After Criticism from Federer And Nadal, Off-Court Politics Overshadows Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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After Criticism from Federer And Nadal, Off-Court Politics Overshadows Indian Wells

At the Masters 1000 event a war of words have broken out between some key figures.



At a tournament that is nicknamed the ‘fifth grand slam’ of tennis, it is ironic that Novak Djokovic’s biggest battle has been off the court.

The world No.1 holds the position of president of the Players Council. A body set up to speak on behalf of those on the tour and give their recommendations to the board of directors. However, in recent days the group has come under heavy attack following the removal of ATP CEO Chris Kermode. A decision that has been backed by some members of the council. Although Djokovic is staying coy on what he thinks.

“I don’t want to express myself as for or against, I’m part of the council, I’m president of the council and I have responsibility, and confidentiality, that I have to be responsible to,” said Djokovic.
“By sharing that information I expose myself, and I become liable to breach of confidentiality within that structure. So I’m not willing to risk that, because I respect the governing structure.”

To add to the fiasco, the Serbian has come under fire from two of his biggest rivals. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have said they received a lack of communication from the body. Something Nadal said he was ‘disappointed’ with earlier this week. A sentiment echoed by Federer on Sunday during his press conference with the Swiss – German press.

“Unfortunately he [Djokovic] had no time,” said Federer. “That’s hard to understand for me … I want to know what the motive was, [and] what Kermode does not seem to have done well. I would have tended to be more for him.”

At an impasse, the war of words continues and so does the media scrutiny. The main reason for this is the lack of clarity there is. In recent months there has been talk of a new vision for the future of the sport by the council, but it has been mainly behind the scenes. Little has been said about what the selection process to replace Kermode will be. Furthermore, the secrecy of the council’s vote has raised questions about if the structure of the ATP Tour should be more transparent.

Brazilian doubles specialise Bruno Soares serves on the council. During an interview with Global Esporte, the 37-year-old said the decision to keep their vote on Kermode’s future secret was because there was a divide among the members. In other terms, the decision was a gentlemen’s agreement and not mandatory.

“I do not think the dialogue has failed. I at least talked to the vast majority of the people I represent. I think each of the Council has played its part.” Said Soares.
“Obviously it is difficult to talk to everyone, but what happens is that the subjects are always exposed, everyone is aware. If anyone has any doubts, it is up to the person to look for his representative in the Council, to ask, to ask questions and to suggest things.
“So we can not always find everyone. Me and Jamie (Murray) represent from 1st to 100th in doubles. Imagine running after 100 (tennis players) … we communicate a lot by email, but a lot of things are up to people who have an interest in looking for us.”

The Djokovic-lead council has no direct involvement in the decision to remove Kermode. Under the current structure, they debate topics and pass their feedback to the three Players’ representatives, who make the decisions. Those individuals are Tennis Channel executive David Egdes, Sportradar’s director of communications Alex Inglot and former player Justin Gimelstob.

“I think Chris (Kermode) did a great job. He was a great president in those five years that he had, now another year to complete the sixth, were two mandates.” Soares explained.
“This week, we had a meeting with the Players Council staff with the Tournament Board staff. Dialogue is increasing and this is how we will achieve our goals. In the end, everyone wants it to get better. We want the tournaments to improve, the tournaments want us to participate. It’s a business. Everyone wants to earn more, make more money. I think working together is the way to do it.”

It is only hoped that the new leader of the ATP will reunite the tour once more. Whoever that will be. Although Federer has laid out his opinion on the qualities the candidate must have.

“We need – I guess in my opinion – someone who knows the game.” He said.
“Otherwise we will lose a year to that person meeting all the people.
“We’ve had it in the past, it takes a lot of time. Yeah, a lot of work ahead of us to say the least.”

With so much drama going on, it is sometimes easy to forget about the matches that are taking place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.


Roger Federer: “I am not too disappointed after my defeat against Dominic Thiem in Indian Wells”



Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was not too disappointed after losing the Indian Wells final against Dominic Thiem last Sunday.

Roger Federer lost the Indian Wells final for the fourth time in his career after finishing runner-up in 2014, 2015 and 2018. Last year he did not convert three championship point against Juan Martin Del Potro.

