They took the most convenient decision for them, but they did not take the calendar or the players into consideration. In this situation, if the tournament takes place anyway, then surely it will benefit most players, since what they really want is to just be able to play.

Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal suggested the creation of a Player Relief fund to help players ranked outside the top 100 in the ATP ranking. What do you think of this initiative?

I think it is a great idea, because this is a very difficult time for all tennis players, especially those with low ranking who do not have a chance to play the Slams and the ATP tournaments – certainly, many of them are considering giving up professional tennis. I hope that the money pledged through the Fund will help motivate them to keep playing.

Dominic Thiem initially criticised the project, saying that some players are not really committed when playing minor tournaments like Futures. Do you agree with this statement?

I haven’t played Futures for quite some time, but anyway everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Surely, there are players who are not always 100% committed! Likewise, there are many players who work very hard and do not have enough money to travel to and play in those tournaments. Perhaps, these players do not even have a chance to be accompanied by a coach, given that the Futures prize money hasn’t increased by much in the last 20 years. I cannot say I fully agree or disagree with that statement. Both viewpoints make sense. The only thing I didn’t like much was that Dominic’s statement was public – he should have discussed the matter with the ATP or with the players beforehand.

Thiem as well as Matteo Berrettini said that everyone should be free to decide which charitable donations to make and to whom – for instance, hospitals or other organisations – and that the ATP should not force anyone to endorse the Player Relief Fund. What do you think about this?

I agree. Everyone’s own financial situation is different, and I believe that everyone should be able to contribute according to their available resources – no one should feel compelled. Each of us should be able to decide by themselves whom to help and how.

Novak Djokovic revealed that he would be against a potentially compulsory vaccine for COVID-19. This statement caused an uproar among many people who accused Novak to be against science. What is your viewpoint?

Let them accuse me too then! I agree with Novak! There cannot be a compulsory vaccine – every person should be able to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.

Do you have any idea of when ATP tournaments will resume on the tennis tour?

I think that the next two years will be really hard for the ATP tour! I hope we can start again soon, but we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Since the pandemic is not over yet, the main goal remains staying healthy.

What do you think of Patrick Mouratoglou’s initiative – the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (i.e., the exhibition tournament organised by him)?

It is an excellent idea! Tennis players need to play matches, no matter if they are exhibitions or actual tournaments. I hope that all tennis federations will follow his example and organise something similar for their own players.

Interview conducted by Silvia Aresi
Translation by Riccardo Superbo

 

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