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

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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.

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Felix Auger Aliassime saves three match points to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert in Marseille

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Felix Auger Aliassime saved three match points to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-0 6-7 (8-6) 7-6 (11-9) after 2 hours and 40 minutes at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Auger Aliassime did not convert a match point in the tie-break of the second set before clinching the win on his sixth match point to advance to the quarter final in Marseille. The young Canadian player hit 16 aces and won 85 % of his first serve points.

Herbert hit a tweener lob on set point in the second set to force the match to the third set. Auger Aliassime hit an overhead into the open court at 6-6 in the tie-break in the third set. Herbert hit a forehand pass down the line to earn a match point on his serve, but he did not convert it, as he hit a backhand into the net.

Auger Aliassime saved two more match points at 5-6 and 7-8 in the tie-break with his forehand and an unretured serve, before sealing the win with an ace.

The Canadian Next Gen player will face this year’s Pune finalist Egor Gerasimov, who broke three times in his 6-4 7-6 (7-5) win over David Goffin.

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Danil Medvedev rallies from slow start to beat Jannik Sinner in Marseille

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Danil Medvedev rallied from one set down to edge Jannik Sinner 1-6 6-1 6-2 after 1 hour and 22 minutes. Medvedev dropped his serve twice but broke serve four times.

 

Sinner earned two breaks in the second and sixth game earning the chance to serve for the set. The Italian 18-year-old player served out the first set at 30 in the seventh game.

Sinner saved a break point in the second game, but he dropped his serve in the fourth game to trail 1-3. Medvedev got a double break at 15 and served out the second set in the seventh game at love. Medvedev started the third set with an early break. The Moscow-native broke for the second time in the third game to take a 3-0 lead and held his next three service games easily to cruise through to a 6-2 win in the third set.

Shapovalov will face Gilles Simon, who advanced to the quarter final after beating Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Denis Shapovalov beat Marin Cilic 6-4 4-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 1 minute to reach the quarter final at the Open 13 in Marseille.

Shapovalov made two double faults and converted three of his nine break points. Cilic made five double faults and converted one of his seven break points.

Shapovalov converted his third break point chance to take a 2-1 lead. The Canadian player held his next service games and served out the first set 6-4 after saving four break points in the 10th game.

Cilic saved two break points to hold serve at deuce and earned his only break in the 10th game to win the second set 6-4.

Shapovalov broke serve twice in the first and fifth games to win the third set 6-2 setting up a quarter final against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, who rallied from one set down to beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 3-6 6-4 6-4.

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Christian Garin beats Federico Delbonis to reach the quarter final in Rio de Janeiro

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Third seed Christian Garin beat Federico Delbonis 6-4 6-3 after 1 hour and 37 miuntes to reach the quarter final at the ATP 500 tournament in Rio de Janeiro.

 

The Chilean player has extended his winning streak to six consecutive matches, which includes his first title of the year in Cordoba.

Garin dropped 13 points in nine service games and did not face any break points. He converted three of his seven break points and sealed the win after Delbonis made a double fault.

Garin will face Argentine qualifier Federico Coria, who defeated Spanish 16-year-old rising star Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 17 minutes. Coria saved 10 of the 14 break point chances he faced and broke serve five times. Alcaraz made his main draw debut in Rio de Janeiro beating Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 4-6 7-6 in 3 hours and 36 minutes earlier this week.

Coria fended off five break point chances and broke serve at 4-4 in the opening set after a double fault from Alcaraz. Coria saved a break point in the next game with a service winner. The Argentine player sealed the first set 6-4 with another service winner.

Alcaraz earned a double break to open up a 5-0 lead in the second set. Coria pulled back both breaks in the seventh and ninth games to claw his way back to 4-5. Alcaraz earned another break in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4 to force the match to the third set.

Both players traded breaks in the opening two games of the third set. Coria earned another break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and closed out the match with a hold in the 10th game.

Hungary’s Attila Balazs came back from one set down to beat Thiago Monteiro 1-6 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Monteiro earned three consecutive breaks to win the first set 6-1. Balazs came back in the second set by breaking three times to win the second set 6-1.

Balasz broke serve in the sixth game of the decider to take a 5-2 lead. Monteiro got the break back and held his serve to claw his way back to 3-5. Balazs earned another break t win the decider 6-4.

Qualifier Pedro Martinez cruised past Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and 26 minutes. Martinez earned a break in the fourth game of the opening set when Andujar made a forehand error. Martinez broke for the second time to race out to a 4-1 lead and saved two break points in the next game to clinch the first set 6-1.

Martinez hit a backhand down the line winner in the third game of the second set and closed out the match with a service winner in the 10th game. Martinez has a record of 5 wins to 3 losses in his eight matches this year.

 

 

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