Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray To Achieve His French Open Dream - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray To Achieve His French Open Dream

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Novak Djokovic have won his maiden French Open title after defeating Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, in the final at Roland Garros.

The encounter had historic consequences for both players. Djokovic was within touching distance of the elusive French Open title, having the chance to become only the third man in history to hold all four major titles at once. Only tennis legends Don Budge and Rod Laver had previously achieved the grand slam quartet. Meanwhile, Murray had the chance of becoming the first British man to win a French Open title since Fred Perry in 1935.

After getting off to a flying start by breaking Murray to love in the first game of the match, Djokovic came under a barrage of sublime shots from the world No.2. Recovering the break with an overhead lob, Murray continued his attack with a four-game winning streak. The early defensive play produced by Murray triggered a surge in Djokovic errors as the Serbian appeared unsettled in his fourth French Open final. The top seed threatened to break back, but Murray valiantly kept battling to extend the lead to 5-2.

Controversy erupted when Murray served for the set. A serve down the line was called out before the umpire ruled the shot in. He decided to reward the point to Murray, triggering a massive boo from the crowd. The reasoning was that the ball was called out after Djokovic returned the ball out, therefore not affecting the Serbian’s play. The incident did little to impact Murray as he clinched the opening set following error No.13 from his opponent.

Despite dropping the first set, Djokovic has come back from a set down on four previous occasions to defeat Murray. History was once again poised to repeat itself when the top seed broke for 2-0 at the start of the second set following a costly double fault from Murray. The early promise shown by Murray was over as the world No.1 dominated the remainder of the set, securing the double break for 5-1 with a backhand down the line. The injection in Djokovic’s form left Murray confused on the court as the Serbian levelled the match at one set all with a serve down the line, which was unsuccessfully returned by Murray.

Djokovic had an answer to every shot his rival threw at him. His tentative start to the match was over as the world No.1 dictated Murray around the court. A long rally resulted in Murray making a drop-shot error, handing Djokovic a lead in the match for the first time. Fatigue also contributed towards the decline in Murray’s play as his mentality was in pieces. A sublime backhand pickup gifted the top seed another double break as his French Open dream was starting to become a growing reality.

Clinching the two sets lead following a Murray error, Djokovic was coasting to his maiden French Open title against the low-spirited British No.1.

The damage inflicted by Djokovic on a tiring Murray was devastating. Capitalising on the erratic state of Murray’s game, the fourth set saw a display of outstanding tennis from the top seed, who broke for the sixth time in the match for 2-0. A forehand winner down the line secured a further break to move Djokovic to one game away from the title.

A late blip in the match resulted in Murray valiantly battling back to retrieve one of the breaks. Failing to serve the match out on his first attempt, Djokovic had to contend with an unexpected resurgent Murray on his second. A ball returned out rewarded Djokovic two chances to win the title. Squandering both opportunities with errors, it was third time lucky when a return into the net from Murray booked Djokovic’s place in tennis history.

A dream come true

Losing in three previous French Open finals, Djokovic has finally triumphed at the tournament. It is a fairy-tale outcome for the 29-year-old, who had been strangled by expectation. He had won 11 previous grand slam titles, however, many had argued that he couldn’t be elevated to the list of all-time greats until he succeeded at Roland Garros. Djokovic is only the fourth man in history to win a specific grand slam title after losing in the final on three previous occasions.

“It is truly a very special moment, maybe the best in my career,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
“The most important thing for me today was to feel what I felt for the first time here at Roland Garros. I wrote the heart on the court as Guga (Gustavo Kuerten) did, he gave me permission.” the new champion joked.

The new champion also paid tribute to Murray, a player who he has now defeated 24 times out of their 34 encounters.

“It was a pleasure to play against you once more, I’m sure I will be seeing you with the big trophies in the future,” Djokovic said to Murray.

Djokovic is eighth and the second oldest man is history is achieve a career grand slam. The oldest was Andrew Agassi, who was just 24 days older when he won the quartet.

The world No.1 walks away from the tournament with 2000 ATP ranking points and €2,000,000 in prize money.

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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