Novak Djokovic Capable Of Breaking Federer’s Grand Slam Record, Says Woodbridge - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Capable Of Breaking Federer’s Grand Slam Record, Says Woodbridge

The former Australian player has praised the world No.6 following his win at the US Open.

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Former world No.1 doubles player Todd Woodbridge believes Novak Djokovic poses a serious threat to Roger Federer’s record of the most grand slam titles won.

Djokovic defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the US Open on Sunday. Clinching his 14th major title to draw level with his idol Pete Sampras. The Serbian has won two consecutive grand slams following his triumph at the Wimbledon Championships. He is only the eighth man in the Open Era to win both of those tournaments within the same season.

“Pete Sampras is one of the biggest legends ever to play the game. He was my childhood idol. He was someone I was looking up to.” Djokovic told reporters in New York.
“There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder in terms of Grand Slam wins with him. It’s truly incredible when you think about it. I watched him win one of his first Wimbledon championships, and I grew up playing and thinking that one day I’ll be able to do what he does. To actually be here, it’s a dream come true.”

Overall, Djokovic is still six major titles behind Federer’s record of 20. However the Serbian is six years younger than the 37-year-old. Also in the race is current world No.1 Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has 17 major titles to his name with 11 of those occurring at the French Open.

Weighing in on the discussion, Woodbridge thinks the rapid improvement in Djokovic’s game in recent months has positioned him to once again pose a serious threat at all of the majors. Last year, Djokovic missed six months of the tour due to a serious elbow injury. After what was a roller coaster start to his comeback, which included undergoing minor surgery, he has risen back to the top of the sport. Winning 26 out of 28 matches played since his loss at the French Open.

“He’s 31, so he’s got three, four more years, given what (Federer and Rafael Nadal) have been doing. There’s at least five slams in there for him,” Woodbridge said about Djokovic during an interview with Tennismash.
“Now that’s a long way off, but that was the quality that I saw in his last couple of majors.
“His ball-striking was mediocre (in Australia), but all of a sudden he’s finding the centre of the racquet. His serving has really improved; the big-point serving and consistency. There were a couple of points (in the US Open final) I saw him move forward and hit a couple of volleys and I thought, ‘oh that was a good volley, like a really good volley, under pressure.”

Djokovic’s resurgence has been praised by Woodbridge, who believe it has been enhanced by the return of coach Marian Vajda at the start of the clay-court season. During his first six tournaments of 2018, Djokovic only won back-to-back matches twice.

“What I was watching at the Australian Open, it looked like he was done,” Woodbridge said.
“He looked like a guy who had achieved just about everything, had really fallen off and was playing some pretty ordinary tennis by everybody’s measure.
“To turn it back around and be playing almost as good as he ever has, I think he has a real opportunity to pass (Federer) and be the all-time leader in Grand Slams.”

Djokovic is currently ranked sixth in the ATP rankings. He is set to return to action next month at the Shanghai Masters in China.

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat Mike Bryan and Jack Sock to secure first spot in Group Knowles/Nestor

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut cruised past 2018 Wimbledon and US Open champions Mike Bryan and Jack Sock 6-2 6-2 in just 52 minutes in the night session to qualify for the semifinals as first placer in the Group Knowles/Nestor. The Frenchmen needed a win a set to secure their spot in the semifinal.

Herbert and Mahut broke twice in the fourth and eight games to seal the first set 6-2. They got two more breaks in the fourth and eighth games to claim the second set by the same scoreline. The French Open champions converted four of the eight break points, saved both break points they faced and won 89 % of the first serve points. They avenged their recent defeat against the US pair in Paris Bercy.

Herbert and Mahut have secured the first spot in the Group Knowles and Nestor with a 2-1 record. They have qualified for the first time in four appearances at this tournament.

The French team set up a semifinal against Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. In the other semifinal Bryan and Sock will take on Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.

Lukasz Kubot from Poland and Marcelo Melo from Brazil beat doubles world number 1 pair and 2018 Australian Open champions Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 1 hour and 40 minutes to score the first win  in the Group Knowles/Nestor at the Nitto ATP Finals. Kubot and Melo have kept their hopes of qualifying for the semifinal.

Kubot and Melo converted three of their five break points and fended off two of the four chances.

The Polish and Brazilian team have won four doubles this year in Sydney, Halle, Beijing and Shanghai and lost the US Open final to Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.

