‘None Of Us Through This Was Possible’ - Novak Djokovic’s Trainer Reflects On Triumphant Season - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

‘None Of Us Through This Was Possible’ – Novak Djokovic’s Trainer Reflects On Triumphant Season

Gebhard Gritsch speaks out about his previous departure from the team in 2017 as well as the achievements of the 14-time grand slam champion this year.

Published

on

The achievements of Novak Djokovic this season has even surprised members of his own team, according to his fitness trainer Gebhard Gritsch.

 

A strong second half of the year saw the Serbian end the year as world No.1 for the fifth time in his career. Becoming the first player in history to do so after falling outside of the top 20 earlier in the same season. Since the start of Wimbledon, Djokovic has won 35 out of 38 matches. Winning two grand slam titles at Wimbledon at the US Open, as well as two Masters tournaments.

“In May, none of us in the team had thought this [end of year] was possible.” Gritsch said during an interview with Kurier.at. “He was really in trouble. There was a lot missing in the fitness area, as he was not really trained tennis specific. But above all, he also had mental problems because he did not know where he actually is.”

Austrian-born Gritsch is a long-time member of Djokovic’s team. He worked with the 14-time grand slam champion continuously between 2009-2017 before they decided to go their own ways. The two reconnected earlier this season shortly after the Miami Open. Around the same time as Djokovic reappointed coach Marian Vajda.

“With so many years, so many weeks, days and hours together … We were all just stressed out and drained.” He commented about the split last year.
“A few weeks after our reunion, he (Djokovic) asked me when he would have another chance (to win a grand slam). The objective was then at the US Open. Paris was good. But then he came to Wimbledon and immediately had a sensational feeling. The game on grass is his, he moves well, he has a lot of feeling. And the mental strength came back again.”

As well as success, the 31-year-old has also had to deal with his fair share of problems. A troublesome elbow injury sidelined him for six months last year. Then he had to undergo surgery in February to help treat the problem during what was a mixed return to the tour. At the start of the season, Djokovic had a win-loss record of 6-6 in matches played.

Reflecting on the resurgence of the world No.1 on the tour, Gritsch said it was achieved through ‘hard work’ and Djokovic’s ability to regain his focus.

“We worked extremely hard, on everything. But above all, he has found the focus again. Novak knew he needed to invest more – and he did. He lived again for the principle of tennis. He knew that if he wanted to break records, he would have to do it soon.”

The Austrian has also hailed the role Vajda has played. Vajda is a former player himself, who once coach the Slovakian Davis and Fed Cup teams.

“Marian Vajda is a great coach and the easy going guy, I’m more like the calmer brain of the team. We just found a good combination to combine all the components that make up a successful professional.” Concluded Gritsch.

Djokovic is set to return to action later this month when he plays at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships. An exhibition tournament held in the United Arab Emirates. He will then kick-off his 2019 season in Qatar at the Doha Open.

ATP

Dusan Lajovic overcomes Danil Medvedev to reach his first Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo

Published

on

Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic came back from 1-5 down in the first set to beat number 10 seed Danil Medvedev 7-5 6-1 after 1 hour and 35 minutes reaching his first final in a Masters 1000 tournament at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

 

Lajovic converted 6 of the 12 break points and won 12 of the final 13 games.

Medvedev, who beat Novak Djokovic in the quarter final, went up a double break in the second and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Lajovic fought back by breaking serve three times in the seventh, ninth and eleventh games to clinch the first set 7-5 on his third set point.

Lajovic started the second set with a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Medvedev saved two break points in the fifth game to hold his first service game in the second set for 1-4 ending a losing streak of ten consecutive games, but Lajovic converted his second match point on his return in the seventh game to claim the second set 6-1 after Medvedev fired a backhand beyond the baseline.

“I was completely out of rhythm at the start. It was the worst nightmare, being 5-1 down. It was impossible for us to play real tennis. I started moving the ball. Before I had been waiting to see where it was going, this was the turning point. I am still unaware of reaching the final, but I am enjoying it. I am looking to playing the final. No matter whom I play I will be the total underdog”,said Lajovic.

World number 48 Lajovic is the lowest-ranked player to reach the final in Monte-Carlo since Hicham Arazi in 2001. The Belgrade player beat Malek Jaziri, David Goffin, this year’s Indian Wells champion Dominic Thiem, Lorenzo Sonego and Danil Medvedev en route to the final without dropping a set. With his win over Thiem the Serbian player scored his first top 5 win of his career.

Before Monte-Carlo Lajovic had achieved a Masters 1000 quarter final in Madrid last year, another quarter final in the ATP 500 in Beijing and the semifinal at the ATP 250 in Lyon. He had scored only 14 match wins at Masters 1000 level before this week.

He lost to Alexander Zverev in five sets in the second round at Roland Garros last year after leading by two sets to one. Lajovic is now coached by José Perlas, who previously trained Fabio Fognini.

