Novak Djokovic dedicates his Australian Open title to Kobe Bryant and to bushfire victims in Australia - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic dedicates his Australian Open title to Kobe Bryant and to bushfire victims in Australia

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Novak Djokovic has claimed a record eighth Australian Open at Melbourne Park after a five-set battle against Dominic Thiem. The Serbian star has become the first player in the Open Era to win Grand Slam titles across three decades. He will make his return to world number 1 ranking next week after his triumph in his favourite tournament.

 

During an emotional on court speech Djokovic paid tribute to Los Angeles legend Kobe Bryant, who died with his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash in California, and to the bushfires victims in Australia.

“There were some devastating things that started 2020 with huge bushfires here in Australia, conflicts in some parts of the world, people dying every day. Obviously one person that I considered close in my life and was a mentor to me, Kobe Bryant, passed away as well as his daughter. I would just like to say that this is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together more than ever. We compete and try our best but obviously there are more important things in life and it’s important to be conscious and humble about things that are happening around you”,said Djokovic.

Djokovic has extended his match record to a perfect 13-0 in the 2020 ATP season. He helped Serbia win the first edition of the ATP Cup. He clinched the 900th match win on the ATP Tour when he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round in Melbourne en route to his eighth title.

“This is definitely my favourite court. My favourite stadium in the world and I am blessed to hold this trophy once again. I would like to congratulate Dominic on an amazing tournament. It wasn’t meant to be tonight. You were very close to winning. You definitely have a lot more time in your career and I am sure you will get more than one Grand Slam trophy in your career”.

 By winning the 17th Grand Slam title of his career, Djokovic comes closer to all-time leaders Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) in the list of the most successful players in the history of the Grand Slam tournaments.

“I am grateful to have an opportunity to win another Australian Open trophy. At this stage of my career, Grand Slam titles are the ones I value the most. They are the ones I prioritize. Before the season starts, I try to set my form, shape for these events where I can be at my prime tennis, mental and physical abilities. There are a lot of stats that obviosly I am proud of, but they can’t dictacte my career. Of course there is a lot of history on the line. I have professional goals. Grand Slams are one of the main reasons why I am still competing and still playing full season, to get the historic number 1. That’s the other big goal. I put myself in this position that is really good at the moment. I am super happy with I started the season. It sets the tone for the rest of the season. There are many things on the tennis court that I can still improve. That excites me and motivates me to go day in, day out with my commitments, with my practice commitments, with my practice sessions, because there is always something to work on. There are always trophies to win”, said Djokovic.

 Thiem: “I really hope that I win my maiden Slam when they are still around”

Thiem, who had beaten Djokovic in four of their five past head-to-head matches coming into the Australian Open final including in the semifinal of 2019 Roland Garros and at the ATP Finals in London, was bidding to become the first new player to win a Grand Slam title since Marin Cilic at the 2014 US Open.

“I definitely gave everything I had. Novak is part of the three guys who are by far the best players ever who played tennis. If you play a Grand Slam finals against him, it’s always going to be a match where very small details are deciding. I could just have converted the breakpoint in the fourth set, where I could have taken the 2-1 lead. I think he had some issues in the second set. He recovered very well. He played really good after in the third and fourth sets. There were some small mistakes here and there, but they are happening. At the end it was a close five-setter”,said Thiem.  

Thiem lost in a Grand Slam final for the third time after finishing runner-up in the past two editions of Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019 to Rafael Nadal.

“Djokovic and Nadal brought tennis to a complete new level. They brought me to a much better level. It was amazing how the matches went this week. It’s great tennis. It’s a great show for everybody. It would be easier for sure in a different era to win big titles, but I am happy that I compete with these guys at the best level. I really hope that I win my maiden Slam when they are still around because the big three are still around”,commented Thiem.

Thiem also paid tribute to the victims of bushfires in Australia after the match.

“It’s very tough what this beautiful country is still going through. I think that the Australian Open was a big distraction, but I still wish that Australia will recover very soon from this tragedy. It’s such a beautiful country, it’s so amazing. I hope that a disaster like this is never happening again”,said Thiem.  

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REPORT: Japanese Tennis Association To Lose One Billion Yen In 2020

The loss of a key men’s event in the country has resulted in millions of dollars being loss in revenue.

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Venue of the 2019 Mens Japan Open (image via https://twitter.com/rakutenopen)

The cancellation of a premier tennis event in Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is set to have a massive financial impact on the country’s governing body.

 

Last month organisers made the decision to scrap the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships this year amid fears of a second wave of the virus in October when the it is set to take place. The tournament is currently categorised as an ATP 500 event and has been held annually since 1973. In 2019 Novak Djokovic won the tournament for the first time in his career without dropping a single set throughout. Other previous winners also include Roger Federer (2006), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Andy Murray (2011).

“Given concerns about a second wave of the infection both in Japan and overseas, we came to the anguished conclusion that we had to cancel,” organisers said in a statement.

It has been estimated that as a result of the move, the Japanese Tennis Association (JTA) will lose millions of dollars in revenue. National news agency Kyodo has estimated the loss to be at least 1 billion Yen ($9.4 million) based on this event alone and no others.

JTA executive director Naohiro Kawatei told Kyodo that moving athletes in and out of the country is problematic due to the current situation. Tokyo has recently raised it’s Coronavirus alert level to the top of a four-point scale after there have been more than 100 new daily cases of the virus in the city for six days in a row. Furthermore, The Bank of Japan has revised down their growth forecasts.

“In addition to players coming from overseas, it is the responsibility of organizers to facilitate their departure, so there are some differences between our sport and others,” said Kawatei.

At present the women’s top tournament in the country is still on the 2020 schedule. The Pan Pacific Open, which is classed as a Premier event, is currently set to take place during the week commencing November 2nd.

Recently the Asian swing of the tennis season has been thrown into jeopardy after the Chinese General Administration of Sports recommended that no sports events take place in the country unless they are related to Olympic qualification. Although sports federations, including both the ATP and WTA, are seeking clarity from officials before they make their next move. China is usually where the majority of Asian tennis events are played, including the WTA Finals.

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Official: No Swiss Indoors In 2020 Due To COVID-19

Roger Federer’s home event was set to take place between October 26th and November 1st.

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By Emil Evtimov

The ATP 500 Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel won’t happen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The organizers of the Swiss Indoors already hinted a couple of weeks ago that the tournament in Roger Federer’s hometown was unlikely to happen due to the Coronavirus and the financial impact from the restrictions on spectator capacity.

This year’s edition would have been the 50th anniversary of the tournament, but is now out of the ATP calendar. Organizers are already making plans for the 2021 edition between 23 and 31 October.

“Dear tennis friends, As a result of the Corona pandemic, the world’s third largest indoor tournament has been definitively cancelled,” a statement issued by the tournament reads.
“The ATP has now formally approved the request to cancel the Swiss Indoors Basel, after the tournament management of the Swiss Indoors had already declared in mid-June that it would be irresponsible and unfeasible to hold the tournament in view of the medical, social and economic uncertainty.”

Founded by Roger Brennwald, the Swiss Indoors had been held every year since 1970. It became an event on the Grand Prix Circuit in 1977 and has been classed as a ATP 500 tournament since 2009. 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, who is a former ball boy at the event, has won the title a record 10 times.

The latest development leaves another big question mark on the remainder of the 2020 season. ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi spoke frankly during an interview with Sky Sport Italia and admitted that he is still unsure of what the final quarter of the calendar will look like.

“We have no idea how the Asian swing or the European indoor season could go. It might sound obvious, but I can’t predict how the virus will affect us going forward, there are too many variables to consider,”  he said.

As of today, the ATP Tour should restart on 14 August with the Citi Open in Washington, followed by the Cincinnati Masters and US Open. After that the tour goes to Europe for a mini clay season with the two Masters (Madrid and Rome) and Roland Garros.

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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