Filip Krajinović Praises ‘Idol’ Djokovic For Supporting His Career - UBITENNIS
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Filip Krajinović Praises ‘Idol’ Djokovic For Supporting His Career

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Filip Krajinovic (zimbio.com)

After enjoying a breakout year on the tour, Filip Krajinović has praised the support he has received from former world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

 

The 25-year-old has risen almost 200 places in the world rankings since January. On the Challenger tour, he has won more singles titles than any other player this year. Winning a total of five trophies. Then at last week’s Paris Masters he shocked the tournament by reaching the final. Defeating seeded players John Isner and Sam Querrey. He was denied the trophy by Jack Sock, who prevailed in three sets.

“I barely slept for the last five-six days and I have eaten very little.” he told Sport Klub about his time in Paris. “I wanted to sleep, I was telling myself: ‘Come on, try, you have got a match tomorrow,’ but it was impossible because of the adrenaline – I just kept thinking about tactics, potential on court situations… It was all messed-up in my head, I didn‘t sleep after the finals either.’
“I think that my tears have shown what my feelings were and what have I gone through in my life.”

Prior to his success, Krajinović contemplated retiring from the sport after being hit by a series of injury setbacks with his shoulder and wrist. Dropping outside the top 200 last year, he lost contract deals with Nike, IMG and Wilson. All of which decided that they didn’t want to extend their partnership with the Serbian. Something he believes the sponsors now ‘regret’ due to his successful 2017. He opted to continue playing tennis after receiving some valuable advice from his father.

“I‘ve thought about retirement many times, I didn‘t have the energy anymore, I was playing small tournaments, I even told my dad I want out. But he told me: “Son, tennis is the only good thing in life you are really good at – be strong, you still have enough time, keep on playing.” He explained.
“So I kept on… I didn‘t even want to go to Helibronn challenger, I wanted to take a one month break and just cool of, but I went there, won the title from the qualies and it went on from there.”

The Djokovic effect

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Another instrumental person for Krajinović’s is 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic. Throughout his career, he has received support and guidance from the 30-year-old. Last week Djokovic uploaded an Instagram post praising Krajinovic’s run in Paris. In the post he wrote ‘This is proof that success is guaranteed when you love what you do and believe in yourself!

“He has helped me a few times and we are talking always, he always has my side. Whenever I need an advice or practice, he‘s there, he even invited me to Monte Carlo to work and to hang out.“ Said Krajinovic.

Djokovic is Serbia’s most successful tennis player of all time. So far in his career, he has won 68 ATP titles, including 30 at Masters level and 12 in the majors. He is also one of the first athletes from his country to win an Olympic medal in 2008 following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Due to his success, Djokovic has become a mentor and icon for players such as Krajinović.

“It is something extremely important for me, for all of us younger, because Novak was our idol. With him, you can learn something new every day, I have used on and off the court a lot of things he was telling me about.” The 25-year-old said about the support he has received from Djokovic.

Krajinović has now risen to 33rd in the world, securing him a year-end position in the world’s top 100 for the first time in his career. Posting a main draw win-loss of 53-18 this season, he is closing in on being seeded at a grand slam event. Positioning him in a strong position for next year.

“The rest of the guys have seen that I can play, so a lot more will be expected of me, but I am ready to deal with it.” He said about his next step on the tour. “I will have to play better at Grand Slams and that is why my primary goal for the off-season is to put on some muscles and to be physically fit for long matches and long season. I hope that I will be seeded for Melbourne.”

Currently Krajinović and Djokovic are the only two Serbian players ranked in the top 50 on the ATP Emirates rankings.

 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career

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Eleventh-seed Jannik Sinner cruised past Steve Johnson 6-2 6-4 6-3 on Margaret Arena after 1 hour and 43 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his third appearance of his career at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Sinner fired 29 winners and broke five times. 

 

“It’s a real pleasure to play here. I played on this pitch against Shapovalov in the first round last year. I love playing in Australia, so having a night game is very special”, said Sinner. 

Sinner raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break and closed it out on his first set point after 26 minutes. The 20-year-old Italian star earned a decisive break in the ninth game to seal the 41-minute second set 6-4. 

