Novak Djokovic Targets More Match Play After Monte Carlo Run - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Targets More Match Play After Monte Carlo Run

The 12-time grand slam champion has details his plans for the near future following his exit from the Monte Carlo Masters.

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Former world No.1 Novak Djokovic is eager to get more matches under his belt after his run at the Monte Carlo Masters came to an end.

 

Playing in only his fourth tournament of the season, the Serbian was knocked out in three sets by Dominic Thiem on Thursday. His second consecutive loss to the Austrian on the clay after the French Open. Despite the defeat, Djokovic is drawing positives from his performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club. Earlier in the week he managed to produce straight sets wins over Dusan Lajovic and Borna Coric.

“I’m feeling like it’s been getting better every day.” Said Djokovic. “I’ve had three matches here (in Monte Carlo). I didn’t expect anything. I played without pain in the elbow, which is important. I have my coach Marian back in the box. So a lot of good things.”

The performance of the 30-year-old this week is one that has drawn praise from world No.7 Thiem, who will play Rafael Nadal in his next match. Despite getting the better of Djokovic, the Austrian expressed admiration over the surge of improvement from his rival in recent weeks. Last month Djokovic suffered back-to-back losses in Indian Wells and Miami.

“I think it was an amazing improvement by him. He played two good rounds here before the match today. I think he’s on the rise again, for sure.” Thiem evaluated about the 12-time grand slam champion.

Vadja to stay, for now

Currently guiding the former world No.1 on the court is Marian Vajda. The two recently reunited following his split with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek. Vajda was a prominent fixture in the Serbian’s team for 11 years before they ended their collaboration in 2017. Following his Monte Carlo match, Djokovic confirmed that the reunion between the two has been extended until at least the end of the French Open.

“Marian will stay with me till the end of the clay court season, then we’ll take it from there.” He explained.

Eager to capitalize on his surge in form, Djokovic is eyeing more matches on the tour. So far this season he has only played a total of nine matches, winning five of them. It is for this reason why he has contacted officials of two upcoming ATP tournaments in regards to obtaining a wildcard. Next week the ATP tour will move to Barcelona and Budapest. Barcelona is the more prestigious of the two as an ATP 500 event with four top 10 players set to play there.

“Obviously one tournament is stronger than the other, Barcelona. I’m obviously at a different place this year, at this moment, and 12 months ago in terms of ranking, in terms of how I feel on the court.” Djokovic admits.
“I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m lacking matches. That’s why we all (his team) agreed that it’s quite important for me to play, try to use every opportunity possible.”
“I would like to build my form so I can peak at Roland Garros. That’s obviously the most important one on this surface.” He added.

Djokovic has previously played in Barcelona, but never in Budapest. He will make a decision on Friday concerning where he will play.

 

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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

UPDATE*

Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.

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Dominic Thiem signs up to defend his Barcelona title

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Defending champion Dominic Thiem has signed up to play at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in 2020. The 26-year-old Austrian player will make his sixth main draw appearance in Barcelona, where he won the title last year beating Danil Medvedev.

 

Thiem reached the round of 16 as a qualifier in his debut at this event in 2014. One year later Thiem lost in the first round in 2015 and did not play in 2016.

The player from Wiener Neustadt lost the 2017 final to 11-time Barcelona champion Rafael Nadal. In 2018 Thiem was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter final. In last April’s edition Thiem lifted the title without dropping a set. He beat Nadal in the semifinal before claiming a win over Medvedev in the final.

Thiem tied with Djokovic for ATP Tour-lead with five titles. He won his biggest title at Indian Wells Masters 1000 beating five-time champion Roger Federer and joined his compatriot Thomas Muster as second Austrian player in history to win an ATP Masters 1000 title. Thiem claimed three more titles in Kitzbuhel, Beijing and Vienna and beat Novak Djokovic in five sets to advance to his second consecutive Roland Garros final. Thiem saved two match points against Federer in Madrid Masters 1000 quarter final before losing to Novak Djokovic in semifinal.

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Late Replacement Tomljanovic To Face Maria Sharapova In Abu Dhabi

The order of play for the first day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship have been confirmed.

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There has been a change made to the line-up for next week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship with Ajla Tomljanovic making a last-minute entry.

 

Tomljanovic, who achieved a ranking best of 39th back in April, will be making her debut at the three-day exhibition event. Which will feature a women’s match for the third time in a row. The Australian has been called in to replace French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, who has been forced to pull out due to injury.

“It’s really disappointing to have to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Anisimova said in a press release. “I was looking forward so much to coming to Abu Dhabi and I hope to make the trip in the future.”

The 26-year-old will take on five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova on the opening day of the event. Who hasn’t played on the WTA Tour since her first round loss at the US Open due to a shoulder problem. Sharapova will also be making her debut at the Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre. The two players have never faced each other on the tour.

“I’ve heard amazing things about Abu Dhabi and the championship, and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of this crowd against Maria.” Said Tomljanovic, who will be the first Australian to play at the event. “It will give the perfect challenge ahead of a big season.”

Tomljanovic’s clash with Sharapova is set to be the final match to take place on the opening day of the event. They are only the fourth and fifth woman to ever play in the competition, which has hosted a men’s tournament since 2009. Jelena Ostapenko (2017), Serena Williams (2017 and 2018) and Venus Williams (2018) are the only other WTA players to have taken part.

The full order of play for the opening day has been confirmed by the organisers. Prior to Sharapova’s match, two men’s quarter-finals will take place. ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Gael Monfils with the winner booking a clash against Novak Djokovic. Then world No.4 Daniil Medvedev takes on South Korea’s Hyeon Chung. The winner of that match will play Rafael Nadal.

“The 12th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is fast shaping up to be the most exciting in the event’s history. We are looking forward to providing our spectators with a dynamic combination of world-class tennis and family fun in what is an unmissable event,” said John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship takes place between December 19-21.

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