 

Melo got the first break in the first game of the opening set with a backhand return. Marach and Pavic broke back in the fourth game, when Kubot made a double fault. Melo sealed the tie-break on the second set point, when Pavic hit a return long.

 

Marach and Pavic broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead, but Kubot and Melo broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. In the tenth game Kubot hit a backhand down the middle, when Pavic was serving at 5-4 40-30. Kubot sealed the win, when Pavic netted a forehand volley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Becoming A Father Has Helped John Isner Achieve The Best Season Of His Career

The world No.10 reflects on becoming a father in September and the impact it has had on his life as a professional athlete.

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John Isner at the 2018 ATP Finals (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

John Isner exits the ATP Finals with a mixture of disappointment and pride following his loss to Alexander Zverev on Friday.

Isner, who was playing in the year-end finale for the first time in his career, was knocked out in straight sets by his 21-year-old opponent. Bringing a close to what has been the most successful season of his career. Isner has won two ATP titles, including his first at Masters level in Miami, and reached his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon.

“There’s definitely some things I could have done better. Didn’t come into this tournament with that much momentum. I think that maybe showed a little bit.” He commented about his week in London.
“I did have a good year, but I had a lot of losses, as well. I had three really good tournaments. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get inside the top 10, which is what I did this year.” He added.

A player breaking through on the tour in their early thirties is becoming a regular occurrence in the world of men’s tennis. However, in Isner’s case, his rise hasn’t entirely been down to everything he has learned on the court. 2018 also saw him become a father. In September his wife, Madison, gave birth to a baby girl called Hunter Grace.

There is a saying that once somebody becomes a parent their perspective on life changes. Something the American No.1 agrees with. The question is what influence has it had on Isner’s tennis?

“I think it’s definitely a life-changing moment for myself and my wife. For me professionally, I think it can definitely help going forward.” He commented about fatherhood.
“I just think prior to our daughter being born, getting married is another big step. That definitely settles things down personally. We were always dating and together, but we took that next step. It was the perfect timing for all of it.
“Everything has gone pretty fluidly in my personal life, so I think that certainly helps. That’s why I’ve at times this year played remarkably well.”

The perspective is one that mirrors some of his peers. Novak Djokovic said in July that fatherhood was his ‘biggest motivation’ for winning Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Roger Federer once said in 2012 that his twin daughters “helped his game more than anything.’

Finding harmony in his life both on and off the court, Isner believes he can improve further heading into the new year. He ends his season with a win-loss record of 34-22, including his three victories over top 10 players at the Miami Open in March.

“Going forward, I’ll be looking to play well in the big events again. There’s still a lot of room for improvement for me. I started the year off in 2018 in pretty poor form. So I can improve on that. If I can, I can possibly improve my ranking and give myself more momentum early on in the season.”

Isner concludes 2018 inside the year-end top 10 on the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.

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Marin Cilic: “Djokovic is playing very well, but I believe I can play a great match against him”

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This year’s Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic will face Novak Djokovic for the fourth time this year in their third round-robin in the Guga Kuerten Group at the Nitto ATP Open at the O2 Arena in London.

Djokovic has already secured his spot in the semifinal after his two matches against John Isner (6-4 6-3) and Alexander Zverev (6-4 6-1)

Cilic lost to Zverev 7-6 7-6 in the first match, but he took a much-needed 6-7 6-3 6-4 win in three sets over John Isner to keep his chance of qualifying for the semifinals.

Djjokovic leads Cilic 16-2 in their career head-to-head matches. This year Cilic beat Djokovic in the final at Queen’s after saving a match point, but he lost to his Serbian rival in Cincinnati and in the Paris Bercy quarter finals.

Since that defeat against Cilic at Queen’s last summer Djokovic has lost just matches to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov in the Paris Bercy final, but Cilic is still confident that he can beat the world number 1 player.

“The last few meetings between us were really tough at Queen’s, Cincinnati and Paris Bercy. Novak is playing really phenomenally. At the ATP Finals he showed a great form in his first two matches. I will have to maximally prepare for the match. Obviously serving well is going to critical. I am feeling good. I think I have played two quality matches here at the O2 Arena. I had a lot of chances against Zverev, but I didn’t capitalize on them. I believe I can play a great match against Novak. I hope I can win the match”,said Cilic.

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