Novak Djokovic Edges Thiem To Secure Historic 8th Australian Open Title - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Edges Thiem To Secure Historic 8th Australian Open Title

Novak Djokovic won a historic eighth Australian Open title as he edged out Dominic Thiem in five sets.

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Novak Djokovic (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic edged out Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 to secure his 8th Australian Open title and 17th grand slam title. 

 

For the first time in his career, Novak Djokovic came back from 2 sets to 1 down in a grand slam final as he denied Dominic Thiem a first grand slam title.

The Serb lacked energy in the middle of the match but ultimately played his best tennis when it mattered as he made history once again.

As well as winning an 8th Australian Open title and 17th grand slam title, Djokovic will also return to world number one on Monday.

Looking for his 8th Australian Open title, Djokovic made an emphatic start as he rushed Thiem into errors from the back of the court.

The Austrian looked to take the match to Djokovic using his power but wasn’t allowed to implement that in the early exchanges as some impressive defence saw the Serb blast his way into a 3-0 lead.

However Thiem, who was into his 3rd grand slam final, started to find some rhythm and denied the red-hot Djokovic a double break lead.

This would cost Djokovic as the 5th seed finally found his fire-power that was missing in the opening five games as some stunning backhand winners gave him the break back in the 7th game.

Eventually though, Thiem got tight and nervous when serving to stay in the set and a costly double fault handed the 7-time Australian Open champion the opening set.

Although he didn’t show his best tennis in the opening set, Thiem bounced back in the second set with some powerful and smart retuning. This time it was Djokovic’s turn to double fault on break point down as the Austrian sealed the early break.

There was more tightness from Thiem in the latter stages of the set as he pushed too aggressively and Djokovic started to improve his level.

Even though the break back was secured, the world number two lost his concentration when called for two time violations in the game, which led to a loss of first serve and loss of game as well.

As Djokovic continued to share his anger with Damien Dumusois, Thiem held convincingly to level the match at one set all.

There was a momentum shift in the Austrian’s favour at the start of the third set as the Serb started to look physically drained.

Two quick breaks was sealed from Thiem who powered his shots past the tame Djokovic defence as a 4-0 lead was secured.

Despite some late resilience from Djokovic, it was all about the Austrian who was now a set away from his first grand slam title.

After an off-court medical time-out, the second seed started to look in better shape and became more solid as he looked to force a fifth set.

As both players started to play confidently on serve, something had to give in terms of players’ level and that is exactly what happened in the eighth game.

The Austrian’s level dipped which produced four unforced errors in a crucial service game. Just like all great champions, Djokovic pounced breaking serve and keeping his cool to seal the fourth set 6-3. This Australian Open final was going five sets.

Another few costly unforced errors cost Thiem to start the fifth set as Djokovic sealed the early break for 2-1 as he was closing in on history.

There were a few opportunities for the Austrian to break back but the pressure told when it really mattered as he couldn’t find his way past an unstoppable Novak Djokovic.

After 4 hours and 3 minutes, Djokovic secured a 17th grand slam title and an 8th Australian Open title to continue setting records in tennis.

https://twitter.com/doublefault28/status/1223957229801484289

In the trophy ceremony, both Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic praised each other’s achievements, “Huge congrats to Novak. Unreal what you are doing throughout all these years. You and two other guys have brought men’s tennis to a new level, I’m really proud I can compete in this time and period of tennis,” Thiem said.

“Congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament. It wasn’t to be tonight. You were very close to win it, you have a lot of time in your career to get one of the Grand Slam trophies,” Djokovic added.

It also means that the big three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will win the next 13 grand slam titles.

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‘He Did Everything I did, Only Better’ – Pat Rafter Names The Toughest Rival Of His Career

The two-time grand slam champion opens up about his toughest rivalry as he predicts a bleak outlook for the 2020 tennis season.

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Former world No.1 Pat Rafter has named an American tennis legend as the player who he struggled the most against throughout his professional career.

 

The 47-year-old was a star of Australian tennis during his playing days after achieving a series of milestones. His accolades include becoming the first player from his country in 28 years to reach the top of the ATP rankings in 1999 and becoming the first man to win the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati Masters and US Open within the same year. Rafter is also the last player outside of the Big Three to have won back-to-back US Open titles after triumphing in 1997 and 1998.

Despite his successes, there was one player that caused him difficulty. Rafter played Pete Sampras 16 times on the ATP Tour, but could only win four of those encounters. At one stage he lost to the 14-time grand slam champion eight times in a row.

“The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.” Rafter told Eurosport.
“His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it Sampras the stand-out. I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him.”

The rivalry between the two was tense at times. Highlighted best by their encounter in the 1998 US Open semifinals. Sampras complained of a quadriceps injury following his loss to the Australian. Prompting Rafter to famously say ‘he’s becoming a bit of a crybaby.’ A few months before that comment, he admitted that his relationship with the American wasn’t solid by saying ‘We’re not the best of mates. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, put it that way.’

22 years on from the verbal exchange between the two, Rafter now describes it as a thing of the past. Insisting that his rival never took what he said to him ‘personally.’

