Grigor Dimitrov’s first day at the French Open consisted of frustration and relief as he narrowly avoided crashing out of his opening match in the tournament.
One year ago, he was seeded fourth at Roland Garros and didn’t drop a set during his first round match. However, since then he has suffered a series of disappointing results on the tour that has resulted in his ranking plummeting. At present, he is 47th in the world and recently played his first qualifying match on the ATP Tour in Geneva since 2012.
Dimitrov’s roller coaster journey continued on Sunday in his opening match at the French major. Taking on veteran player Janko Tipsarevic, who has undergone seven surgeries on his lower body over the years, the Bulgarian battled to a 6-3, 6-0, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, win. Dimitrov was leading the match by two sets and a break, before coming unravelled on the court. Nevertheless, he dug deep to prevail with the help of 70 winners. Placing the blame of his blip down to the mental side of his game.
“A win is a win. Obviously I was a couple of sets up, up a break. I didn’t know exactly how he was feeling, and clearly I think that disrupted me a little bit.” He said.
“But it’s all in the game, to be honest. In the end, it’s up to me that — I mean, in the way that I lost the focus, so I take that for me.”
“Overall, it was great to win that match. I mean, this is what I have waited for, to win matches like that. In the past months, all those matches have gone the other way around for me. And I just felt that this time, really, at the important moment I really stepped up.” He added.
Besides his mental demons, the 28-year-old continues to be hindered by his own body. A shoulder problem forced him out of events in Indian Wells, Acapulco and Rotterdam. Dimitrov’s victory over Tipsarevic is only his 10th of 2019 and the fifth since the Australian Open.
“My shoulder is still not 100%, which is obviously something that it’s on my mind when I’m competing and that takes a little bit of the focus away and the purpose when I get out there (on court).” He revealed.
“But I need to give everything I have when I’m out there on the court even if it’s not going well. It’s simple as that. I just can’t sit around and wait for everything to be 100% in order for me to compete.”
The new team
Earlier this month, Dimitrov announced that he has separated from his coach Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. The split comes after the former top 10 player failed to capitalize on winning the 2017 ATP Finals. Since that triumph, Dimitrov has only managed to reach one other final on the tour at the Rotterdam Open in February 2018.
Now guiding him is former players Radek Stepanek and Andre Agassi. The duo who also briefly mentored Novak Djokovic during the first half of 2018. Stepanek was recruited just for the French Open, but it is possible that his contract may be extended. Meanwhile, Agassi has been a consultant for the Bulgarian since 2018 on a more casual basis.
“I have known Radek for a long time. I always liked the way he was thinking on and off the court.” Dimitrov explained.
“I was just starting when he was around. So I kind of find him very intriguing in a sense with the game that he had. In a way, he’s achieved so much and has done so well.”
“I think this is what I need right now, especially that I haven’t played many matches. I’ve had problems with the shoulder. So I need that positive energy to surround myself with the right people.”
As for Agassi, who Dimitrov says he has a ‘special relationship’ with, talks are ongoing about what his future involvement may look like.
“In the past year we’ve started to speak a little bit more and potentially try to set up the exact weeks or how many weeks we can do, but all that is in the air now a little bit.”
Dimitrov will play Marin Cilic in the second round at the French Open. He is yet to defeat a top 20 player this year.
Novak Djokovic On Why He Didn’t Post Details Of Lockdown Training
The Serbian tennis star has shed some light on his recent training routines as he outlines plans for a Balkan tennis tour.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic has been training almost daily since the world of tennis came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic but opted to keep his activities out of the limelight to avoid any potential backlash from fellow players.
The ATP Tour has been suspended since March due to the Pandemic with officials hoping to restart the sport in some capacity during the summer ahead of the US Open. Nevertheless Djokovic, who started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row, has been able to continue practicing in Marbella. He and his family were staying in a house located next to a tennis court.
Speaking with Serbian reports on Monday, the 17-time grand slam champion admitted that he didn’t want to ‘anger’ others by posting updates on social media of him training. Showing that he has been able to stay active more than other players during the lockdown.
