Andre Agassi Has No Regrets Over Work With Djokovic, Backs Him To Break Grand Slam Record - UBITENNIS
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Andre Agassi Has No Regrets Over Work With Djokovic, Backs Him To Break Grand Slam Record

The former world No.1 reflects on his time working with Djokovic during a trip to India.

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Novak Djokovic and Andre Agassi (photo by Gianni Ciaccia)

Multiple grand slam champion Andre Agassi believes he ‘shook the cage enough so tennis could benefit’ during his collaboration with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

 

Agassi coached the Serbian alongside Radek Stepanek for less than a year between 2017-2018. The two ended their partnership last March on ‘mutual grounds,’ but it was later revealed that there was a range of disagreements between them. At the time Djokovic was returning to the tour from a serious elbow injury and underwent further surgery to treat the problem.

“No, I’m not regretful. I am very happy. The reason why I tried to help him or hope that I could help him, was because tennis deserves this.” Agassi said during an interview with The Times of India.
“What he was capable of was never in question. He has his own tortured process, as we all do, and I truly believed that I could have helped him and then I truly believed I couldn’t help him.”

It is the respect the 48-year-old has for Djokovic that contributed to their separation. Djokovic’s persistence and determination to play on the tour whilst continuing his recovery from injury was one that frustrated Agassi. So much, that he decided he could no longer be a member of the team.

“He was never healthy two days in a row with his elbow and I live by one clear philosophy, which is if you don’t listen to your body, your body is not going to listen to you. So we need to heal. But unlike me, when I played, he loves the game, he wants to play and he wants to run and he wants to find his way to get through the injury and playing injured is just not responsible. That I can’t support that because I’d be hurting the very person I’m claiming I care about and I’d be doing the very thing for tennis that I’m trying not to do.”

Following Agassi’s departure, Djokovic reunited with former mentor Marian Vajda. Under his guidance, he has surged back to the top of the sport. Winning three consecutive grand slam titles since june, two Masters 1000 trophies and became the oldest player in history to finish a season ranked No.1. At the Laureus Awards, which is dubbed the Oscars of the sports world, Djokovic was named sportsman of the year.

“I felt like I learnt a lot and I felt like in some way I shook the cage enough that tennis could benefit. To be clear, first night we were together, I told him he doesn’t need me.” Agassi explained.
“Whatever formula he has with his team is a very powerful one that he relies on because of who he is and it’s not something I am capable of doing or pretending or any of that. I am who I am and I only wish him the best and I root for him because tennis deserves it.”

The grand slam tally

Already a 15-time champion in the majors, many are tipping Djokovic to break rival Roger Federer’s record. Federer currently has 20 grand slam titles to his name, but is six years older than him. In between the two players is 32-year-old Rafael Nadal with 17 titles, including 11 at the French Open alone.

“I mean I am from Vegas, so I have to make a bet right, if I have to make a bet, what is he at? 15? So two more for three years? Yes. Now, you also have children, you also have priorities in life, but if he wants to, he will.” Said Agassi.

Should he win the French Open, Djokovic would hold all four of the major titles at the same time for the second time in his career. Something that has never been achieved by any other member of the Big Four.

Agassi remains coy to deciding who should have the ultimate title of Greatest Of All Time (GOAT). The topic has been extensively debated in the sport with numerous players having strong cases for the accolade. Ranging From Federer’s 99 ATP titles to Nadal’s dominance on the clay. However, who does Agassi think can play the highest level of tennis?

“If somebody is playing their best tennis – which is different from the Best Of All Time – let me make that clear, then the highest standard of tennis that I’ve ever seen is when Novak is playing his best tennis.” He concluded.

Djokovic will return to the tour next month at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

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Unseeded Ugo Humbert Becomes First Player In Over A Decade To Win Halle On Debut

The 22-year-old fired nine aces and 29 winners to claim his first ATP 500 title.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPHalle

France’s Ugo Humbert has clinched his maiden ATP title on the grass after defeating Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

Humbert remained unbroken throughout his 6-3, 7-6(4), win over the Russian fourth seed who has won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player since the start of 2020 (74). The Frenchman was particularly impressive behind serve where he won 83% of his first service points and 55% on his second. It is the first time he has beaten Rublev on the Tour after losing to him on two previous occasions in 2019 (Monte Carlo) and 2020 (St. Petersburg).

“It’s incredible,” said Humbert. “The best victory of my career. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy, I was a little but tired today but I tried to stay focused on each point. It’s very nice.”

The triumph concludes what has been a marathon week in Halle for the 22-year-old. En route to the final he had to come through four three-set matches where he scored wins over Sam Querrey, Alexander Zverev, Sebastian Korda and Felix-Auger Aliassime. Becoming only the second player in Halle’s 28-year history to have reached the final by playing only three-set matches.

Meanwhile, runner-up Rublev paid tribute to his opponent following their clash. The world No.7 is now 1-2 in finals played so far this season after winning Rotterdam before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo. To put that into perspective, in 2020 he won all six finals he played in.

“I have often told my coach that you play in an incredible way,” he said. “You have everything to be a very great player. So keep working, doing everything you do. You play very well, you have incredible shots. I wish you a great career.”

Humbert, who won two ATP titles last year in Auckland and Antwerp, is the first player to win Halle on the debut since 2010. On that occasion Lleyton Hewitt prevailed over Roger Federer in the final. He is now projected to rise to a ranking high of 25 on Monday when the ATP standings are officially updated.

The Frenchman will be hoping that he can continue his winning streak heading to Wimbledon where he reached the fourth round back in 2019. His best ever result in a Grand Slam to date.

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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Dominic Thiem Follows Nadal In Olympic Games Snub

The world No.5 says his decision is related to his performance on the Tour so far this season.

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Dominic Thiem training at the 2021 Lyon Open (photographer Sammy Dancyger - Owned by Sport Plus Conseil - GM Sports Consulting)

Austria’s Dominic Thiem has pulled out of the Olympic Games in order to focus on his title defence at the US Open later this year.

 

The 27-year-old issued a statement on Thursday saying he was ‘not ready’ to play in Tokyo following what has been a roller-coaster start to the season. Thiem enters Wimbledon with a win-loss record of 9-8 and recently lost in the first round of the French Open. His best results so far this year were reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” the 27-year-old Austrian wrote on Twitter.
“For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher.
“However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.
“My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”

Thiem, who also skipped the 2016 Olympics, had previously said that his views on the multi-sport event have changed over recent time. During one interview with Tennis Deutschland he said it would be a ‘dream’ to play at the Olympics and he would ‘definitely play’ at the event if he had the chance to. Thiem is coached on the Tour by Nicolas Massu who won a gold medal back in 2004.

The world No.5 says he hopes to be able to play at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris where the tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. The same venue as the French Open.

On the same day as Thiem’s announcement on Thursday, Rafael Nadal was another player to confirm he would not be travelling to Tokyo, as well as Wimbledon, in order to recover from the clay season. The Spaniard said he wants to take a break from the Tour in order to preserve his body and prolong his career on the Tour.

The Olympic tennis event will take place between July 24th – August 1st. Andy Murray is the defending champion in the men’s tournament.

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