Lajovic will face either 11-time Monte-Carlo champion Rafael Nadal or Fabio Fognini. Nadal beat Lajovic in their previous two head-to-head matches at Roland Garros 2014 in the Round of 16 (6-1 6-2 6-1) and at the US Open 2017 in the first round (7-6 6-2 6-2). His best result at Grand Slam level is the fourth round of the 2014 French Open. That year he broke the top 100 for the first time in his career.

Lajovic is only the second player to reach his first Masters 1000 final since 2013 after his compatriot Filip Krajnovic achieved this feat in paris Bercy in 2017.

After Monte-Carlo Lajovic will break the top 25 for the first time in his career.

 

 

Continue Reading

ATP

Fabio Fognini comes back from losing the first set against Borna Coric to reach the second semifinal in Monte-Carlo of his career

Published

on

Italian star Fabio Fognini came back from losing the opening set to beat Croatia’s Borna Coric 1-6 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 59 minutes.

 

Fognini reached the semifinal at the Monte-Carlo for the second time in his career. Fognini sets up a semifinal against Rafael Nadal.

Fognini converted on four of his six break points and dropped his serve three times.

Coric broke serve at love in the second game when Fognini netted a backhand and earned another break to open up a 4-1 lead after a volley error from Fognini. Coric served out the first set with a hold after 27 minutes.

The Croatian player went up a set and a break to build up a 6-1 2-0 lead at the start of the second set when Fognini netted a forehand. Fognini received a medical time-out to treat his right elbow.

Fognini broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2, after Coric made a double fault and two forehand errors. The Italian star converted his second break point chance in the eighth game for 5-3, when Coric sent a backhand long. Fognini served out with a service winner on his first set point in the next game.

Fognini went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead. The Italian got the double break to open up a 4-1 lead. The 2013 Monte-Carlo semifinalist saved three break points before sealing the win with a good serve at deuce for 6-2. Fognini beat Coric for the second time in his career five years after his win in Umag.

In his opening match earlier this week Fognini came back from 4-6 1-4 down to battle past Andrey Rublev in three sets before beating world number 3 Alexander Zverev and world nunber 13 Borna Coric to advance to his second semifinal in Monte-Carlo and his third Masters 1000 semifinal at Masters 1000 level and the first since Miami 2017.

Fognini entered the Monte-Carlo tournament on a five-match losing streak on clay.

Fognini set up a semifinal against 11-time Monte-Carlo champion Rafael Nadal. The Italian won three of his 14 head-to-head matches against Nadal in 2015.

“I did not believe that I could reach the semifinal after being on the verge of defeat against Rublev in the first round. I hope to receive a strong support from the crowd. I feel that it’s my home tournament. I am happy for my family, who came this week to suport me. I have nothing to lose against Rafa. Everywhere it’s difficult against him. I will just try to enjoy the match, try to recover as best as I can, eat well, sleep well, play with my son Federico a little bit before sleep and tomorrow is another day. I will try to do my best game. I know that it’s difficult, but I have the game to play against him. I saw that he did not play very well, but tomorrow is another day”, said Fognini.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

ATP

Rafael Nadal digs deep against Guido Pella to reach his 14th semifinal in Monte-Carlo

Published

on

Eleven-time champion Rafael Nadal had to dig deep in his hard-fought 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 win over Argentina’s Guido Pella in the quarter final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on the Court Rainier III to reach his 14th semifinal in Monte-Carlo in the last 15 years.

 

Nadal is just within two wins of his record 12th title in Monte-Carlo. Nadal has reached the 69th Masters 1000 semifinal of his career.

Nadal was one point away from 1-5 down three times in the opening set, but he had to work hard to win the tie-break. The Spanish “King of Clay” converted 7 of his 13 break point chances to seal the win after 2 hours and 20 minutes.

The opening set started with three consecutive breaks. Pella broke three times in a row to race out to a 4-1 lead. Nadal pulled both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 after 50 minutes. Pella got another break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead, but Nadal broke straight back to draw level to 6-6 sending the first set to the tie-break. Nadal got a double mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead and dropped just one point to seal the tie-break 7-1 with a smash winner.

Nadal fended off four of the five break points he faced and broke three times in the second set.

Nadal went up an early break in the opening game and consolidated it to open up a 2-0 lead. Pella saved two break points in the third game to hold his serve in the third game. Nadal saved four break points in a 13-minute fourth game to hold his serve at deuce before breaking serve at 30 to build up a 4-1 lead. The Spaniard held his serve at 30 for 5-1 with his forehand. Pella pulled one break back in the eighth game to clase the gap to 3-5. Nadal closed out the second set 6-3 with his third break in the ninth game.

“It was a very tough first set physically and mentally. Losing the first three games with my serve was tough, but I found a a way at the right time. I was lucky at 4-1. He had to points to be 5-1. It is almost impossible at 5-1. I was lucky to escape that moment and then I played better. I am very happy to be through. Being in the semifinals means a lot to me”,said Nadal.

Nadal has improved his record to 25 consecutive sets in Monte-Carlo since losing the second set of his opening match against Kyle Edmund in the 2017 edition of this tournament.

Pella, who entered this match with 17 wins in 2019, has become the first player since Edmund to earn more than four sets in a single set against Nadal in Monte-Carlo.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending