Former Player Woodbridge Claims Novak Djokovic Is ‘A Victim Of Wanting To Be Loved’ - UBITENNIS
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Former Player Woodbridge Claims Novak Djokovic Is ‘A Victim Of Wanting To Be Loved’

One of Australia’s most successful doubles players of all time has made a bold claim about the world No.1.

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16-time grand slam doubles champion Todd Woodbridge has claimed that Novak Djokovic is craving to be more popular than he already is.

 

The 48-year-old Australian spoke about the world No.1 on TV Show Sports Sunday. During the final of the Wimbledon championships, Djokovic played Roger Federer. During their clash, it was evident that the crowd favoured world No.3 Federer over him. Following the match Djokovic played down the incident. However, father Srdjan was far from happy about how his son was treated.

“There was a lot of unfriendliness in the cheering of the English fans towards Novak,” he said.
“I have the impression that they were less cheering for Federer and more against Novak.”

Weighing in on the subject, Woodbridge believes Djokovic wants to be loved too much. Emulating comments that was previously said by compatriot Nick Kyrgios. Earlier this year Kyrgios made a swipe at his fellow rival in an interview with NCR Podcast. Speaking with journalist Ben Rothenberg about Djokovic, he said ‘I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger.’ Something the Woodbridge agrees with.

“He’s the victim of wanting to be loved, more than actually let the people love him. He’s seeking that,” Woodbridge said.
“In the semi-final of Wimbledon, you could see him go like this (cupping his ear) to hear the crowd. [Roberto] Bautista Agut had played a great point and the crowd really appreciated it, but he (Djokovic) wanted his applause to be louder.
“It’s bizarre behaviour from him. Look, he’s an incredible player, but he doesn’t need to go down that route; ‘Why aren’t you cheering for me even louder?’ And the crowd are going, ‘Mate, that was a great shot, we’re enjoying it, but just move on’.”

It is tough to accurately measure a player’s popularity due to numerous factors that could play a role. However, out of the big three Djokovic is the least popular when it comes to Facebook and Twitter. He is the only one of the trio to have fewer than 10 million Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers.

Social media figures (as of 28/7/19)
Rafael Nadal = 15.7M Twitter followers, 14.4M Facebook likes
Roger Federer = 12.6M Twitter followers, 14.8M Facebook Likes
Novak Djokovic = 8.7M Twitter followers, 7.07M Facebook likes

The 16-time grand slam champion has previously spoken out about dealing with the crowd when they are not on his side. Following his latest triumph at Wimbledon, the 32-year-old explained that ‘mental training’ helps him cope in those situations.

“At times you just try to ignore it, which is quite hard. I like to transmutate it in a way: When the crowd is chanting ‘Roger’ I hear ‘Novak.’ It sounds silly, but it is like that. I try to convince myself that it’s like that.” He told reporters earlier this month.

Djokovic will not be playing in the upcoming Rogers Cup due to fatigue. He is scheduled to return to the courts at the Western and Southern Open, which will get underway on August 11th.

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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