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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Updated Entry Lists For Eastbourne, Mallorca

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Photo by mallorca-championships.com

Two ATP 250 events will be played on grass before Wimbledon, with a new tournament taking place in Mallorca (Spain).

 

The third week of the shortened grass-court season will see two ATP 250 events being played in Eastbourne (Great Britain) and Mallorca (Spain) from the 20th to the 26th of June. Eastbourne has been hosting a grass-court tournament since 2009, when it took the place of Nottingham in the ATP Tour’s calendar, while the Mallorca Championships is a new event.

World’s number one Novak Djokovic plans to play doubles in Mallorca, while Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev have received a Wild-Card in the singles draw. The defending champion Taylor Fritz has withdrawn from Eastbourne due to injury.


ATP 250 Eastbourne (GBR, Grass), entry list:
Monfils, Gael (FRA)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
OUT Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Paire, Benoit (FRA)
OUT Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)

Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Millman, John (AUS)
Fucsovics, Marton (HUN)
OUT Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
(SE)
(SE)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
IN Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
IN Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
IN Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
IN Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)

Alt.1 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)
Alt.2 Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Alt.3 Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)


ATP 250 Eastbourne (GBR, Grass), qualifying:
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Bagnis, Facundo (ARG)
Ymer, Mikael (SWE)
Anderson, Kevin (RSA)
Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
Kuzmanov, Dimitar (BUL)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
Alt.1 Mahut, Nicolas (FRA)
Alt.2 Viola, Matteo (ITA)
Alt.3 Klein, Lukas (SVK)



ATP 250 Mallorca (ESP, Grass):
Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Lajovic, Dusan (SRB)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
OUT Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
OUT Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
OUT Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)

Pella, Guido (ARG)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Andujar, Pablo (ESP)
Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
(SE)
(SE)
WC Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
WC Thiem, Dominic (AUT)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
IN Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
IN Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)

Alt.1 Munar, Jaume (ESP)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Alt.3 Giron, Marcos (USA)


ATP 250 Mallorca (ESP, Grass), qualifying:
Munar, Jaume (ESP)
Mager, Gianluca (ITA)
Cuevas, Pablo (URU)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Pouille, Lucas (FRA)
Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
Carballes Baena, Roberto (ESP)
Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
Sousa, Joao (POR)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
Istomin, Denis (UZB)
Bachinger, Matthias (GER)
Kuhn, Nicola (ESP)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
Alt.1 Viola, Matteo (ITA)
Alt.2 Watanuki, Yosuke (JPN)
Alt.3 Klein, Lukas (SVK)

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Dominic Thiem Signs Up To New Athlete Management Agency Launched By Kosmos

The world No.5 has become the first athlete to ever be represented by Kosmos.

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Dominic Thiem says he is ‘proud’ to be joining a new agency that has been launched by Kosmos which specialises in athlete management.

 

Kosmos, which was founded by Barcelona F.C star Gerard Pique, says their venture is aimed at supporting those in the world of sport. In a statement issued on Thursday, their objective is to provide ‘comprehensive service to athletes where, in addition to representation, commercial and public relations, it will also provide sports, legal and financial advice.’ The new division will be headed by Galo Blanco who is a former player and coach. Blanco previously served as the Competition Director of Kosmos.

“We are very excited about this project. Many people who have been linked to sport for many years and specialise in different key areas in the development of an athlete’s career work at Kosmos. We know what is important for the active player and for their future, because many of us are or have been professional players,” says Gerard Piqué, President of Kosmos.

27-year-old Thiem is the first athlete to have signed up to the agency. Coincidentally the Austrian was co-coached by Blanco on the Tour between 2017-2018. Blanco ended their collaboration in order to focus on the redevelopment of the Davis Cup. Thiem is now coached on the Tour by Nicolas Massu, as well as his father Wolfgang.

“I am very happy that Galo is part of the team again. He has been very close to me and my family, even when he stopped being my coach,” said Thiem.
“The season has not started as I would have liked, I am working very hard to get back to the level of the end of 2020, and adding Galo and the rest of the Kosmos team can bring a lot of positive things.”

Kosmos has become a growingly influential business in tennis since its launch. The company are the financial masterminds behind transforming the Davis Cup and have pledged to invest $3bn into the competition over a 25-year period.

This year’s Davis Cup finals have been spread across three cities in Madrid, Innsbruck and Turin over 11 days. Pique said the decision to use multiple cities is to prevent late-night finishes in the competition which was a problem back in 2019. Two year’s ago, Italy’s clash with the USA concluded at 4am.

“Some of the matches ended very late, so we made the decision to go to other cities and to play in 11 days instead of seven,” he said at the event’s official launch earlier this year. “The event has been evolving, maturing.”

Albert Costa, who is currently the Davis Cup Finals Director, will also take on the role of Competition Director for Kosmos.

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Uncle Toni Backs Rafael Nadal To Win 21st Grand Slam Title Before Season Ends

Nadal’s former mentor also explains why he was hoping Novak Djokovic would lose in the French Open final.

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The former coach of Rafael Nadal says he remains confident that he will win another major title in 2021 despite losing in the semifinals of the French Open.

 

Toni Nadal, who is Nadal’s uncle that introduced him to the sport at a young age, says he is ‘maintaining confidence’ that the Spaniard can achieve more major glory. The king of clay is currently tied with Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles won by a male singles player, which is 20. Although Novak Djokovic is now on 19 and could possibly overtake his two rivals this year should he achieve a calendar Grand Slam.

It was Djokovic who knocked Nadal out of the French Open after prevailling in four sets during their semi-final encounter. The Serbian has become the first player in history to have beaten him at the tournament on multiple occasions.

“We saw a good game and a denouement that brings Novak dangerously close to Federer and Rafael, in their struggle to close their respective careers as the greatest conqueror of Grand Slam titles,” Toni wrote for El Pais. “The next two tournaments, Wimbledon and the US Open, will probably be decisive in unveiling it. I would not dare to venture conclusions, but I do dare to maintain the confidence that it is my nephew who raises one of the two.”

Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion but he hasn’t lifted the trophy since 2010 and it has been a decade since he reached the final. At the US Open he has enjoyed more success by winning four titles, including two out of the past four times. He missed the US Open last year due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his column the 60-year-old admitted that he was hoping Djokovic would lose the French Open final to Stefanos Tsitsipas because it ‘would help alleviate’ his nephew’s disappointment. In the title match the world No.1 battled back from two sets down to clinch the title. Becoming the first man in the Open Era to have won every major tournament at least twice.

“The only thing that could have somewhat alleviated the disappointment over Rafael’s defeat in his Roland Garros semi-final match against Novak Djokovic would have been that he was defeated in the final by Stefanos Tsitsipas,” he wrote.
“Throughout these last two weeks of competition I was telling my children. The player that I saw as most capable of beating the Serbian on clay if the opportunity arose, apart from my nephew, of course, was precisely the Greek. And for much of the meeting I held out hope that it would happen.”

Nadal is currently back home in Manacor where he attended the graduation ceremony of his academy on Wednesday. He is not expected to play in any tournament leading up to Wimbledon which will begin a week Monday.

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