Novak Djokovic Blasts ‘Out Of Context’ Claims Made About Split With Imaz - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Blasts ‘Out Of Context’ Claims Made About Split With Imaz

The 13-time grand slam champion has responded to a controversial interview involving his coach last month.

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Novak Djokovic has responded to alleged comments made by his coach, Marian Vajda, in a recent interview with Slovakian website sport.sk.

In the article Vajda was quoted as saying that he was a key driving force behind the removal of Pepe Imaz from the team and credited Djokovic’s resurgence to a change in his diet. At the time Djokovic and his staff had refrained from commenting. But now, it appears that the interview may have caused some tension within the team of the former world No.1

“I spoke with Marian because, in all honesty, it seemed strange to me that the things that had been written and reported as his statements, had been actually said by him. We spend a lot of time together, we’ve been together for ten years and when we talk about food and Pepe – these “delicate” topics that everyone wants to read, especially in Serbia – he simply has always given me the impression of having a different opinion. We talked about it, and he said he had not made the statements reported in that article,” Djokovic told Sport Klub in an interview given by him about what actually happened.

Continuing to hit back at the claims that were made, the world No.6 has insisted that he maintains a close friendship with Imaz. A former tennis player, who now coaches and teaches the philosophy of Amor Y Paz (love and peace) at his own academy in Spain.

“Here is the truth. As per the nutrition it is incorrect that Marjan and Gebhard (the physical trainer Gebhard Phil-Gritsch) have in no way influenced me, my diet has been the same for three years now.”  Djokovic explained.
“Pepe is always a person close to me, my brother, my family and my wife. We recently met in Marbella (home of Imaz’s Academy), Marian was with Pepe, we all had lunch together, we spent some time on court. It’s a perfectly normal and friendly relationship.”

In the wake of the interview Vajda was confronted about what he had allegedly said. The Djokovic camp has now said that those words have been ‘reported out of context’ by the Slovakian website. Who have not responded to the allegation.

“I do not know how this whole story came up. I talked to Marian immediately afterwards because I wanted to make it clear if there really was something that bothered him about the food, Pepe or anything else. He told me that he has nothing against it. It is as if Marjan’s quotes had been reported out of context. We still discuss about these topics on a daily basis, but that interview led to further confusion.” He said.

‘It was nobody’s fault’

In recent months there has been theories about the reasons behind a decline in Djokovic’s form on the tour prior to his injury hiatus. Imaz was accused of being a bad influence for his somewhat unconventional approach to tennis. Others said that it was Djokovic’s personal life that caused his brief downfall in the sport.

Responding to those rumours, the 31-year-old has rubbish them. Stressing that it was all down to him and that he was influenced by nobody.

“When I lost the No. 1 ranking, people started talking about Pepe, food, everything but myself. As if they were the ones to blame on for the way I was playing. Or that it was my wife who did not let me eat meat, this is something that really does not deserve to be commented … “ He said.
“Most people, when in difficulty, choose to find a culprit outside, or at least this is my impression. But I’m not that kind of person and I was not raised like that. I always take responsibility for my choices. I am 31 years old and it is not possible for someone to influence me so much that it upsets me and completely changed my life. I think I’m an adult and strong enough to make my choices in life and to surround myself with the right people. And them, including Marjan, support my decisions.”

The Wimbledon champion has also taken a swipe at the media over how they have covered his collaboration with Imaz. Saying that the coverage has resulted in a decline in people attending Imaz’s academy due to ‘distorted information.’

“Newspapers write about everything, I cannot control this. Everyone has the right to say what they think, I accept it. But I think it makes no sense to provide a distorted image of me and the people around me.” He argues.
“This makes people’s lives difficult, because all these titles and newspaper articles, including Spanish ones, have created problems to Pepe’s academy. My brother and him have been working in his tennis school for three years. They had about 80 boys and now they have less. Since, those articles, people have stopped sending their kids to them. Because they think it is, I do not know, a sort of sect, they wrote everything about them, as if they were people who could negatively affect those boys.
“For this reason, I would ask all the media to take these aspects into account, to be informed, to pay attention to what I say and not to the speculations of others or what blogs report. Journalists should keep in mind they significantly influence public opinion. As a consequence, people begin to look at you in a completely different way.”

Djokovic will play Richard Gasquet in the third round of the US Open on Saturday.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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