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.



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


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.


ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.



(@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

A star had to fall. There was no other way.


This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.


The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.


The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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