Extreme Heat Debate Taints Novak Djokovic’s Win Over Monfils At The Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Extreme Heat Debate Taints Novak Djokovic’s Win Over Monfils At The Australian Open




Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

Controversy has erupted after Novak Djokovic overcame the blistering Melbourne heat to defeat a visibly suffering Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, in the second round of the Australian Open.


The hot and humid conditions triggered a social media outcry with many criticising the tournament. New York Times journalist Christopher Clary said the organisers were ‘frying players’ on the courts and tennis player Bethanie Mattek–sands called for the roof to be closed. At one stage during the match, Monfils warned that he could collapse due to the heat. Prompting the Australian Open to defend their excessive heat policy.

“It was obvious that we both suffered on the court today.” Djokovic said during his on-court interview. “Really tough conditions, brutal. Especially for the first hour-and-a-half.”

A roller coaster opening set laid out the tone of the match as both players struggled for consistency with a lack of match play being a factor. Djokovic was only playing his second match since the Wimbledon championships due to an elbow injury. Meanwhile, Monfils was playing in his seventh since returning from a knee problem.

Exchanging breaks between each other, it was Monfils that had the edge against his error-stricken rival by nudging ahead for a 5-3 lead. Djokovic produced 17 unforced errors and five double faults during the opener. Slightly less than Monfils’ 19 and six. Nevertheless, the unseeded Frenchman managed to prevail for the 6-4 lead with the help of a winning forehand volley at the net.

Coming from behind Djokovic managed to revive his match hopes as the unforgiving heat started to take its toll on his rival. The temperature soared to almost 40 degrees during their clash as Monfils struggled to cope. Struggling for movement and taking pauses between points. Raising a debate about if it was ethical to allow players to play in these conditions.

On the other hand, the former world No.1 refused to show signs that he was suffering in the conditions. Maintaining a perfect poker face to draw the match level. Djokovic’s calm approach to the match appeared to be a winning combination as he continued to exert his dominance with ease. Cruising through the third set in exactly 30 minutes by winning 26 out of 38 points played.

To an extent, the highly anticipated second round clash was no longer a match, but a survival of the fittest. One that the Serbian 14th seed triumphed in without showing any signs of any issues with his troublesome elbow. Although he continues to have reservations about it.

“It is still not at 100%, but it’s building. I had a lot of faith, self-belief and I know what I am capable of.” The 30-year-old said about his elbow.

Still, closing the match out was by no means a simple task as Monfils conducted a mini resurgence. Triggering the first real signs of frustration from Djokovic. Eventually the six-time champion managed to prevail after a Monfils error secured a break in his favour to move to a game away from the victory. The wine was then sealed after he concluded an apprehensive marathon final service game with a backhand volley at the net.

“I came into the match knowing that it was going to be a big challenge for the both of us. Gael is one of the best athletes, if not the best athlete, in our sport.” Said Djokovic.
“He moves around so well, gets the a lot of balls back and has a big serve. (I was) just trying to hang in there and trying to use every single opportunity that was presented.

Djokovic will take on Spanish 21st seed Albert Ramos in the third round. The Spaniard disposed of Tim Smyczek in straight sets. Djokovic leads Ramos 4-0 in their head-to-head and is yet to drop a set against him.


Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’

The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.




Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.


The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.

Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”

It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.

“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”

Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.

Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.

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Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti

30-year-old Evans says he is not happy with recent comments the Italian has said about him.




British No.1 Dan Evans has branded fellow player Lorenzo Musetti ‘disrespectful’ after recording the most high-profile win of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.


The world No.33 stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, in what is his first ever win over a member of the prestigious Big Three. A trio that consists of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. What is even more remarkable is that Evan’s victory took place on the clay. A surface which he hadn’t won a Tour match on since 2017 prior to this week.

Speaking to reporters following his win over the world No.1, Evans was questioned about what was the difference between his match against Musetti last week and his performance in Monte Carlo. Prompting the Brit to hit out at the Italian who is dubbed as one of the rising stars of the Tour.

“How he spoke last week was embarrassing,” Evans said. “Let’s not talk about Musetti in my press conference.
“Last week he said some things in the Italian press about me that was disrespectful.
Musetti, if he apologises, I will answer. He’s a good tennis player, but he’s got no manners.”

The fallout between the two started last week after Musetti won their match at the Sardegna Open. Saving four match points in the final tiebreaker en route to the victory. Afterwards, the 19-year-old accused his rival of disrespecting him on the court.

“There are respectful experienced players on the court,” he said. “Others like Evans, they try to use my youth to (win) matches.
“But it’s all experience for me. Evans disrespected me. I don’t want to be treated like a young man.”

Whilst the two tennis players are unlikely to be friends anytime soon, Evans did praise the recent performance of his rival. Musetti is the youngest player in the top 100 on the men’s Tour and is one of only two players aged 19. The other is compatriot Jannik Sinner.

“He played very well last week. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t take the match points. It’s just tennis. Yeah, he could do with learning some manners.” He concluded.

Evans is through to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. Awaiting him in the next round is 11th seed David Goffin who defeated Alexander Zverev in his third round match.

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New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade

The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”




Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.


The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.

“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”

Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.

The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.

“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”

So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.

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