Novak Djokovic Joins Players In Urging Caution Over Andy Murray’s Return - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Joins Players In Urging Caution Over Andy Murray’s Return

Media day at The Queen’s Club saw players discuss the return of the former world No.1.

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Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

LONDON:  Novak Djokovic believes Andy Murray needs to conquer his mental demons if he wants to return back to the top of the men’s game.

 

31-year-old Murray is set to return to action at the upcoming Fever-Tree Championships in London. It will be his first tournament since Wimbledon after missing 11 months of the tour due to a hip injury. In January the Brit underwent surgery to treat the problem after failing to recover in time for the Australian Open. Resulting in a slow and frustrating comeback.

“He has been absent for longer than I have.” Djokovic said on Sunday. ”Hips – I don’t know how painful it is but I think the biggest challenge will always be mental. How to get it out of your head, know it’s behind you and focus on your game.”

Djokovic knows what it is like to be on the sidelines of the tour. At an almost identical time to Murray (shortly after Wimbledon) he ended his 2017 season. He did so due to a serious elbow injury that has been bothering him for months prior. Djokovic returned to competitive tennis at the start of this year, but has since undergone a minor medical procedure. During his rehabilitation, he had also had to change his service motion to alleviate the pressure put onto his elbow.

“I faced myself a major injury that got me off the court for six plus months. You feel the consequences of that more mentally than Physically, I think.” He explained. “I never knew that it was going to take so much time for me to get back into the state of mind where I am comfortable and confident with my game, with the changes I have made.”

The physical struggles of the 12-time grand slam champion are now in the past. Although Djokovic admits himself that he finds its frustrating that he can no longer execute parts of his game as well as he has previously done. Asked about what advice he would give to Murray, the Serbian continued to reiterate the importance of the mental side of the sport.

“If you don’t have mental clarity on the court, especially on the grass where everything happens very quickly, it is very difficult to play.” He stated.
“I wish him (Murray) all the best. Tennis misses him. He’s a great champion. A great guy. Very dedicated.”

Others speak out

Marin Cilic, who trails Murray 3-12 in their head-to-head, believes his decision to start his comeback on the grass is a tricky one. The Brit has won eight out of his 45 titles on the surface. Including two Wimbledon trophies.

“I would say that it is the most difficult thing to come back on the grass. In terms of movement you’re exposed. Especially Andy, who hasn’t played for nearly 12 months now.” He said.
“Even though he probably one of the most natural playing guys on the grass. I believe it’s still going to be a bit difficult for him to find his ground.”

Grigor Dimitrov believes that the home advantage will help the five-time Queen’s champion overcome any difficulty. Murray will start his campaign against the formidable Nick Kyrgios, who recently reached the semifinals of the Stuttgart Open. Kyrgios has been blighted by a shoulder injury in recent weeks.

“It’s a tough match for a first match in a long time.” Said Dimitrov.
“To see somebody coming back, especially Andy, it is great. Not only great for the tournament, but for the British fans. I think for him to play in a home tournament in front of his home crowd and family. That will help boost him up. Even if he is not 100 percent ready. That’s going to help him stay positive and look into the future.”

The main draw of the Fever-Tree Championships will get underway on Monday.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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