EXCLUSIVE: Marian Vajda Opens up About Working With A ‘New Novak Djokovic’ - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

EXCLUSIVE: Marian Vajda Opens up About Working With A ‘New Novak Djokovic’

Ubitennis has spoken with the coach of the 14-time grand slam champion ahead of his last round-robin match at the ATP Finals on Friday.

Published

on

Marian Vajda and Ubaldo Scanagatta - ATP Finals 2018 (photo Alberto Pezzali/Ubitennis)

It was losing the ‘fear of losing’ that has helped Novak Djokovic stage one of the most emphatic comebacks in the recent history of men’s tennis, according to his coach Marian Vajda.

Vajda reunited with the world No.1 in April after previously working together for an 11-year period (2006-2017). Under his guidance, Djokovic has produced a stellar second half of the year that has seen him win four titles, including both Wimbledon and the US Open. Since July, only two players have managed to defeat him (Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov). During that same period, he has achieved a perfect record of 10-0 against top 10 opposition.

“I’ve known him for many years, but I never expected him to return back to that way so fast,” Vajda told Ubitennis. “I had a feeling that I was starting all over again with a new Novak because he had doubts after the (elbow) injury.
“The toughest part was the comparison between now and the past. He always compared himself to a champion and it took a while to get there.”

After suffering a bitterly disappointing loss to Italy’s Marco Cecchinato at the French Open, it was the magic of the grass that turned things around for Djokovic. On the surface, he reached his first final of the season at Queen’s before triumphing at The All England Club for the fourth time in his career.

“When he lost a match point to Marin Cilic (in the final at Queen’s), he started to believe. He said ‘it’s a final, finally I have reached a final,’’ Vajda commented about the start of Djokovic’s turning point this season.

Less than two weeks after falling to Cilic, the Serbian got the better of nemesis Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic at Wimbledon. At the time the Spaniard was the highest ranked player he has defeated in 2018. An achievement Vajda said spurred on Djokovic’s resurgence.

“The biggest change for him, I think, was his win over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. It was an unbelievable match. I think after that he got belief and lost the fear of losing.”

It is unclear what the future hold for the Vajda-Djokovic partnership. The Slovakian coach had previously said that traveling around the world was tough on his family. His daughter is also a promising tennis player that he guides. When asked about what his plans are, Vajda gave little away. Diplomatically saying that he will ‘wait and see’ how life on the tour goes.

The full interview with Marian Vajda

Note: Article by Adam Addicott, interview conducted by Ubaldo Scanagatta.

cc

ATP

Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos lift their maiden Masters 1000 title as a title in Indian Wells

Published

on

Unseeded Nikola Mektic from Croatia and Horacio Zeballos won their first doubles title as a team after beating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 4-6 6-4 10-3.

Kubot and Melo drew the first blood by getting an early break in the first game, but Mektic and Zeballos broke straight back in the second game. Mektic and Zeballos fended off two break points in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kubot and Melo went up a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The Polish and Brazilian team fended off a break point before serving out for the first set in the 10th game.

Mektic and Zeballos were not able to convert any of their two break points in the fourth game of the second set, but they held their service games easily and broke serve in the 10th game on the deciding point forcing the match to the decisive Match tie-break. Mektic and Zeballos cruised through to winning the tie-break 10-3 clinching their maiden doubles title as a team. Zeballos and Mektic won 40 % of their return points.

Earlier this week Mektic and Zeballos saved two match points in a match tie-break against this year’s Australian Open Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut before beating Colombian doubles specialists Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the quarter finals and Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the semifinal.

“It’s unbelievable. Being in the big press conference, it’s great. I have never been in this room. I love it”,said Zeballos in the post match press conference.

“Oh my God, we won Indian Wells. We are a great team. We can beat anyone. Especially on this tournament where the difference is a few balls. A few points will decide who is going to win. Of course you are not expecting to win, but we are going into every match confident that we can win, so we just went step by step and it happened”, said Mektic.

Continue Reading

ATP

Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot beat Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini to reach the Indian Wells doubles final

Published

on

Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Poland’s Lukasz Kubot secured their spot in the final of the doubles tournament of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after beating singles world number 1 player Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 10-6 in the super tie-break.

Melo and Kubot will face Horacio Zeballos and Nikola Mektic, who beat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3). Melo and Kubot have played together since 2017, while Zeballos and Mektic are teaming up for their second time in their careers.

In the first set Kubot and Melo earned an immediate break in the first game in the first game. Djokovic and Fognini broke back in the 10th game at 15 to draw level to 5-5. Kubot and Melo came back from 1-4 down to win the tie-break 7-5. Djokovic and Fognini broke twice in the first and fifth games to clinch the second set 6-2. Kubot and Melo took the 10-6 edge in the super tie-break.

Djokovic and Fognini thrilled the crowd with their spectacular tennis, but doubles specialists won the most crucial points.

“I think the fact we played together for a long time, this makes a difference. We were aggressive in important moments. We do what we have to do and most of the time for us, it pays off. I am very happy with this, so let’s go forward for tomorrow to the finals”, said Melo.

Continue Reading

ATP

Gael Monfils In Doubt For Miami Masters

The top 20 player has once again been hit by injury woes following a successful start to 2019.

Published

on

Gael Monfils (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

France’s top ranked male player is unsure if he will be able to play in next week’s Miami Masters after being forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.

Gael Monfils pulled out of his quarter-final clash with Dominic Thiem due to a problem with his Achilles. During a press conference, the world No.19 confirmed that he has inflammation in his left Achilles after undergoing a scan. An issue that has been bothering Monfils over the past couple of days.

“I felt my left Achilles a little bit. Day after day I have been treating it with my team. And last night (Wednesday) after my match, it was actually not so good.” Monfils told reporters in Indian Wells yesterday.
“I tried a little jog in the morning, and I couldn’t really actually push on it.”
“I had an ultrasound with the doctor here (in Indian Wells), and we could see, like, a big inflammation.” He added.

Whilst not a severe injury, it is in unclear as to how long the recovery process will be. Raising the chances of Monfils skipping the Miami tournament, which relocates to the Hard Rock Stadium this year. He has already missed the past two editions of the Masters 1000 event. In 2017 he was sidelined by an ankle injury, followed by a back issue in 2018.

“It depends how fast I will heal. Definitely try the other treatment tonight.” He said.
“I will take it really easy with everything and then see how I feel, if I feel that I can play Miami or not.
“So far it’s tough to say how long, but I will stay positive and hope in a couple days I’ll be fine.”

The setback comes after what has been a solid start to the season for the Frenchman. His win-loss record for 2019 currently stands at 14-4. At the Rotterdam Open Monfils won the eighth title in his career and only the second at an ATP 500 event. He also reached the semi-finals of tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai.

“Sometime, some people are more fragile. And I guess I’m kind of fragile with some parts of my body.” The 32-year-old admits. “That’s why I always try new routines.”
“I guess I need to stay tough mentally, because it’s never easy. But I have been through that. I have no fear, I know, for this one (injury.”

As a result of his withdrawal, Thiem will play Milos Raonic in the semi-finals at Indian Wells on Friday.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending