Novak Djokovic accepts that playing in front of empty stands is the only solution to continue the tour - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic accepts that playing in front of empty stands is the only solution to continue the tour

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Novak Djokovic talked about the problems tennis players are facing in this difficult period in a recent interview to three-time Grand Slam champion Guga Kuerten. The Serb said that he cannot imagine the idea of playing behind closed doors.

 

The interview was part of a promotion for Kuerten’s “Vencendo Juntos” programme to raise 10 Million Brazilian Real to help 35000 Brazilian families affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Djokovic and Roger Federer have agreed to show their support for the initiative.

“I honestly don’t dream to play in front of empty stands, but it looks like that it’s going to be the reality of tennis. We have probably to accept that if we want to continue the tour, then we have to be playing in restricted conditions that will at least allow us to play and compete. Of course it is not ideal. Of course, I play for me and my family. My opinion is that I personally don’t play tennis for me only. Of course, I play for me and my family. I feel like tennis gives me so much joy and I love playing it and of course, I practice. I don’t need to have people there every practice. I think the advantage of tennis in these circumstances compared to many other sports is that you can play national level tournaments if countries between themselves allow people and players to travel between the countries”, said Djokovic.  

Tennis players are going through a lot of challenges in this difficult period.

“We have earned enough money to have comfortable lives. We are lucky and grateful to have this life, but 95% of tennis players and also the people in the world, but also the people in the world, but we are talking about tennis now, they are fighting. This is the reality. Especially those in the lowest positions. They do not have the opportunity to compete and earn money. For many of those players, this is about surviving, continuing to play professional tennis or quitting. I have spent a lot of time in the last two months helping the Serbian Tennis Federation organize a tour. I also spend a lot of time talking to the ATP and the Council, trying to understand the players, with the ATP, with the President and player representatives, about the best ways to help lower-ranking players. I hold myself accountable not only because I am the President of the ATP Council but also as one of the best players in the world and someone was very successful in tennis and made a lot of money from it. I need to be present as much as I can, be available to contribute in any way possible. I spoke with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal there was a lot of communication. I am very happy with how the world of the men’s tennis responded in these difficult times”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic said that he would like to visit Rio de Janeiro to play an exhibition match with Kuerten. The Serb visited Rio de Janeiro in November 2012 for the opening of a tennis court in the Rocinha part of the city, one of the largest slums in South America.

“I remember the day we played at Macaranazinho. I remember Rio well. I remember well. It was one of the best days of my life”, said Djokovic.

 Djokovic showed his appreciation for Guga Kuerten.

“Guga is one of the most charismatic players to have been involved in tennis and today he showed why. Brazilian tennis has a great spirit and big soul. Serbia is a small country but it has a lot of common with Brazil. We are very emotive people”, said Djokovic.

 

Djokovic started the 2020 season with an unbeaten streak of 18 wins and claimed three titles at the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup in Australia, the Australian Open in Melbourne and Dubai.

 

The Serbian star saved two match points to beat Roger Federer in an epic five-set Wimbledon final last July. He won his 17th Grand Slam title in Melbourne by beating Dominic Thiem.

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Andrey Rublev wins opening match of the Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel

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This year’s Doha and Adelaide Andrey Rublev rallied from losing the first set to beat Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6 6-4 15-13 in the opening match of the Thiem’s 7 exhibition tournament in Kitzbuhel.

 

Struff broke Rublev in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Rublev broke straight back, but Struff earned another break to clinch the first set 6-3. There were only two break points in the second set. Rublev earned the crucial break to win the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the decisive super tie-break. Rublev earned two match points at 9-7, but he did not convert any of them. Struff earned a match point as he was leading 10-9 and got two more chances to win the match at 12-11 and 13-12, but he did convert them. Rublev won the final three points to clinch the tie-break 15-13.

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Kitzbuhel set to host the Thiem 7 tournament

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The famous Austrian alpine ski resort of Kitzbuhel hosts the exhibition tournament Thiem 7 organized by world number 3 and this year’s Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem from 7 to 11 July 2020.

 

The tournament features 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini, 2019 Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut, 2018 Paris Bercy champion Karen Khachanov, this year’s Doha and Adelaide champion Andrey Rublev, Jan-Lennard Struff from Germany, Casper Ruud from Norway and Dennis Novak from Austria.

The eight players were split in two groups. The Group IFA features Thiem, Rublev, Struff and Ruud. Berrettini, Bautista Agut, Khachanov and Novak have been drawn in the Soccercoin Group.

The format is similar to the ATP Finals in London. In the semifinals the respective group leaders face the group leaders of the other group.

In the third set there will be only one match tie-break up to 10. The semifinals will be held on Friday at 13.30 am and 15.00 pm.

“It’s just fantastic to be here again. I am really looking forward to seeing the other players again. Most of them, I have not met most of them since March at Indian Wells”, said Thiem.  

 During the first day four matches will be held. Rublev will play against Struff in the opening match. Thiem will open his campaign against Ruud. Berrettini will clash against Novak. Khachanov will meet Bautista Agut in the final match of the opening day.

Thiem won the Kitzbuhel ATP 250 tournament last year.

“It was the first time I saw a bit in the organization calling the players and asking if they were coming, which was a lot of fun. Of course it is also the first time in Kitzbuhel since the emotional triumph last year. My father Wolfgang is there as a sporting director and many Kitzbuhelers are behind the project”, said Dominic Thiem.  

In Kitzbuhel 500 spectators will be allowed for each session to respect all hygiene and protective measures. There are tickets for all days. There is a day and and an evening session.

“I learnt the lesson from the Adria Cup in Belgrade. The respect of all protocols will be very strict for the 500 spectators allowed in each session”, said Thiem.

 

Thiem will travel to Berlin for the next exhibition tournament in Berlin, which will be played on grass.

 

“It will be interesting because it is on the lawn”, said Thiem.

 

After a week off Thiem will start his preparation for next  Cincinnati Masters 1000 and the US Open.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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