Rowdy Crowd ‘Exceeds Expectations’ For Novak Djokovic As Serbia Eases Into ATP Cup Semis - UBITENNIS
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Rowdy Crowd ‘Exceeds Expectations’ For Novak Djokovic As Serbia Eases Into ATP Cup Semis

The world No.2 admitted that at times the enthusiasm of the fans got too much during his latest match in Sydney.

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Novak Djokovic (image via https://twitter.com/ATPCup)

Novak Djokovic has hailed the ‘Davis Cup-like’ Atmosphere in Sydney during his country’s clash with Canada in the quarter-finals of the ATP Cup on Friday.

 

The world No.2 guided his team to a 3-0 whitewash win over the North American country, but was pushed to his limits during his clash with Denis Shapovalov. In a dramatic encounter, the 16-time grand slam champion battled for more than two-and-a-half hours to prevail 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4). Withstanding 14 aces that were fired from across the court.

“I thought he played on a very high level. At times in the match when we played quite even, I was just trying to hold on and fight my way to have a better position in the rally, but he was just very aggressive.” Said Djokovic.
“He served extremely well, all corners, very hard to read his serve. I thought he played the best match against me in all our matchups so far.” He added.

In the deciding set emotions was high for the Serbian star and he wasn’t afraid to express his frustration. Midway through, Djokovic was bemused when he was slammed with a verbal obscenity by the umpire for shouting a word out loud. Prompting him to exchange words with umpire Carlos Bernardes. Then later on in the decider, the Serbian went to the rescue of a fan in the crowd by bringing them a bottle of water after they fainted. Despite those incidents, Djokovic managed to hold his nerve for the win.

Throughout the encounter it was noticeable that the rowdy crowd was on the side of Djokovic and his team. Tension rose when they were seemingly taunting Shapovalov during one stage of the match. Which the Canadian allegedly responded by saying “F*** You’ to the crowd before receiving a warning in set number two. Later in the match Bernardes was forced to intervene.

“This is a tennis game. The most important thing for all of us is respect,” he told the crowd. “If you don’t want to watch tennis, go home. Don’t disturb those who are here to watch tennis.”

Despite the tension, Djokovic has praised the support he received on the court from the crowd. Saying that his team was ‘super grateful’ for them. However, he also sympathised with his opponent’s frustration with them.

“We were hoping that we’re going to have a big support, but this has definitely exceeded our hopes and expectations, and we are super grateful to have this many Serbian people show up.” Said Djokovic.
“We knew that Serbian community is big in Sydney, but we didn’t know that this many people would come. So loud. And they were engaged sometimes a little bit too much, and Denis was rightfully annoyed at times with the sounds. But it was a Davis Cup-like atmosphere.”

Djokovic wasn’t the only Serbian victor in Sydney. Earlier in the day, compatriot Dusan Lajovic brushed aside Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2. Then in the doubles Nikola Čačić and Viktor Troicki eased to a 6-3, 6-2, win over Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin.

Next up for the European nation will be a clash with Russia, who defeated Argentina 3-0 yesterday. The team is lead by world No.4 Danil Medvedev. Looking ahead to the showdown, captain Nenad Zimonjić is quietly confident about success.

“The Russian team is an extremely tough team. I would say that they have two really strong players, but also having Novak on the team and then Dusan in their high form, I think everything is possible there.” Said Zimonjić.

Serbia has won 10 out of 12 matches so far at the ATP Cup.

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman

The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.

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Australian player John Millman has indicated that he believes the current suspension of the ATP Tour is all but certain to be extended in the coming weeks.

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both the ATP and WTA Tour have been suspended until at least June 8th. Although those in change of both of those governing bodies have previously admitted they are uncertain as to when play will resume. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has said that ‘it is unknown at this time’ as to when men’s tournaments will resume. Meanwhile, Steve Simon has echoed a similar view during an interview with The Tennis Channel.

Speaking about the current situation, world No.43 Millman said the sport is in a difficult situation due to its global reach with both tournaments and players based around the world. For example the Australian started his season by playing four tournaments in four different countries across three continents within five weeks.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told The Age.
“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).
“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s
where the problems lie.”

The 30-year-old didn’t speculate as to when he and his rivals will be returning to the court, but believes it could be a while. During the coming week the fate of Wimbledon will be decided at an emergency meeting. The All England Club is pondering the motion of cancelling this year’s tournament. A move that has never been taken during peacetime. Wimbledon has been scrapped a total of 10 times during the first and second world wars.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.” Millman commented.

Besides trying to maintain fitness, many players like Millman are in a difficult situation financially due to a lack of income. He has managed to earn $290,705 on the tour this year before the suspension. This is the 44th highest total on the men’s tour. In total, 131 players have surpassed the $100,000 mark. Although the earnings don’t take into account travel costs, coaching, accommodation and so on.

“I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in,” he said.
“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.
“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me.”

Millman reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

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Jamie Murray Speaks Out On Wimbledon Dilemma

The two-time mixed doubles champion shares his thoughts about the current situation and the problems that could arise.

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Former world No.1 doubles player Jamie Murray says he is unsure how much longer Wimbledon can be delayed this season ahead of a crucial meeting on its future next week.

 

The All England Club is set to hold an emergency meeting to make a final decision as to what to do with this year’s tournament. Including the possibility of cancelling the event for the first time since 1945. The tennis calendar has been brought to a standstill due to the covid-19 pandemic. There have been more than 500,000 cases of Coronavirus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

Speaking about Wimbledon’s potential decision during an interview with BBC Scotland’s The Nine, Murray admits that organisers face a difficult decision. Saying it would pose as a big challenge for them to reschedule the event. Both the ATP and WTA are currently reviewing their calendars with the French Open now taking place a week after the US Open.

“I don’t know how long they could push it back,” said Murray.
“They’re desperate to have their event on, it’s still over three months away and a lot can change in that time,” he added.

Murray has featured in the doubles main draw at Wimbledon every year since his debut back in 2006. He has won the Mixed doubles trophy twice in 2007 (with Jelena Jankovic) and 2017 (with Martina Hingis). The 34-year-old currently has a doubles ranking of 34th.

“For them, optics don’t necessarily look great, I guess, if there’s sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they’re trying to crack on with things.” He commented on the scheduling difficulties.
“There’s a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament. Once the tournament gets put back, there’s less and less daylight. When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night.”

The UK is currently in a lockdown with members of the public only allowed to leave their houses for specific reasons. Furthermore, 1.5 million people have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. The government is hopeful that they can flatten the spread of the disease within this period, which is extremely close to the Wimbledon start date.

According to AFP News, any decision to scrap this year’s tournament is likely to have a massive financial impact. Between 2017-2018 Wimbledon made an estimated pre-tax profit of $52 million with over 90% of that invested back into British tennis. Furthermore, the BBC could also suffer a big blow. It is reported that the broadcaster pays in the region of $72 million for the TV rights.

It is unclear as to what day the decision will be made next week. Since its creation in 1877, Wimbledon has been cancelled a total of 10 times before. All of which happened during the first world war (1915-1918) and second (1940-1945). The event has never been delayed or scrapped during peacetime.

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