Novak Djokovic Seeks To Learn From His Past Sacrifices At The French Open - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Seeks To Learn From His Past Sacrifices At The French Open



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When Novak Djokovic finally clinched the French Open trophy in 2016, it appeared as if the Serbian was an unstoppable force in the men’s game. Unknown to many at the time, it was an achievement that came with costly consequences.

Facing Andy Murray in last year’s final, the Serbian lived up to the expectation and hype by prevailing in four sets. Finally, Djokovic had triumphed in Roland Garros after falling short on 11 previous occasions. He was very much living in the moment when he lifted the trophy, but after the match he faced uncertainty.

“This title in Paris was, with my first Wimbledon in 2011, the most special title I won because of the story behind it and all the expectation it generated.” Djokovic told La Parisien.”I was several times so close … And as I got closer each year, the excitement but also the pressure grew in my mind. I did not even realize, when I won, how much energy I had spent and how mentally I was both satisfied and emptied.”

During the second half of 2016, a combination of injury and motivational issues loosened Djokovic’s stronghold on the tour. A shock Wimbledon exit to Sam Querrey was the first of a series of setbacks to occur. His sole achievement during that six-month period was winning the Canadian Masters. Djokovic’s slump was one that enabled Murray to claim the No.1 position from him.

Djokovic’s French Open hangover resulted in inevitable criticism from some. His highly successful three-year partnership with Boris Becker was no longer working out as the two parted ways in December on admirable grounds. Suddenly, he was left looking for answers and motivation to compete. A scenario that took him almost a year to solve.

“I felt a bit unbalanced, a little shaken. And it took me a long time, until recently, to rebalance myself mentally, emotionally and start to regain that spark.” He said.
“I was also surprised because I had never had this concern to have to motivate me. The main reason I play tennis is because I like it, because it gives me a lot of joy to hit the ball.”

The roller coaster journey continues this year. Leading into the French Open, Djokovic has achieved a win-loss of 20-6 in 2017. His sole title occurred at the start of 2017 in Doha. Since then, he has only managed to reach the final in one out of six tournaments played. The up-and-down results prompted Djokovic’s decision to dismiss his entire coaching staff in a bid to revive his game.

“I grew up being trained in a certain way. You feel like a robot, but you are a human being, you have emotions, and when your life begins to change, it affects you as a tennis player. We cannot separate the two. I felt that a change was necessary, and that’s why I made this decision to change my staff.”

Returning to a place that mentally bruised Djokovic, he hopes to learn from past mistakes with new coach Andre Agassi. The two will work together for a trial period. The new partnership has generated excitement in the world of tennis with ex-coach Becker backing Djokovic’s decision.

“We’re still close, we still talk a lot. I heard the name Agassi for a while and I think it’s a good choice,” Becker said.
“Ideally you don’t want to start at the French Open with a new partnership. You want to start a few weeks before, so I hope, and they’re both experienced, that they click quickly. Andre’s tennis expertise are second to none and I think their personalities would fit.”

It remains to be seen how Djokovic will fair in Roland Garros. One certainty is that the tournament will as much of a mental challenge as well as a physical one.

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Novak Djokovic edges Tallon Griekspoor to reach the semifinals in Geneva



Novak Djokovic saved four set points in the opening set to edge Tallon Griekspoor 7-5 6-1 in 1 hour and 17 minutes reaching the semifinals at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday on Wednesday by winning his 1100 match on the ATP Tour. 

Griekspoor saved an early break point on Djokovic’s serve in the ninth game of the first set. Djokovic fended off four set points, as he was serving at 4-5 0-40. The top-seed held serve with an ace and a first serve.  Djokovic broke serve in the 11th game with two deuce points to take a 6-5 lead. Djokovic held serve to love to seal  the first set. 

Djokovic won seven consecutive games  to build up a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve. Griekspoor got back on the board by hold serve in the fifth game for 1-4. Djokovic won the final eight points and broke for the third time to seal the second set 6-1. 

Djokovic set up a semifinal match against Tomas Machac, who beat US rising star Alex Michelsen 6-3 7-6 (7-2). 

Djokovic beat Machac in a third-set tie-break in Dubai last February. 

“I thought the first set could have gone his way easily because he was a better player for most of the first set. We could have been having a completely different direction of the match if he converted those set points. I was lucky to find some really good serves and from that moment onwards really played some good solid tennis. I was lucky to find some really good serves and from that moment onwards I really played some good tennis. The way I played the second set was really good. I want to thank everybody again for the support and presence today on a colde day”, said Djokovic. 