“I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.” He recounted.
“He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and don’t take it personally. It’s all good.”

No tennis in 2020

Besides reminiscing about his playing career with Eurosport, Rafter has also predicted a bleak outlook for this year’s tour. All professional tournaments have been suspended until July 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time since 1945 Wimbledon has been cancelled due to the situation.

Many are now speculating as to when it will be possible for the tour to resume. The US Open is still optimistic that they can hold their tournament as scheduled later this summer. Meanwhile, the French Open is set to be played during the later part of September. However, Rafter doubts that either of those tournaments will happen.

“No, I think this (the virus) is going to be around for a long time.” Rafter commented on the chances of the 2020 season resuming. “Until they get a vaccine I can’t see how anyone is going to be playing.’
“Personally, I think it’ll be like the flu and we’ll have to get used to it.”

Potentially one solution for the tournaments would be to host matches without spectators. In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. An approach that has already been taken by other sports such as football. However, Wimbledon refused to consider that option this year.

“I think they could. No spectators. Sure. No ball-boys – I’d love to see the players pick up the balls themselves!” he concluded.

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‘Don’t Be Afraid’ – Nick Kyrgios Offers Support To Those Struggling During Covid-19 Pandemic

The bad boy of tennis says he will support those in need by delivering essential supplies.

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Former top 20 player Nick Kyrgios has urged members of the public to reach out to him if they require any help during the covid-19 pandemic in a social media post.

 

The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist has offered to deliver food to those who are struggling during the current crises, which has suspended the ATP and WTA Tours until at least July. It is estimated by economists that more than 500,000 people in Kyrgios’ home country of Australia will lose their jobs due to the outbreak. There have been more than one million cases of the coronavirus worldwide with many countries currently placed in a lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

‘If ANYONE is not working/not getting an income and runs out of food, or times are just tough… please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach,’ Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
‘Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share whatever I have.
‘Even just for a box of noodles, a loaf of bread or some milk. I will drop it off at your doorstep, no questions asked.’

In Australia there have been 5687 cases of Coronavirus as of Sunday which has resulted in 34 deaths. This is according to figures provided by chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy.

It is not the first time Kyrgios has offered to support those in need. Earlier this year he was an instrumental figure in helping raising money for the Australian bushfire appeal. Donating AUS$200 for every ace produced during the first month of the season and participating in a series of exhibition matches. According to 7 News, Kyrgios raised in the region of AUS$100,000 for the bushfire fund.

Kyrgios is currently ranked 40th in the world and has won six out of his nine matches played earlier this season. At the Australian Open he reached the fourth round before falling in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

 

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Diego Schwartzman On Playing The Big Three And Who He Believes Is The Best

The top-20 player pays tribute to the three tennis legends as he cast his vote in the greatest of all time debate.

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When it comes to taking on the Big Three in tennis, Diego Schwartzman is perhaps one of the best players to provide an insight into how frustrating it can be.

 

The Argentine world No.13 has played a member of the illustrious trio no less than 18 times in his career, but is yet to gain a single victory to his name. Consisting of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the big three have dominated men’s tennis in recent years. Between them, they have won the last 13 grand slams and at least one of them has featured in 58 out of the past 60 major finals. Since February 2004, Andy Murray is the only player outside of the group to have held the No.1 position.

Schwzrtman’s record against the big guns has seen him lose to Nadal nine times as well as succumbing to both Djokovic and Federer on four occasions. Nevertheless, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist isn’t bitter as he hails their achievements in the sport.

“Against Nadal you always come in hope of giving him a fight on any day and on any surface, but you quickly realize that it is almost impossible to defeat him.” Schwartzman said during an Instagram live chat with journalist Danny Miche.
“Djokovic makes me feel that in the second game of service I no longer have lungs. It’s unbelievable.’
“Federer gives you more air (time), but you don’t seem to know how to play tennis. It’s amazing how he hits the ball.’
“The three are unbelievable, in different ways.”

There is also the ongoing debate as to who should be named the greatest of all time. Each player has their own credentials. Federer currently has the all-time lead for most grand slam titles at 20. Nadal has won more ATP tournaments on the clay than any other player in history. Meanwhile, current world No.1 Djokovic has won more prize money in the sport than any other player – male or female.

Weighing on the debate, Schwartzman has given the edge to Djokovic. Prior to the suspension of the tour due to covid-19, Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row. Claiming titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

“At his best, Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal many times on the clay and Roger Federer many times on the grass. So maybe I would say that he is slightly above the other two.” He explained.
“Let’s see if you can reach the records, now it was packed and saw that pace being broken. But Djokovic knows that he has to keep the level, because if he doesn’t win he will win the other two.”

Schwartzman started the year by winning nine out of 14 matches played. His best performance of the season so far took place on home territory when he reached the final of the Cordoba Open before losing to Christian Garin.

The Big Three head-to-head

Djokovic

Nadal

Federer

Djokovic

N/A

29-26

27-23

Nadal

26-29

N/A

24-16

Federer

23-27

16-26

N/A

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