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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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz reach the semifinals in the doubles tournament in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev followed up his win against Rafael Nadal in the singles quarter final with a 6-4 3-6 10-5 win alongside his teammate Tim Puetz against Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna. 

 

On Saturday Zverev and Puetz will take on Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who beat Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-3) 6-2. 

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 10-7. Mektic and Pavic are bidding for their sixth title in 2021 and their Masters 1000 trophy after winning in Miami and Monte-Carlo. The Croatian team set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Munich BMW Open finalists and Singapore Open champions Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who edged past Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 6-3 3-6 10-5.

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Five Takeaways From Men’s And Women’s Rome Draws

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu all return to Rome next week.

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Novak Djokovic (@usopen - Twitter)

Here are five things to take away from Men’s and Women’s singles draw from Rome.

 

Next week is the start of the next stop on the road to Roland Garros as the ATP and WTA tour heads to Rome next week.

The Italian capital will host a star-studded line-up as Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep look to defend their titles.

With another week of stacked ATP and WTA draws here, let us take a look at the five key points to take from this week’s draws:

  • Nadal Set For Zverev Rematch

Rafael Nadal could have a rematch with Alexander Zverev again in Rome next week as has already faced a mixed start to the clay court season. A quarter-final defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monaco was followed by a Barcelona title before losing to Zverev in the Madrid quarter-finals this week. It looks set to be another week where Nadal could face the tall German, whom he has lost on three consecutive occasions to. Before Nadal can get to Zverev, Nadal may have to overcome Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud, two rising stars who are capable on this surface.

  • Serena Handed Good Draw On Tennis Return

Next week will see Serena Williams return to a tennis court for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka. Having had her physical struggles since the end of last season, Serena now competes in a limited schedule but will be keen to boost her Roland Garros chances next week in Rome. The 23-time grand slam champion could face Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in her first match before Belinda Bencic stands in her way of a rematch with Osaka in the last eight.

  • Djokovic Looks To Avenge Recent Clay Losses

After winning the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic would have wanted a better clay-court season than he has had after being knocked out by Dan Evans in the third round in Monaco and an epic semi-final loss to Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade. After taking Madrid off, Djokovic looks to build momentum and may have to face Dan Evans again this week in his first match. The likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas await Djokovic en route to the last four where Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will wait for the Serb.

  • The Barty Party Looks To Roll On

Ash Barty is silencing the critics week by week and proving why she deserves her world number one ranking after winning Miami, Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid. In two of those three tournaments mentioned Barty would have played Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Although that won’t be happening in the final, she could face the Belarusian in the quarter-finals in Italy as a fairly comfortable draw has presented itself for the Australian. Barty’s first opponent will be either Martina Trevisan or Yaroslava Shvedova.

  • Bianca Andreescu Returns

After suffering an injury in the Miami final and testing positive for COVID-19 in Madrid, Bianca Andreescu looks to finally settle into a clay-court season as she returns in Rome. The tricky Canadian will start off against Anastasija Sevastova or Jil Teichmann before facing Petra Kvitova. If Andreescu can negotiate the first two rounds then a dream match with Simona Halep could await in the last eight. As for Halep her Rome campaign could start against Angelique Kerber.

Here is the full ATP and WTA draw:

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