“I had the opportunity to train almost every day during coronavirus because we stayed in a house next to a tennis court. I played a lot of tennis on a hard surface, but I didn’t upload anything on the net so as not to anger other players,” he told The Telegraf.
“I started recently on clay, I had two training sessions here, I feel good physically. I was quite active, I followed my program. Of course, the intensity decreases because I was not preparing for tournaments.”
With uncertainty surrounding when the Tour may start again, numerous countries have created their own domestic tournaments. In Djokovic’s case, he is the founder of his own event that will be played across the Balkan region. The Adria Tour is set to take place between June and July with three top 20 players set to participate. Besides Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov are also taking part.
“I started the whole idea of the project and I communicate every day with TSS (Serbian Tennis Federation) and the company that organizes all this,” said Djokovic.
“The current international competitions, ITF and ATP will not happen before the first of August, and even that is uncertain. Afterwards, I will have time again if things resume on a hard surface in America, because I will have a month to prepare for the continuation of the season.”
Should it all go to plan, the clay-court tournament is set to be played in Belgrade (Serbia), Zadar (Croatia), Montenegro and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Although it has been confirmed that the locations of the Bosnian and Montenegrin events are still not fully confirmed with the possibility of Sarajevo hosting one leg of the tour. Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Prior to the Tour suspension, Djokovic was unbeaten in 2020. He started the season by winning three consecutive titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. Those triumphs enabled him to earn prize money of $4,410,541. He also earned just over $70,000 from playing doubles so far this year.
Nikoloz Basilashvili Domestic Abuse Case: Extraordinary Claims Emerge From Both Sides
One journalist says she has ‘inside knowledge’ that the tennis pro has a history of domestic abuse, but his family has issued a statement claiming the accuser has a record of making false allegations.
On what has been a dramatic day for tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili, his family has now issued a statement in which they have made a series of allegations against his ex-wife.
The world No.27 was arrested on May 22nd over allegations that he ‘physically attacked’ Neli Dorokashvili during a confrontation on the outskirts of Tbilisi. Prosecutors have launched charges against him under the article ‘Domestic violence in the presence of a minor against a member of his family.’ Officials have confirmed that the alleged incident took part in front of their son.
After his initial hearing on Sunday, Basilashvili denied any wrongdoing and paid for a bail. His lawyer, Irma Tchkadua, has said that there is ‘no evidence’ in this case. However The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia is demanding a pre-trial detention of the 28-year-old.
In a new twist to the case, Basilashvili’s family has now issued a statement to news agency IPN in which they have accused Dorokashvili of deliberately making false allegations. Claiming she has made similar claims in the past in order to damage the reputation of the tennis star. Revealing that Basilashvili’s mother, Natalia, have previously faced child abuse accusations.
“We want to respond to the allegations made against Nikoloz and our family today,” the statement begins.
“First of all, we want to apologize to the fans for the false allegations. We declare with full responsibility that the information about violence is not true and there is no evidence that would prove any violent action.’
“It is not happening for the first time that Neli Dorokashvili, Nikoloz’s ex-wife, is trying to inflict moral, financial and reputation damage on Nikoloz and his family’
“After the divorce, Neli Dorokashvili sued Nikoloz Basilashvili’s mother about child abuse. The court considered the complaint and acquitted Basilashvili’s mother.”
Touching on the incident that is alleged to have taken place, the Basilashvili family has said that Dorokashvili broke into the property and tried to start a fight. However, the family statement didn’t address reports that Nodar Basilashvili, who introduced his son to tennis at the age of five, was issued with a restraining order.
“As for the May 21 incident, Neli Dorokashvili broke into the property of the parents of Nikoloz Basilashvili without permission, where she deliberately tried to provoke a conflict. Nevertheless, there was no any violent action against her, not even an attempt. Fortunately, there is evidence for this and the court will consider it on July 16, 2020,” the family insists.
“The trial continues. We believe that Nikoloz will prove his innocence very soon.”
