Five Things We Learned From Novak Djokovic Following His Australian Open Win - UBITENNIS
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Five Things We Learned From Novak Djokovic Following His Australian Open Win

The world No.1 talks about the power of visualization, overtaking his idol Sampras and chasing after the elusive calendar grand slam.

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Novak Djokovic with the 2019 Australian Open trophy (photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo)
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Aside from a humorous exchange with Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta, Novak Djokovic spoke with reporters about a variety of topics ranging from his return from injury to the prospect of achieving a calendar slam in 2019.

 

On Sunday, the world No.1 dropped only eight games against Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open for a record seventh time. The triumph has made him the first man in history to win three consecutive major titles, three times in a row on three different occasions.

Following his latest milestones, here are five things we learnt from the world No.1.

Belief is the key to his success

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12 months ago many were wondering if Djokovic would be able to return back to his best. Following a six-month hiatus in 2017 due to an elbow injury, he made a roller coaster return at the start of last year. However, it was on the grass where he rediscovered his top form and returned back to the top of men’s tennis. Since July, he has won three grand slam and two Masters 1000 titles. During that period, only Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov and Roberto Bautista Agut have defeated him.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I always believe in myself. I think that’s probably the biggest secret of my success, or probably any other athlete, is self-belief, always digging deep in the moments when you’re facing adversity, digging those moments of complimenting yourself, visualizing yourself as a winner, trying to be in a positive state of mind.” Djokovic explained.

The 31-year-old credits his comeback to visualization. A mental process of what you want to happen or feel in reality. Djokovic is known for his spiritual beliefs. Which was highlighted during his previous collaboration with Pepe Imaz. Who he maintains a close friendship with.

“I’m a true believer in visualization. I do that a lot. I think that I had to do that more than ever in my life 12 months ago after the surgery because I wasn’t playing well, I wasn’t feeling good on the court, I was questioning everything, I was doubting whether I will be able to play everyone at this level because I didn’t know to what extent the operation of my elbow would affect my game.” He said.
“It was a huge learning curve for me, just the whole process was very special. I embraced the journey. I am very grateful to go through it. I would never change anything if I could turn back the time because things are just the way they should be.”

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.

 

Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.

Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.

Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.

Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.

Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.

Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.

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Thomas Musters Hints At Conflict With Thiem After Sudden Axe From Team

The unexpected move by Thiem has left more questions than answers.

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Australian tennis legend Thomas Muster has seemingly suggested that a difference in opinion was behind his sudden departure from Dominic Thiem’s team after just two weeks.

 

On Saturday the world No.5 unexpectedly confirmed that the former French Open champion has left his team. Exactly 18 days after Thiem said during a press conference at the ATP Cup that the two have arranged a ‘working relationship.’ The announcement followed Thiem’s four-set win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open.

“We ended our working relationship,” He told Austrian reporters in Melbourne. “It did not fit. It’s easy like that. It is just about work. We get along well personally, and we said in the beginning, if anything is not all right we will tell each other.”

Questions are left remaining about what the exact reason for the two to go their separate ways. Especially given their short period spent working together. Both have been coy on the subject, but Muster has shed some light during an interview with Eurosport.

Speaking with fellow former world No.1 Becker, Muster said he was initially expecting to be working with Thiem for a two-year period. Adding to the mystery, the 52-year-old fuelled further speculation when he gave a cryptic insight about the two-time French Open finalist. Who had previously said that his career was to emulate and surpass Muster’s career achievements.

“To be honest, I have seen myself in this role for the next two years.” He told Becker.
“Why he chose differently…l I know why, but I don’t want to say the details.’
“It’s like this. There are houses which look nice from the outside, wonderfully from the outside, but you rarely know who lives inside.”

Speaking about Thiem’s performance on the court, Muster believes there are still areas of his game that requires further improvement. Last year the 26-year-old won five titles on the ATP Tour, including his first at Masters level. Something that was only matched by Novak Djokovic.

“He’s a fine guy and likes to learn a lot,” he told Eurosport.
“But he has also got some shortcomings, he has to work on if he wants to be at the top. He has improved a lot, but he to catch up in the technical, physical and foremost in the mental area.”

Muster isn’t the only former professional with a view that Thiem needs to improve. Mats Wilander recently called on the tennis star to improve his attitude on the court.

Thiem will play fifth seed Gael Monfils in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.

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