World No.1 Novak Djokovic Unsure About Playing US Open - UBITENNIS
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World No.1 Novak Djokovic Unsure About Playing US Open

The 17-time grand slam champion has confirmed that he is looking at potential options, which include missing New York all together.

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The highest ranked player in men’s tennis could be absent from the next grand slam tournament in order to focus his attention on the upcoming clay-court swing.

 

Novak Djokovic, who started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row, has told Serbian media channel RTS that he is seriously considering missing the US Open. Something he hasn’t done since 2017. The New York major is set to get underway on August 31st under what Djokovic recently described as ‘extreme’ rules in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understood that player’s will be limited to only having one member of their team on site at the grand slam and they will be unable to travel to Manhattan. All tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled since March due to the worldwide health crises.

Djokovic has said he is concerned about how he and other players will be able to train ahead of the US Open given the circumstances with there set to be limited facilities available. Although the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is yet to outline their plans for the event.

“Nothing is certain yet, the final decision will be made at the end of this month. At the moment, the measures are extremely strict,” RTS quoted the 17-time grand slam champion as saying.
“One of the things that are currently in the regulations according to which the US Open would be held in New York is that landing on American soil, you have to be quarantined for 14 days. So for most tennis players, probably including me, there would be no access to the court and no opportunity to train.”

The concerns about quarantine is a somewhat confusing situation. It had been previously reported that those attending the US Open would be exempt from going through such a process and instead be kept in a ‘bubble’. It is unclear if Djokovic, who is the head of the ATP player’s council, has been told otherwise.

Speaking about the rules set to be in place in New York, the world No.1 has said he wasn’t sure if it would be sustainable to do so. Arguing that it may be too early to start the Tour again. The USTA is eager to hold their premier event with various sponsorship and broadcast deals at stake. The organisation recently announced 110 redundancies and the closure of its New York headquarters linked to the financial turmoil caused by the pandemic.

“It’s something that’s pretty unthinkable at the moment. You can’t go to Manhattan, you’d have to sleep in a hotel at the airport, you’d have to pick just one person to come to the club with you. There would be no audience, there would be no media … Quite extreme conditions in which to play. I don’t know if it’s sustainable.” Djokovic commented on the situation.

To add to the complexed situation, the French Open is hoping to play their event just two weeks after the US Open. Tournament director Guy Forget has recently said he is confident it will go ahead and a number of spectators will be allowed to go if approved by the government.

Due to the close timing of both grand slams, Djokovic has hinted that he may instead switch his focus solely on the European clay. An approach that could trigger a domino effect among other players, especially 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.

“For me at the moment, as things stand, the most realistic is that the season will continue on clay, in early September.” Djokovic said of his potential plans. “Madrid, Rome, probably some more tournaments before Roland Garros.’
“Of course, we would all like to return to the court as soon as possible, to play tournaments. Before the US Open and the US Open itself. I hope that will happen, but there must simply be some kind of compromise and agreement between the players and the organizers. Will it happen? We will see.”

The ATP will hold an online meeting with player’s on Wednesday to discuss the resumption of the 2020 season and what the calendar may look like. It has been kept confidential as to what will be discussed, but it is likely that top names such as Djokovic will be in attendance.

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Krajinovic Battle To Seal Last Eight Berth In Rome

Novak Djokovic reached an 85th Masters 1000 Quarter-Final in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic (@ATPTour - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic survived a tough battle in Rome to beat Filip Krajinovic 7-6(7) 6-3 to reach the last eight.

 

Although the World Number one got the victory, it was a tough battle as he fought his compatriot for a place in the Quarter-Finals.

Breaks were shared to start the match as Krajinovic brought his fearless game to the top seed.

Djokovic created a total of ten break points, with only one executed as Krajinovic saved two set points in the tenth game to hold for 5-5.

After two comfortable holds, a tiebreak settled the winner of the first set as Djokovic was having a hard time to contain Krajinovic’s power.

The world number one battled from 3-0 down to edge the tiebreak 9-7 and win the opening set in 88 minutes.

Once Djokovic had survived the Krajinovic stormed, he took control and went into another gear as a break of serve in the third game was all that was needed to seal his place in the quarter-finals.

Winning 47% of his 2nd return points was key as Djokovic reaches his 85th Masters 1000 Quarter-Final of his career.

Next for Djokovic will be either talented teen sensation Lorenzo Musetti or Dominik Koepfer.

In other results today, Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov set a last eight showdown after tight three set wins.

Shapovalov edged out Ugo Humbert 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4 while Dimitrov defeated Jannik Sinner 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a tough match.

There were also third round wins for Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini.

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Rafael Nadal Missing Fan Support Despite Emphatic Win At Italian Open

The 19-time Grand Slam winner reacts to his latest win 200 days after his last.

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Rafael Nadal (image via https://twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

The absence of a crowd at this year’s Italian Masters has been branded as ‘not beautiful’ by Rafael Nadal following his opening match on Wednesday.

 

The world No.2 raced to a 6-1, 6-1, triumph over US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta in what was his first competitive match of any sort since March 1st. Despite his lengthy break from the Tour, Nadal showed little rust as he dropped only eight points behind his serve and broke the world No.18 five times overall. The latest victory is Nadal’s 62nd in Rome and he has only won more matches at four other tournaments.

“Of course I have to improve things. The things that I have to improve, the only way to improve is to keep practising with the right attitude, the right intensity and to spend hours in competition matches,” he said afterwards.
“Today has been a positive start for me,”
Nadal later added.

Choosing to skip the New York bubble due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nadal is still getting used to the concept of playing without the crowds. Something many of his rivals has already had experience of. The Italian Open had originally hoped to allow fans to enter its grounds before the local authorities ruled against it over concerns it could trigger an outbreak of the Coronavirus.

“It’s Not beautiful the feeling of playing without the spectators because the energy of the fans is impossible to describe. But for me, at least, today has been a very positive comeback,” Nadal assessed.

It is a case of wait and see as to how the Spaniard will fare in the coming days given his recent lack of match play compared to his rivals such as Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic. Fortunately for Nadal, he is playing on the clay which is a surface which he has won more ATP titles on than any other player in the Open Era. As for the upcoming French Open, will a lack of play in recent weeks be problematic for him?

“I don’t think so, no. If Roland Garros was this week, maybe yes. Roland Garros is two weeks away.” He concluded.

Nadal will next play either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic who will play their second round match on Thursday.

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