Novak Djokovic Reacts To Serbia’s Winning Start To The World Cup - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Reacts To Serbia’s Winning Start To The World Cup

The world No.22 delivers his own verdict about his country’s opening performance in Russia.

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Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

LONDON: Novak Djokovic has praised Serbia’s start to the World Cup after they defeated Costa Rica 1-0 on Sunday.

 

The 12-time grand slam champion was at The Queen’s Cup watching the match. Venue of the Fever-Tree Championships. He was due to speak to the media, but not until his country’s football clash had finished. This year is only the second time Serbia has featured in a World Cup since declaring independence in 2006.

“We didn’t qualify for the last World Cup or the last European Championships, so after (almost) 10 years we get a chance to enjoy it.” Djokovic said about his national team.
“This was the best way to start the World Cup campaign.”

Aleksandar Kolarov secured the 1-0 win for his country following a breathtaking free-kick on the 56th minute of the match. Which compatriot Djokovic described as ‘amazing.’ Kozlov is one of a series of football player that have formed a bond with the former world No.1 in recent years.

Whilst football and tennis are two contrasting sports, Djokovic believes he can still learn from his fellow athletes.

“I’m friends with Kolarov who scored an amazing goal, and (Nemanja) Matic, these guys,” he said. “It’s a different sport, but we share a lot of things in common as athletes. We support each other, but can also share insights into how we train.
“As individual athletes we miss that feeling of being in a team. We only have that for the Davis Cup.
“When you are playing for your nation, spending time together, it is wonderful.”

Giving his opinion about the World Cup squad, the 31-year-old sees positives in the high presence of young players. According to official figures, the average age of the Serbian team is 26.8 years. Making them the fifth youngest team in the tournament. Only Nigeria, England, France and Tunisia have a younger average age.

“It’s quite a young team. I mean Kolarov and Ivanovic has been playing in the Premier League for many years. They are good leaders of the team.” Djokovic evaluates.
“Then you have the younger guys who won the under 20 World Cup three years ago. Half of our squad are those young guys, which is nice.”

This year will see a rare clash in the world of sport. The men’s Wimbledon final and the World Cup final will take place during the same afternoon. Meaning that if Djokovic makes his way to the title showdown at SW19 he could miss the finale. Something that leaves him with mixed emotions.

“Really? I didn’t know that. Wow,” he told reporters. “From your mouth to gods ears as they say, hopefully that can happen.
“I’ve been fortunate to win Wimbledon three times and play well there.
“If that happens I would obviously be very happy to miss the World Cup final!”

Serbian will play Brazil and Switzerland later in the tournament. Meanwhile, Djokovic will kick-start his campaign at Queen’s against Australian qualifier John Millman on Tuesday.

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‘Another Level’ – Nick Kyrgios Praises Rising Star Jannik Sinner

This week the world No.11 is bidding to win his third consecutive indoor tournament.

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Jannik Sinner (ITA), (Erste Bank Open 2021, Wiener Stadthalle); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger

Jannik Sinner’s recent dominance when it comes to playing tennis indoors hasn’t gone unnoticed with one of his peers praising him on social media.

 

The 20-year-old defeated Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday in what is his fifth consecutive win on the Tour. Impressively Sinner has now won 18 straight sets on indoor hardcourts. Last Sunday he claimed his fifth Tour title at the European Open to become the youngest ATP player to win that many ATP trophies since Novak Djokovic back in 2007.

Sinner’s achievements were highlighted on social media by journalist Ben Rothenberg who posted a tweet of the 18 sets he has won. That caught the attention of former top 20 player and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios who paid his own tribute to the Italian.

“He is another level. That’s for sure, played him in Washington doubles. Never played someone who hit the ball as hard,” he wrote.

The two are yet to play against each other in singles competition. In Washington Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe lost 4-6, 4-6, to Sinner and his partner Sebastian Korda.

Sinner’s latest win in Vienna has boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin next month. He has risen back up the standings to 10th in the race after overtaking Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie. Norrie will play his second round match on Thursday.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today,” Sinner said of his latest win against Opelka. “I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Awaiting Sinner in the next round will be Austria’s Denis Novak who is currently ranked 116th in the world and is yet to beat a top 10 player in his career.

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Andrey Rublev moves past Ilya Ivashka to reach the quarter finals in St. Petersburg

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Andrey Rublev overcame Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes to advance to the quarter finals for the third time in his career in St. Petersburg Open. 

 

Rublev fended off all seven break points and earned two breaks in the seventh game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. The Moscow native player fired 10 aces and won 84 % of his first service points. 

The eight-time titlist is aiming to win his third career title on home soil after his previous titles in Moscow 2019 and St. Petersburg 2020. 

Rublev set up a quarter final clash against either Sebastian Korda or Botic Van de Zandschulp.Karen Khachanov knocked out Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 after 1 hour and 25 minutes. Khachanov will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eased past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cilic leads 1-0 against Khachanov in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati in 2018.

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Matteo Berrettini rallies from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in Vienna

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This year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvlili 6-7 (5-7 ) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 5 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Erste Bank in Vienna. 

 

Berrettini saved all three break points he faced and hit 22 aces, including two on the last two points of the match. 

Number 3 seed Berrettini had won three of his previous head-to-head matches against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili, but they met for the first time on in indoor court. Berrettini had beaten Basilashvili in Winston Salem 2018, Halle 2019 and Rome 2021. 

Both players went on serve in the first set. Berrettini saved the only break point in the second game. Basilashvili earned a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Berrettini pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Basilashvili earned another mini-break on the 10th point to earn two set points at 6-4 and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Berrettini saved a break point to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Italian player earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and held his next service games before closing out the second set with a double break in the ninth game. 

Berrettini went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the decider. The Queen’s tournament champion faced a break point in the seventh game after a double fault, but he saved it with an ace. He served out the third set 6-3 with his 22nd ace. Berrettini set up a quarter final match against Spanish Next Gen player Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

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