Novak Djokovic Hits Back At Media Over Criticism Of His Role As Council President - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Hits Back At Media Over Criticism Of His Role As Council President

The world No.1 has said it is unfair that he is being held accountable for ‘everything that happens in tennis.’

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photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

Novak Djokovic has said he is being unfairly portrayed in the media as the ‘decision maker’ on the ATP Player Council in light of a series of recent arguments involving off-court politics.

 

Djokovic currently serves as the president of the council, which comprises of a total of 10 members. The Serbian has recently been accused as being a key driving force in the move to remove Chris Kermode from his position as CEO. Something Djokovic has never spoken in favour of in public. The group voted on Kermode’s future and then passed their results to the three player representatives, who made the final decision. The results of that vote were never made public, which has lead to speculation.

The latest decision facing the council is selecting the replacement for the recently resigned Justin Gimelstob on the ATP Board. On Tuesday it was announced that two people have been shortlisted for the role. Former player Nicolas Lapentti and long-time ATP employee Weller Evans.

“I don’t think it’s fair that you guys point out myself as the decision maker. I’m president of the council, but it consists of 10 players. The majority decides. I am one of the 10.” Djokovic commented about his role in the process.
“I do have respect of players, of course. I’m very privileged to be leading the group. But I cannot make decisions on behalf of the group, nor any of my stands can make a difference in majority votes for someone else or something else. That’s going to be the same kind of process now.”

31-year-old Djokovic has been accused of being a key supporter for changes to be made to the structure and leadership of the governing body of men’s tennis. In the past, he has described the organisational structure as ‘a bit flawed.’ However, he has been silent about Kermode’s future and who could potentially replace him.

“I feel that I’ve been exposed way too much for being president of the council, having that role.” The 15-time grand slam champion argues.
“Everyone holds me accountable for everything that happens in tennis at the moment, which I think it’s unfair.’
“I’m not the only one there. If someone wants to understand the way the structure works, then he wouldn’t be having that kind of approach.”

One argument is that there needs to be more transparency from the Council meeting. The idea being that if the public is aware of what is being discussed, there would be no speculation or misinformation about certain subjects. It is understood that all members of the council agreed to keep the results of their vote on Kermode’s future private.

“I can give you (the media) some information. Some information I’m just not in that privileged position to give you , or I can, but then it’s not fair towards the president of ATP or board members that are supposed to also communicate.” Djokovic explained.
“I just feel like the way we go about things, there’s a lack of respect.” He added.

On the court, Djokovic will kick-off his Rome campaign against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov. He will be bidding to win a second consecutive title on the tour following his triumph at the Madrid Open last week.

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Alexander Zverev edged past Hugo Dellien to reach the semifinal in Geneva

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World number 5 and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev battled past Bolivian player Hugo Dellien 7-5 3-6 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. Zverev is still seeking his first title of the year.

 

Dellien earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Zverev converted his fourth break-back chance in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Zverev saved a set point at 3-5 at 3-5, while Dellien was serving at 40-30.

Dellien needed one break in the fourth game to win the second set 6-3. Zverev held serve in the third game at the seventh deuce after seven deuces to take a 2-1 lead. The German player got the decisive break in the fourth game and held his serve at love to build up a 4-1 lead. Zverev never looked back to win the third set 6-3.

“I played very aggressive in the important moments. I was very aggressive also in break points down, This is finally something I was looking for in the last few weeks. I think today I showed it”, said Zverev.

Radu Albot came back from 2-4 down to beat Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-5. Albot went up a double break in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Dzumhur pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Albot broke for the third time on her third break point chance to win the first set 6-3.

Dzumhur went up an early break in the first game of the second set. Albot broke back in the eight game to draw level to 4-4 and sealed the win with his second break in the 10th game.

Albot will take on Nicolas Jarry, who dropped just four of his first service points to defeat Taro Daniel 6-1 7-5.

 

 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili sets up Lyon semifinal against Felix Auger Aliassime

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Four-time ATP Tour finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili secured his spot in the semifinal where he will face Felix Auger Aliassime in Lyon

 

Basilashvili came back from an early break down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-4 in the quarter final of the Parc Auvergne Rhone Alpes Lyon.

Tsonga got an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead, but Basilashvili recovered from the early start by breaking serve twice in the third and seventh games to take a 4-3 lead. The Georgian player held his final two service games at 30 to close out the opening set 6-4.

Basilashvili needed only a break in the third game of the second set to clinch the second set 6-4 to reach his first semifinal since winning the China Open in 2018.

Basilashvili set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Rio de Janeiro finalist and Miami Open champion Felix Auger Aliassime, who edged Steve Johnson 6-4 2-6 6-4. Auger Aliassime got a break of serve in the third game to clinch the opening set 6-4. Johnson bounced back by breaking twice in the second and eighth game to claim the second set 6-2. Auger Aliassime went up a double break in the third and fifth games to build up a 5-2 lead, but Johnson pulled one break back in the eighth game, when the 18-year-old player was serving for the match. Auger Aliassime served out for the match 6-4 in the 10th game.

Benoit Paire battled past Denis Shapovalov 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Paire broke serve twice in the fifth and ninth games to seal the opening set 6-3. Shapovalov claimed his only break in the fifth game to win the second set 6-4. Paire saved a total of three break points in the first and third games. Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. Paire reeled off the final three points from 4-4 to claim the tie-break 7-4.

Taylor Fritz fought back from one set down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4 after two hours and five minutes. Bautista Agut fended off one set point at 5-6 to take the tie-break of the opening set. Fritz fought back to open up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game to claim the second set 6-4. The US player earned the decisive break in he ninth game to secure his spot in his first semifinal since the 2018 Chengdu Open.

 

 

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Tomas Berdych to Miss French Open For The First Time Since 2003

It will be the third grand slam the former top 10 player has missed within the past 12 months.

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Tomas Berdych (photo by chryslène caillaud)

Former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will not play any clay court tournaments in 2019 after withdrawing from the upcoming French Open.

 

The 33-year-old has been absent from the tour since his first round loss to Feliciano Lopez in Indian Wells. Berdych has been hampered by issues within his back in recent weeks. He has been hoping to be fit in time for Roland Garros, but made a decision to withdraw from the event on Wednesday.

“I am not 100% ready to play the way I want and need to be competitive on the courts I love so much,” Berdych wrote on social media.
“I came to Paris and I had to take a tough decision and want another few days to fully recover and be ready for the grass season.”
“I love this tournament so much but I have to make sure not to further injure myself,” he added.

The Czech had played at the tournament every year since making his debut back in 2004. However, the French Open is his worst performing grand slam in terms of wins. So far in his career, Berdych has won 25 out of 40 matches played at the French Open. His stand out performance occurred in 2010 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

It is not the first time back issues have forced Berdych out of action. In 2017 he was advised by doctors to end his season early due to persistent ‘back pain.’ He was also forced to skip both Wimbledon and the US Open due to the same problem.

Berdych, who last won a title at the 2016 Shenzhen Open, has played six tournaments so far this year. His best result occurred in January with a run to the final of the Qatar Open. He also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and was a semi-finalist in Montpellier.

As a result of his absence, Berdych is currently ranked 100th in the world rankings. He will be replaced in the French Open draw by a lucky loser.

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