Novak Djokovic Thrashes Pouille To Reach Seventh Australian Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Thrashes Pouille To Reach Seventh Australian Open Final

The six-time champion produced an emphatic performance to set up a showdown against Rafael Nadal in Melbourne Park on Sunday.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has fired a warning to upcoming opponent Rafael Nadal after crushing France’s Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

 

Djokovic, who is bidding to win the Melbourne major for a record seventh time, dominated proceedings from the onset against his nerve-stricken rival. Heading into the match, Djokovic was wary of the potential threat Pouille posed. The world No.31 scored back-to-back wins over Borna Coric and Milos Raonic to reach his maiden grand slam semi-final. However, the top seed proved too dominant in what was one of the most one-sided semi-final matches in grand slam history. Pouille’s serve failed to make an impact as his tentative second serve was punished by Djokovic, who broke him seven times in the match.

“It’s definitely one of the best matches I’ve ever had on this court (Rod Laver). Everything worked. The way I imagined if before the match and even more so. “ Djokovic said during his on-court interview.
“It was a tough one for Lucas, but he’s had a great tournament. I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.” He added.

Playing on the Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic required only 83 minutes to ease past his lacklustre opponent and seal a place in the final. The one-sided performance saw the Serbian hit 24 winners to just five unforced errors without facing a single break point.  The win is his 10th consecutive one in a grand slam semi-final.

“He definitely has the quality to be a top 10 player. It was his first grand slam semi-final, the occasion is different.” The 14-time grand slam champion said of his opponent. “There is more weight, more important during the match. I’m sure he’s going to get more matches like these in the later stages of grand slams.”

A year ago doubts were raised about Djokovic’s future in the sport. Coming back from a six-month absence due to an elbow injury, he experienced a lacklustre start to 2018. Then from July onwards, he dominated the tour by winning two grand slams and two Masters 1000 titles. A performance that has seen him rise to the top of the rankings. A turnaround that has been achieved with the help of coach Marian Vajda and his own belief.

“It was highly unlikely 12 months ago that I would be where I am today.” The 31-year-old admits. “I always had plenty of belief in myself and I think the self-belief is something that always prevails. There was always part of me that believed I could play this way. That was key.”

As a result of his one-sided encounter, Djokovic will take on Nadal for the chance to clinch his 15th grand slam title. Nadal defeated Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Thursday. It will be the 53rd meeting between the two and the eighth in a grand slam final. Overall, Djokovic leads their head-to-head 27-25.

The last time the two clashed in the Melbourne final was back in 2012. On that Occasion Djokovic prevailed in a marathon encounter that lasted almost six hours.

“That was a once in a lifetime experience.” Djokovic recounted about the 2012 final. “Hopefully the outcome (this year) can be the same for me.”  

Should Djokovic win the Australian Open title, he would become the most successful male player of all-time in the tournament’s 114-year history with seven titles.

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne

Troicki, who will head the Serbian ATP Cup team next month, says his career has been thrown into ‘chaos.’

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Former top 20 player Victor Troicki says his ‘Grand Slam is failing’ after implying that he felt that he was misled about the quarantine rules ahead of the Australian Open.

 

Troicki, who is currently ranked 202nd in the world, is among 72 players who have been placed in a strict quarantine where they are not allowed to leave their room for a 14-day period. Those affected have all been deemed as a ‘close contact’ of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

34-year-old Troicki travelled to Australia from Doha after successfully qualifying for the Australian Open with wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Ulises Blanch and Jurij Rodionov. This year’s two qualifying tournament’s took place in the Middle East due to the pandemic.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal earlier this week.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My Grand Slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.”

In recent days there has been some dispute over whether players knew about the conditions regarding going into a strict quarantine. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were initially under the impression that sections of a plan would have to be isolated if there was a positive case and not the entire plane. Ultimately the decision was up to the Australian health authorities.

“Tennis Australia was doing a great job in my opinion. The only thing that was a bit unclear was about the quarantine when somebody gets infected on the plane. They were talking like they were going to make sections inside the plane so if they found somebody in a section (who tests positive) they would isolate those people,’ said Martinez.
“But in the end the government didn’t want to do this and they preferred to isolate all on the plane because it was safer for everyone.”

Amid the debate over whether Troicki and his peers knew the full story or not, Spain’s Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to contract the virus during quarantine. She had previously criticised the procedure before later apologising.

As for Troicki, he says the current situation is creating ‘chaos’ in his career.

“All preparations are failing,” he said. “Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”

Troicki is the team captain of the Serbian ATP Cup team. The tournament will start a week prior to the Australian Open on February 1st.

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