The claims made by a journalist
Despite the calls to dismiss the case, one Georgian journalist has made an extraordinary claim in which she said that Basilashvili has a history of domestic abuse. Magda Kldiashvili, who is the former editor-in-chief of goal.ge, has claimed that the two have been separated for some time and there was a contract drawn up in which he has to pay his ex-wife 100,000 Georgian Lari per month. Their contract is said to be kept confidential according to the journalist. Furthermore, Kldiashvili claims the argument between the two started when Dorokashvili asked for her monthly payment to be increased from 100,000 to 300,000 Lari.
“I have behind-the-scenes information that Nikoloz Basilashvili has been abusing his wife for many years and they have been separated for many years,” newsreport.ge quoted Kldiashvili as writing on Facebook.
“Neli Dorokashvili had a formal contract with her husband, according to which Basilashvili paid her one hundred thousand GEL every month. Basilashvili saw the child with the permission of a social worker and rarely!”
‘It might have been an axe’
The Recorder is one of the first news outlets to obtain a testimony from Dorokashvili herself on the incident. Contradicting a comment previously made by Kldiashvili, she said she has no idea as to why the alleged confrontation occurred. Although she claims that she was chased after by Basilashvili’s father Nodar who was holding what she ‘thought was an axe’ but is unsure.
“The reason for the controversy is still unclear to me, I just went to fetch my son,” Kldiashvili told The Recorder.
“An examination (investigation) has been conducted and is still ongoing. I was not expecting (him) to be released on bail.’
“At my sight, when I visited my son, I don’t know what happened, he (Nodar) was drunk or what he needed, I don’t know, he and his son chased me with some weapons.”
” I can’t confirm what it was, because it had some big tarry, I think it was an axe.” She later added.
It is important to note that all three statements have not been verified and the police investigation is ongoing. The Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria, is examining the case.
"Special bond with my son obligates me to not respond to unsubstantiated allegations, but I believe that I'll prove the truth in court with the help of my lawyers." – said #Georgia|n tennis player Nikoloz #Basilashvili in regards to allegations of domestic violence on his ex-wife pic.twitter.com/BwmW4LFyEc
— Formula News (@FormulaGe) May 24, 2020
World No.27 Nikoloz Basilashvili Facing Domestic Violence Charges
Multiple reports have confirmed that the former top 20 player has been released on bail ahead of a court hearing later this year.
Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili has been arrested and will face court later this year over allegations of violence against his ex-wife.
The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that the tennis star was arrested on May 22nd. A day after he allegedly attacked his former partner, according to an official statement from the prosecution. The incident is said to have taken place on the outskirts of Tbilisi where Basilashvili has been accused of ‘physically attacking’ his ex-wife.
In the wake of the allegation, the world No.27 was hit with a 100, 000 GEL bail, which equates to just over $30,000 in US dollars. Although it has since been confirmed that the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia is demanding a pre-trial detention. Following the initial court session, lawyer Irma Tchkadua has said that Basilashvili denies any wrongdoing.
“He denies charges, as he has not committed anything. There is no evidence in the case”, Inter Presse News quoted the lawyer as telling reporters.
Radio Tavisupleba, which is the Georgian branch of Radio Free Europe, have obtained a statement from the head of the country’s national tennis association. Former Soviet player and 1973 Wimbledon finalist Alexander Metreveli has stated the organisation is firmly against all cases of violence.
“Everyone condemns the fact of violence. For us, because we all know Niko, it is an incredible topic … When a husband and wife leave (separate), there is always some disagreement, not only with Niko. I knew there was a problem,” he said.
The same news network has also reported that the father of Basilashvili has been issued with a restraining order in the wake of the alleged incident. It is unclear how that order is connected to this situation.
Basilashvili peaked at a career ranking high of 16th in the world last year. He has won three ATP 500 titles with two of those occurring in Germany where he won back-to-back titles in Hamburg. His best run at a grand slam was back in 2018 when he reached the fourth round of the US Open.
According to Georgian criminal code, if Basilashvili is found guilty he could face 200 to 400 hours of community service or between one and three years in prison.
A photo of Basilashvili attending his initial court hearing can be seen in the below tweet.
— Radio Tavisupleba (@RTavisupleba) May 24, 2020
Since the publication of this article, The Public Defender of Georgia has confirmed that the alleged incident involving Basilashvili and his ex-wife took place in front of their child. Nino Lomjaria has already started to examine the case.
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