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



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




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




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.




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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Novak Djokovic Included In ATP Cup Field, Expected To Play Australian Open

The world No.1 is down to play in the team tournament but he is yet to publicly comment.




Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic has officially been named in the line-up for next month’s ATP Cup in what is the biggest indication yet that he will travel to Australia.


The 20-time Grand Slam champion is set to headline the team event in Sydney which will feature 18 out of the world’s top 20 players. Djokovic guided Serbia to the title back in 2020 but this year they failed to progress beyond the knockout stages after losing to Germany. The country is the top seeds for the 2021 edition and have been drawn in Group A along with Norway, Chile and Spain. Seedings in the event are determined by the ranking of the country’s top player.

Djokovic’s inclusion in the squad is the biggest hint yet that he intends to defend his title at the upcoming Australian Open which will only allow players who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate. The rules are in line with a health mandate that has been implemented in the state of Victoria. In recent weeks the 34-year-old has refused to disclose his vaccination status and has been coy about his plans at the Melbourne major.

“The players are aware of the conditions if they come to Australia so if they’re playing in the ATP Cup we’re expecting all those players to play the Australian Open,” tournament director Tom Larner told reporters on Tuesday.

The region where the ATP Cup is played doesn’t have the same entry criteria as the Australian Open regarding a mandatory vaccination. However, unvaccinated players will have to apply for an exemption and then go through a 14-day quarantine if they still wanted to play in the event.

Besides Djokovic, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini are all set to play. The event will also see the return of Dominic Thiem who hasn’t played on the Tour since June due to a wrist injury. Stefanos Tsitsipas is also on the entry list despite recently undergoing surgery on his elbow.

“There’s no better place for us to launch the 2022 season than with the ATP Cup in Sydney. The players have loved competing at this event in recent years and the 2022 player field speaks for itself. We’re delighted that fans will be able to see so many of the world’s best representing their countries in the opening week of the season and we look forward to a fantastic event.” ATP Cup Chief Tour Officer Ross Hutchins said in a statement.

A total of 16 countries are participating in the ATP Cup and they have been split into four groups of four. The winner of each group will then move into the semi-finals. Each tie will consist of two singles matches and one doubles. A total of USD$10 million in prize money is up for grabs and singles players can earn a maximum of 750 ranking points.

The ATP Cup is set to get underway on January 1st.

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Bianca Andreescu delays season won’t travel to Australia

Bianca Andreescu will miss the start of the season in Australia after a tough 2021 season.




Bianca Andreescu (@OduNews1 - Twitter)

The Canadian went on social media to break the news that she needs a little more time to rehab, prepare and focus on mental health.


Bianca Andreescu’s most recent tennis season wasn’t easy and amid a difficult year with highs and lows with twists and turns, she has decided to delay the beginning of her season.

The Toronto native took to Twitter to break the news to announce she was going through a difficult time including the fact she was worried about her grandmother who was in the ICU due to Covid.

Andreescu got off to a slow start last season losing in the second round of the Australian Open but bounced back in Miami in the first WTA 1000 tournament of the year making the final.

In that final, she faced the world number one Ash Barty but was actually forced to retire after a scary tumble for her first injury of the season. The clay-court season was even more hectic as she had tested positive for Covid herself and played one tune-up event prior to the French Open.

She won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out of precaution due to an ab tear and ended up being upset in the first round of Roland Garros to the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek.

She then turned to the grass-court season where she won one match in Eastbourne, one where she struggled to get past the American qualifier Christina Mchale but managed to pull it off in three sets.

She lost her next match to the Estonian Anett Kontaveitt in straight sets and went on to her next grass-court event in the German capital of Berlin. She was upset once again by Alize Cornet of France.

She faced Cornet once again in round one of Wimbledon but again failed to get the win. She then played her home event the National Bank Open in Montreal where she lost in the round of 16 to the Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

In Cincinnati, she suffered another first-round exit at the hands of the Czech Karolina Muchova but managed to have a great US Open run in New York where again she made the round of 16.

She eventually lost to Maria Sakkari of Greece in a tough three-set match and played two more events in Chicago and Indian Wells. In the windy city, she lost her opening match to Shelby Rodgers and made the second round in California losing once again to Kontaveitt.

After all her 2019 points dropped off she is now ranked 46 in the world.

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Davis Cup Chiefs Presses Ahead With Five-City Plan But Admits Not Everybody Will Be Happy

Unanswered questions remain over the staging of next year’s historic team event but both Kosmos and the ITF are confident about their plans.




MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 05: Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on December 05, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

The Organizers of the Davis Cup say that they can’t avoid negative ‘noise’ about them after revealing their plans for the 2022 edition of the tournament.


Next year will see the finals of the competition staged across five cities over a 11-day period. The number of teams participating will be cut from 18 to 16 and then split into four groups. Each group will play in a designated city which will be held in a country of one of the qualified teams. Those who progress to the knockout stages will then have to fly to a ‘neutral’ location for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

There remain a lot of unanswered questions about the latest format change with the host cities yet to be revealed. Something which confused many journalists on Sunday after they originally received an invitation titled ‘next destination’ which indicated that the name of the host countries would be revealed. It is widely speculated that Abu Dhabi will be one of the main cities selected for 2022 and is strongly favoured to host the knockout stages. A somewhat controversial decision to move the event to an area which doesn’t have a rich Davis Cup history.

Refusing to name any countries, the president of the International Tennis Federation, David Haggerty, told reporters that he is ‘unaware’ of any opposition to where the tournament could be held. Even though Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt last week accused officials of ‘selling the soul’ of the competition amid reports it could be heading to the UAE.

“I can tell you that we are in final negotiations. We haven’t signed so we didn’t think it was proper to make an announcement. There is no opposition that we’re aware of. We’re very pleased with the preferred city that we’re in final stages with,” Said Haggerty.

Enric Rojas is the president of Investment firm Kosmos who are in charge of overseeing the Davis Cup after signing a 25-year deal worth millions back in 2018. He confirmed that discussions have taken place with various stakeholders about the competition but it is unclear as to how much say they have had in the decision making process. Whilst the 2021 finals has been praised by some, Rojas acknowledges that he is unable to please everybody.

“We cannot avoid some noise around everything we do. We have faced that since 2018 and in 2019, now in 2021, especially coming from a few countries,” he said.
“I have the feeling after speaking to many players, captains and federations that the noise that we are hearing is because of Abu Dhabi or because of other things, that noise will always happen irrespective of whatever you do.’
“There will be some flexibility in the process, but we are looking for having agreements with the host cities and the countries in between three and five years.”

There is still more clarity needed on the staging of the competition. One of which being what happens if a country who has agreed to host the group stages of the event over a fixed period doesn’t qualify one year. Will they continue to host the competition or do they lose out to another country? One option to avoid this could be the use of wildcards but organisers normally change countries each year.

As for the players, all concede that having an event such as the Davis Cup at the end of a long season is a massive challenge. Marin Cilic played in the title match on Sunday where Croatia lost 2-0 to the Russian Tennis Federation.

It definitely is different,” Cilic commented on the Davis Cup changes in recent years. “But it’s tough to say in the end what is better, what is not. For us the whole system worked. This new system worked amazingly well.”

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev has voiced his backing to the prospect of having the 2022 finals staged across Europe, then moving the knockout stages to the Middle East. However, he admits the timing of the competition is problematic for some of his peers.

“I think the idea itself is very good. Of course, the calendar doesn’t let Davis Cup be in any other week, so that’s where it’s tough. That’s where some top players are not going to play because it’s the end of the season, somebody’s burned out, somebody’s injured, somebody wants to prepare well for Australia, so that’s not easy.” Medvedev told reporters on Sunday.
“It’s going to be tough for any player, especially those who play the Masters (ATP Finals), to be able to cope up with the season.” He added.

According to Kosmos, the four cities which will host the group ties will have to go through a bidding process with the final decision made next March. As for the fifth neutral venue, Abu Dhabi has been described as the ‘preferred option’ but it hasn’t been officially signed off yet. It has been confirmed that the entire 2022 Finals must be staged indoors regardless of the host country in order to minimised players need to adapt to various conditions.

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