“I am not too disappointed. I feel like he had to come up with the goods, and it felt like to some extent it was on my raquet. I just came up against somebody who was a bit better when it really mattered. That’s how it goes. Sure, it’s frustrating, disappointing and sad to some extent. I have been in these positions so many times that I get over it very quickly. I feel like I am actually playing good tennis. Like in Australia, I was not too down on myself because I feel like my game is there. My body is there. That keeps me upbeat, and I feel it’s a privilege when I feel this way leaving a tournament. I have been playing every single day for the past three weeks. I can be very happy and proud of that fact. I feel really good”, said Federer after the final against Thiem in Indian Wells.

Federer congratulated with Thiem, who won his maiden Maiden 1000 title in the Californian desert after losing his previous two finals in the series in Madrid on his favourite clay surface.

“I am happy with Dominic, winning his first Masters 1000 title, as well. It’s a massive event to win. I just got my 100th title in Dubai and I had a great week. There is no reason to get down. There is more to look forward to Miami”.

This season Federer has a positive record of 12 wins in his 14 matches and lifted the 100th title of his career beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in Dubai.

Federer is looking forward to the Miami Open where he headlines the bottom half of the draw. Federer, who won three titles in Miami in 2005, 2006 and 2017, will take on either Matthew Eden from Australia or a qualifier in the second round and could renew his battle against his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the third round for the second consecutive tournament after winning their recent all-Swiss clash in Indian Wells in straight sets last week. Federer leads 22-3 in his 25 head-to-head clashes against Wawrinka. Wawrinka beat Federer three times in clay court matches in Monte-Carlo in 2009 and in the 2014 final and Roland Garros in 2015 and is chasing his first win on hard court against his compatriot.

“I think Stan knows that he is very close and it’s just a matter of time until he is going to break through again”,said Federer after their most recent clash at Indian Wells.

Federer could face Danil Medvedev in the Round of 16, Kevin Anderson or Karen Khachanov in the quarter final and a semifinal against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or last year’s Miami finalist Alexander Zverev.



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Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos lift their maiden Masters 1000 title as a title in Indian Wells



Unseeded Nikola Mektic from Croatia and Horacio Zeballos won their first doubles title as a team after beating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 4-6 6-4 10-3.

Kubot and Melo drew the first blood by getting an early break in the first game, but Mektic and Zeballos broke straight back in the second game. Mektic and Zeballos fended off two break points in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kubot and Melo went up a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The Polish and Brazilian team fended off a break point before serving out for the first set in the 10th game.

Mektic and Zeballos were not able to convert any of their two break points in the fourth game of the second set, but they held their service games easily and broke serve in the 10th game on the deciding point forcing the match to the decisive Match tie-break. Mektic and Zeballos cruised through to winning the tie-break 10-3 clinching their maiden doubles title as a team. Zeballos and Mektic won 40 % of their return points.

Earlier this week Mektic and Zeballos saved two match points in a match tie-break against this year’s Australian Open Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut before beating Colombian doubles specialists Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the quarter finals and Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the semifinal.

“It’s unbelievable. Being in the big press conference, it’s great. I have never been in this room. I love it”,said Zeballos in the post match press conference.

“Oh my God, we won Indian Wells. We are a great team. We can beat anyone. Especially on this tournament where the difference is a few balls. A few points will decide who is going to win. Of course you are not expecting to win, but we are going into every match confident that we can win, so we just went step by step and it happened”, said Mektic.

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Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot beat Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini to reach the Indian Wells doubles final



Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Poland’s Lukasz Kubot secured their spot in the final of the doubles tournament of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after beating singles world number 1 player Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 10-6 in the super tie-break.

Melo and Kubot will face Horacio Zeballos and Nikola Mektic, who beat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3). Melo and Kubot have played together since 2017, while Zeballos and Mektic are teaming up for their second time in their careers.

In the first set Kubot and Melo earned an immediate break in the first game in the first game. Djokovic and Fognini broke back in the 10th game at 15 to draw level to 5-5. Kubot and Melo came back from 1-4 down to win the tie-break 7-5. Djokovic and Fognini broke twice in the first and fifth games to clinch the second set 6-2. Kubot and Melo took the 10-6 edge in the super tie-break.

Djokovic and Fognini thrilled the crowd with their spectacular tennis, but doubles specialists won the most crucial points.

“I think the fact we played together for a long time, this makes a difference. We were aggressive in important moments. We do what we have to do and most of the time for us, it pays off. I am very happy with this, so let’s go forward for tomorrow to the finals”, said Melo.

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