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Jessica Pegula Pulls Out of French Open But Alcaraz, Sinner Raring To Go




Jessica Pegula says she wants to be ‘super safe’ with her recovery after deciding to withdraw from next week’s French Open. 

The world No.5 hasn’t played a Tour-level match since April due to ongoing injury issues. It will be the first time she has missed a major event since the 2020 Wimbledon Championships. She reached the third round of the French Open 12 months ago and the quarter-finals the year before that. 

Pegula now plans to return to action during the grass swing leading up to Wimbledon which will get underway on July 1st. She is expected to play in lead-up events to the tournament but it is unclear as to which ones. 

I’m just about back to practising normal (haven’t had any issues for weeks) but played it super safe with recovery and return to play,” Pegula wrote on Instagram.
“If I had another five to seven days I would have been there 100%. So I will definitely be back for a full grass season and the rest of the summer and grinding out the rest of the year.”

So far this season Pegula has reached three WTA semi-finals in Adelaide, San Diego and Charleston. However, she has only beaten one top 20 player which was Emma Navarro at the Miami Open. 

Alcaraz, Sinner set to return

In the men’s draw two players who have also been troubled by injury issues in recent weeks are on course to play at Roland Garros. Carlos Alcaraz has been forced to miss two out of the last three Masters 1000 events due to a forearm injury, as well as the Barcelona Open. The 21-year-old told the Press Association on Tuesday that he hopes to get back on track despite a lack of match play. 

“I don’t have hours on the court and I think on clay you need to be a lot of hours on the court just to get the rhythm, to get how to move,” he said.
“Tennis players when they are a lot of time off the court with no competition, you lose the competitive part a little bit and you need to play matches, play tournaments to get the rhythm for the big tournaments.
“Missing the three tournaments on clay, really important ones, and not playing points, sets or matches before, it’s going to be difficult, but I have time to practise with the top players, I have time to play sets and practice matches, and I think it’ll be really helpful for me just to be ready for Roland Garros.”

Alcaraz is already in Paris training and recently had a hitting session with  Luca van Assche.

Another player also working hard on the practice courts is the world No.3 Jannik Sinner who recently pulled out of the Italian Open due to a hip injury. The Australian Open champion recently stated that he would not play in Paris if he didn’t feel fit enough to do so. However, he appears to be fit again after having a training session with Kei Nishikori. 

Siner is in contention of claiming the No.1 spot. A milestone that has never been achieved by an Italian male player in the Open Era. 

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday with action getting underway on Sunday.

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Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday with a win over Yannick Hanfmann in Geneva



Novak Djokovic beat unseeded player Yannik Hanfmann 6-3 6-3 on his 37th birthday to reach the quarter finals at the Geneva Open. Djokovic became just the third player in the Open Era to win 1100 tour-level matches. 

“That really touched me. I am really happy to win on this special day. The key was the birthday. The birthday probably would not be the same if I did not win the match, but it’s nice to be here for the first time at this tournament, with my family coming here to support as well”, said Djokovic. 

Djokovic earned three break points in the sixth game. The world number 1 player missed consecutive break points, but he converted his third chance with a forehand to take a 4-2 lead. 

Djokovic fended off two break points consolidating the break with a hold for 5-2. The Serbian player hit a forehand drop-shot winner to earn a set point. Hanfmann hit a drop-shot winner to force the game to deuce. Hanfmann earned a break point with a crosscourt winner. Djokovic saved it before earning another break point when Hanfman hit a backhand into the net. 

Djokovic sent a forehand down the line wide to face the fourth break point of the game and the sixth overall. Djokovic hit a backhand winner down the line to force the game to the deuce. Djokovic wasted a set point and had to fend off four break points before the match was interrupted by rain. 

After the match resumed, Djokovic saved a seventh break point and hit consecutive aces to serve out the first set. 

Hanfmann converted his 10th break point to open up a 2-0 lead in the second set. The German player held serve at love to open up a 3-0 lead. Djokovic broke back for 2-3 when Hanfmann sailed a drive. 

Djokovic won four consecutive games breaking serve when Hanfmann hit the net with a backhand. Djokovic sealed the win on his second match point, when Hanfmann hit his running forehand into the net. 

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