Sinner broke serve in the first game of the third set to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 11 faced a break point in the fourth game to hold serve after three deuces. The Italian star held serve at love in the eighth game, when Johnson hit a backhand return into the net. The Italian star closed out the third set with his second break, when Sousa hit his forehand into net. 

“I started the match very well, which gave me a lot of confidence. When I had to break in every set, I was quite relaxed. I tried to stay focused on my service games which I think I have done. I am very happy to be through in three sets. It was not easy to play against him. We had already played twice, and I tried to return his serves because his first serve is very precise This was my first goal, and obviously trying to mix up a little bit the game, try to move him. I think I was solid. I had a couple of break chances which I used, so I am very happy”, said Sinner. 

Sinner set up a third round match against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who beat Andy Murray 6-4 6-4 6-4. Daniel has already beat four Italian players this year, but Sinner has not dropped a set in his five matches this year. 

“Taro Daniel has reached the third round because he is playing very well. I did not know that he had already beaten four Italian players this year. It is not easy to beat them. Matches are always tough at any level. Daniel beat Murray and it is not easy to win against the Scotsman. I lost against Murray last year in Stockolm”, said Sinner. 

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Danka Kovinic becomes the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament

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Danka Kovinic has become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over last year’s US Open champion and number 17 seed Emma Raducanu after 2 hours and 38 minutes on Margaret Court Arena in the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

Kovinic had lost in the second round in her six previuos appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. The World number 98 recorded her fourth career top 20 win and her first on hard-court. 

Raducanu broke serve in the opening game and cruised into a 3-0 lead with a double break. Kovinic bounced back by winning the next two games to claw her way back to 2-3, before Raducanu took was hampered by a blister on her raquet hand and took a medical time-out for treatment on her hand. Raducanu double faulted, as Kovinic broke again to draw level to 3-3. Kovinic completed the turnaround by winning five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu broke for the third time for 4-5, but Kovinic closed out the first set 6-4. 

Raducanu opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set with an early break in the first game but Kovinic broke back in the eighth  game to draw level to 4-4 . Raducanu broke for the second time in the ninth game with two consecutive forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. The British teenager fended off two break points in the 10th game to clinch the second set 6-4. 

Raducanu missed four break points in the first and third games of the third set. Kovinic converted her break point in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Raducanu broke straight back at love in the fifth game. Kovinic broke for the second time in the sixth game with a lob to take a 4-2 lead and sealed the win on her second match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Kovinic was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to calf and back injuries. 

“Basically only one good result was in Charleston last year. Everything else was really struggling and trying to recover my body for next events, which I wasn’t really successful. I was rushing a little bit, so I never really healed my back injury, but I took some time during the pre-season to really take care of that, so hopefully that’s in the past”, said Danka Kovinic. 

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Andrey Rublev, Alex De Minaur and Taylor Fritz reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Andrey Rublev eased past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-2 6-0 in 1 hour and 24 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Rublev earned breaks in the opening game of each set and did not face any break points.

Rublev set up a third round match against Marin Cilic, who beat Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos 6-2 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6). If Rublev beats Cilic, he could be on a collision course for a possible quarter final clash against his compatriot Danil Medvedev.

Rublev, who reached the quarter finals at Grand Slam level four times in his career, is aiming to reach his first semifinal in a Major tournament. 

Taylor Fritz beat Francis Tiafoe 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in an all-American clash to set up a third round clash against Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised through Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-0 6-3. Fritz hit a backhand winner down the line to convert his match point. 

“Frances is one of my really good friends, and he is such a good guy. I said before the tournament too. He is probably one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw. I just keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive, like that last point. I have a really tough match next round, but it would be awesome to have a deep run here”, said Fritz. 

Alex De Minaur beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-4 6-4 6-2. The Australian player has now won six consecutive sets at the Australian Open this year after dropping the first set against Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round. De Minaur will take on Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who beat Slovakian wild card Alex Molcan 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 6-1. 

“For me to be able to play on Rod Laver Arena and at this stage on my merits, it’s not because I am playing one of the top guys, that’s a pretty cool feeling. It was a very solid win. I did everything I neeeded to do. I got the job done. I am very happy with my effort”, said De Minaur. 

Daniel Evans received a walkover into the third round when Arthur Rinderknech withdrew before the match with a wrist injury. 

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