Djokovic unlikely to emulate Federer and Nadal: Former coach - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic unlikely to emulate Federer and Nadal: Former coach

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12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker has warned the Serbian superstar against having high expectations in the lead up to his return to action after elbow surgery.

Becker, who coached Djokovic from 2014 to 2016, guiding him to six Major titles, claimed that his former charge is unlikely to emulate World No. 1 Roger Federer and French Open champion Rafael Nadal’s success after his comeback on the ATP tour.

Both Federer and Nadal made stunning comebacks after returning from their respective injury layoffs in 2017, splitting the four Grand Slam titles among them. However, Becker isn’t backing Djokovic to achieve the same kind of instant success once he is back on the court.

“Mentally is going to be the biggest challenge,” Becker told journalists at the Laureus Awards in Monte Carlo.

“How much you accept to do the dirty work like Monday morning practice, the first and second round of tournaments you are expected to win and it is hot and windy conditions.

“Usually they say the amount of time you have been away takes you the same amount to come back to your previous level and I hope that is not the case for Djokovic because that would mean the end of the year.”

“It would be a lot to expect him (Djokovic) coming back and winning his first tournament at a Grand Slam,” said Becker.

“Rafa and Federer have set examples of coming back but they are not normal. Usually it takes time.”

Becker said: “Tennis players don’t only have one injury.”

“If you play a Grand Slam, you go seven matches over two weeks, more than just the elbow hurts. It stops when you can no longer take the pain or have a serious problem, as it was in Novak’s case. It’s part of it.

“If you go to the locker room on a Monday morning in the first week of a Grand Slam you’d be amazed how many players have their ankles and elbows taped and are discussing with the trainers who is fit.”

“Tennis is a very physical game, period,” Becker added.

“And you can’t admire the top guys enough for playing 75, 80 matches a year.

“In most other sports, that’s not possible. Roger and Rafa have done that. Serena and Garbine have done that. It’s a tough sport. Injuries happen.

“It was a bit unfortunate that last year at the same time Murray and Djokovic called it a year after Wimbledon. It’s because of years and years and years of abuse.

“Unfortunately at the same time you have Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and others taking some time off to come back.

“It’s the nature of the beast of being professional.

“You’ve had it in the 90s, you’ve had it in the 80s. It’s just part of our game.”

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Dominic Thiem beats Adrian Mannarino to reach the second round in Melbourne for the fifth consecutive year

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Fifth seed and last year’s Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem beat Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-5 6-2 to extend his winning record in his head-to-head against the French player to 8-0. The Austrian player hit 36 winners to 34 unforced errors. Thiem set up a second round match against either Albert Ramos Vinolas or Australian wild card Alex Bolt.

 

Thiem earned the first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Mannarino fended off two break points in the eighth game while he was serving at 2-5, but Thiem sealed the first set 6-3 on his third set point after a 27-shot rally.

Thiem went up a set and a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Mannarino pulled the break back to draw level to 4-4, as Thiem sent a forehand long. Thiem got his second break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead after a 28-shot rally and reeled off 12 of the last 14 points to clinch the second set 7-5.

Thiem started the third set with an early break and won 16 of the first 20 points to seal the win after 2 hours and 21 minutes. The 2019 ATP Finals runner-up reached the Australian Open second round for the fifth consecutive year.

Thiem leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Ramos Vinolas, but the Spaniard won their only clash on hard-court in Chengdu four years ago.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas starts his Australian Open campaign with a straight-set win over Salvatore Caruso

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Last year’s Australian Open semifinalist and ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas dropped just five games in his 6-0 6-2 6-3 win over Italy’s Salvatore Caruso after 1 hour and 43 minutes.

 

Tsitsipas earned three consecutive breaks to cruise to a bagel win in the opening set. Caruso saved the first break point and held his first service game to draw level to 1-1, but she Tsitsipas converted his third break point chance at deuce to open up a 3-1 lead. The Greek player earned his second break at love in the eighth game.

Tsitsipas went up a break at love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Caruso saved three match points in the eighth game at 2-5 to prolong the match, but Tsitsipas served out the win at 30 with an ace down middle the court in the ninth game after 1 hour and 45 minutes setting up a second round match against either Phillip Kohlschreiber or Marcos Giron.

“Today I tried to stay calm. That was something that I had really in the back of my head, trying to stay calm, be aggressive on and off the court. I would describe the match the match as very stable. Throughout the match I was very focused. I was in the zone, and I am very happy with my first set. It was almost perfect. I don’t remember the last time that I won a set 6-0. It was a good quality tennis. Let’s not forget the people here. The people that bring the energy. I will give it to them”, said Tsitsipas in the post-match interview.

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Matteo Berrettini cruises past wild card Andrew Harris to advance to the Australian Open second round

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Number 8 seed and 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini cruised past Australian wild card Andrew Harris 6-3 6-1 6-3 in the first round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

 

Berrettini converted five of his nine break points and hit 38 winners. The Italian player won the opening set 6-3 with a break in the second game at deuce and the second set with three consecutive breaks.

Berrettini came back from 0-40 down by winning five consecutive points in the sixth game of the third set to earn the break at deuce for 4-2 when Harris hit a forehand into the net. Berrettini sealed the win with a big forehand on the match point after 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Berrettini will take on either US Tennys Sandgren or Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti.

“It’s always tough because I played my last official match in November. I figured out how to play my best tennis, so I am really happy with my performance. Like always, I am going round by round. I am happy that I am healthy and playing well”, said Berrettini.

Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannick Sinner was leading 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 4-4, before the match was suspended due to rain. The Italian rising star converted four of his eight break points. Sinner went down a break in the seventh game to trail 3-5 in the opening set, but he broke back in the 10th game before winning the tie-break 7-2. Sinner broke twice to win the second set 6-2. Sinner went up a break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but Purcell broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4.   Sinner, who is making his first appearance at Melbourne Park, holds a 15-30 lead at 4-4 in the third set.

Sam Querrey stunned Borna Coric 6-3 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis, who eased past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-2 6-2.

Guido Pella edged Australian wild card John Patrick Smith 6-3 7-5 6-4 to secure his spot in the second round, where he will face France’s Gregoire Barrere, who came back from one set down to beat Egyptian qualifier Mohamed Safwat 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

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