Novak Djokovic’s Italian Open Defeat Raises Questions About Tournament Scheduling - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Novak Djokovic’s Italian Open Defeat Raises Questions About Tournament Scheduling

Did the organisers of Italy’s most prestigious tennis tournament have a negative impact on the men’s final?

Avatar

Published

on

Novak Djokovic (photo by @Gianni Ciaccia)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic said he was ‘running out of fuel’ during his clash with Rafael Nadal in the final of the Italian Open amid criticism over the organisation of the tournament by some.

 

Djokovic suffered a 6-0, 4-6, 6-1, loss to rival Nadal on Sunday at the Foro Italico. The lacklustre match saw the top seed fail to reach his best level as he hit a series of unforced errors and struggled to match the intensity of his opponent’s shot-making. Resulting in a considerably more consistent Nadal claiming a record ninth title at the tournament and his first of the season.

The loss comes after what has been a hectic week for both Djokovic and other players. Midway through the tournament, an entire day was wiped out due to poor weather. Meaning that Djokovic and his rivals had to play both their second and third round matches on Thursday. Following on from that, the Serbian then played back-to-back late night matches at the tournament against Juan Martin del Potro and Diego Schwartzman.

“I really always try to respect the win of my opponent. I don’t like to talk about it too much. It is what it is.” Djokovic replied when questioned about the scheduling of his matches.

Whilst trying to play down the debate, Djokovic believes officials at the tournament should make improvements for the future. Speaking out about one of the men’s doubles matches that took place on Saturday and didn’t finish until 1am. 13 hours before they were due to play the final. The players involved were Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who went on to win the title.

“The schedule can be improved, in my opinion.” He said.
“I think also there was a situation with the doubles match. They finished yesterday, after I ended up my semifinals around 11, and the doubles match was almost 1 a.m. They went out on the court to play their finals at 2 p.m. Those things are a little bit concerning for players. You start asking yourself, How are they making the schedule?”
“It has been like that for singles at least for a while. I accept it. I respect whatever I have in front of me.”

Djokovic is not the first person to criticise the event this year. Dominic Thiem said that he ‘disliked how players were getting treated’ after crashing out in the second round to Fernando Verdasco.

Time for a change?

The Italian Open follows immediately after the Madrid Open. Both tournaments are only seven days long, which forces organisers to try and cram in all the matches. Out of the nine Masters tournaments, Indian Wells and Miami are the only two that takes place over two weeks.

In the past, there has been rumours about both Madrid and Rome, expanding their tournaments to a bigger draw and taking place over 10 days. However, is yet to be given the green light by the ATP. Djokovic acknowledges that such a move with have a knock on effect on the men’s calendar.

“I understand why this tournament or Madrid want to have additional few days. I understand. But then it affects some other weeks or other tournaments. You have to try to find a balance.” The 15-time grand slam champion said.
“It is complicated. I think change is going to happen. That’s my feeling. I don’t know whether this tournament and Madrid will get 10 days. I don’t think one will get, another one will not. So it’s either both or none. That’s my opinion.”

No changes will be made to the events next year with the 2020 calendar already finalised by the ATP. The back-to-back Masters events will take place over 14 days, starting in Madrid on May 5th.

“The schedule and the calendar is very complicated. You gain something, but then you lose and maybe hurt another two or three smaller tournaments.” Explained Djokovic.
“That can create a lot of trouble for ATP as a legal entity.”

The Italian Open has been open to professional players since 1969 and has been held annually every year since.

ATP

Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

Avatar

Published

on

The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

Continue Reading

ATP

Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

Avatar

Published

on

Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

Continue Reading

ATP

Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

Avatar

Published

on

Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending