New Ranking Rules ‘Best Option’ For 2020, Says Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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New Ranking Rules ‘Best Option’ For 2020, Says Djokovic

The world No.1 is back in the public eye following his COVID-19 diagnoses as he addresses the fallout caused by the Adria Tour.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has lent his full backing behind the ATP and their recent review of the ranking system.

 

The governing body of men’s tennis has made adjustments to how a player’s position on the Tour is calculated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has put competitive tennis at a standstill since March. Players can now use their best results from 18 tournaments to determine their ranking based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Although they can’t use the same tournament twice. The ATP said that changes have been made to help support those who may not want to travel to certain tournaments or places in the world due to health fears links to the pandemic.

Djokovic, who is the president of the influential ATP Players Council, told Sportski Zurnal that the board fully supports the new move. Under the new guidelines, Djokovic will be the favourite to end the season as world No.1. He will retain his points from winning Wimbledon last year, which has been cancelled. Furthermore, he will also keep his points from titles won at the 2019 Madrid and Paris Masters even if he skips those events later this year or doesn’t do well.

“We discussed it in the council and that decision was made because we wanted to protect the players who don’t want to put themselves at risk and travel,” said Djokovic.
“Some won’t play until the end of 2020 and in this year the list protects them, they are not losing points. On the other hand, players who play will have a chance to earn new points.’
“In this situation, I believe it was the best option.”

Rival Rafael Nadal is another player to have benefited from the changes. Originally the Spaniard would have had to defend 5000 ranking points over a six-week period in three tournaments (US Open, Italian Open and French Open). Now this is no longer the case, he also has the chance to pick up extra points in Cincinnati if he plays to close in on the top spot.

Questioned about the prospect of Nadal closing in and even potentially overtaking him in the rankings with the help of the new changes, Djokovic played down that motion. Arguing that not everybody will be pleased with the changes.

“I don’t want to comment on that, I think this is the most (fair) just towards everybody,” he stated. “Someone will always feel damaged, but I repeat, the ATP and the council wanted to protect the players that don’t want to play. Someone will say that it is not fair, that those who can’t lose any points can have a mental advantage but.”

The ‘witch-hunt’

This week is the first time Djokovic has spoken with the media since the fallout caused by the Adria Tour, which was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19. The Serbian caught the virus along with his wife, but both have since fully recovered. Djokovic has been criticized for his role in the event which lacked social distancing and saw players attending various public gatherings. Although all of those events were done in accordance with local government rules.

Addressing the criticism, Djokovic described it as a ‘witch-hunt’ against him as he admits that certain things ‘probably’’ could have been done differently. Making reference to the procedures that were in place at the events in Belgrade and Zadar.

“We’ve learned our lessons and some things could have probably been done in a different way,’ he said.
“I can only see criticism lately and much of it is malicious. It’s obviously more than just criticism, it’s like an agenda and a witch-hunt are on. Someone has to take the fall, a big name.”

Looking ahead to his return to the Tour, Djokovic says he is still undecided on the US Open. Although it is one of the events where he could increase his ranking points tally. Last year he retired injured in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

“I still haven’t decided whether I will play in the US Open. The upsurge in registered Covid-19 cases in the United States and New York in particular are not playing into the event’s hands,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion concluded.

Djokovic returned to the practice courts on Tuesday and had a hitting session with fellow player Viktor Troicki.

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‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne

Troicki, who will head the Serbian ATP Cup team next month, says his career has been thrown into ‘chaos.’

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Former top 20 player Victor Troicki says his ‘Grand Slam is failing’ after implying that he felt that he was misled about the quarantine rules ahead of the Australian Open.

 

Troicki, who is currently ranked 202nd in the world, is among 72 players who have been placed in a strict quarantine where they are not allowed to leave their room for a 14-day period. Those affected have all been deemed as a ‘close contact’ of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

34-year-old Troicki travelled to Australia from Doha after successfully qualifying for the Australian Open with wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Ulises Blanch and Jurij Rodionov. This year’s two qualifying tournament’s took place in the Middle East due to the pandemic.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal earlier this week.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My Grand Slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.”

In recent days there has been some dispute over whether players knew about the conditions regarding going into a strict quarantine. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were initially under the impression that sections of a plan would have to be isolated if there was a positive case and not the entire plane. Ultimately the decision was up to the Australian health authorities.

“Tennis Australia was doing a great job in my opinion. The only thing that was a bit unclear was about the quarantine when somebody gets infected on the plane. They were talking like they were going to make sections inside the plane so if they found somebody in a section (who tests positive) they would isolate those people,’ said Martinez.
“But in the end the government didn’t want to do this and they preferred to isolate all on the plane because it was safer for everyone.”

Amid the debate over whether Troicki and his peers knew the full story or not, Spain’s Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to contract the virus during quarantine. She had previously criticised the procedure before later apologising.

As for Troicki, he says the current situation is creating ‘chaos’ in his career.

“All preparations are failing,” he said. “Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”

Troicki is the team captain of the Serbian ATP Cup team. The tournament will start a week prior to the Australian Open on February 1st.

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No Advantage For Those Quarantining In Adelaide, Says Dominic Thiem

The 27-year-old dispute claims of unequal treatment ahead of the first major of 2021.

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Dominic Thiem has dismissed allegations of special treatment for top ranked players going through quarantine ahead of the Australian Open next month.

 

The World No.3 is among a series of players who are staying in Adelaide instead of Melbourne where an estimated 1200 players and their teams have travelled to. Under an agreement struck by Tennis Australia, the top three players on both the men’s and women’s Tour’s have been allowed to quarantine in Adelaide along with their hitting partners, family and team members. The move is to help ease the flow of people into Melbourne.

Some players have claimed that special treatment is being provided to those in Adelaide with the use of a private gym among other extras. However, Thiem has insisted that he is no better off than his peers.

“It’s a privilege to be here in Adelaide. But it’s not that huge an advantage,” Thiem told The Guardian. “We get the same amount of practice time as the guys in Melbourne. It’s just not that busy on-site. It’s just that we are [fewer] players here. Compared to the players who are not in hard quarantine in Melbourne, we have pretty similar conditions.”

Earlier in the week Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley openly admitted that those in Adelaide had gotten a better deal. Speaking to Nine News of Melbourne he said ‘My general rule is if you’re at the top of the game, a Grand Slam champion, it’s just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal.’ Meanwhile in a recent interview with UbiTennis, world No.44 doubles player Marcelo Demoliner pointed out that the disparity in treatment between the top names and other players is a common trait in the sport.

“I do believe they are receiving preferential treatment, quite different from us. But this is part of the tour,” he said.
“The top tennis players always had these extras, we are kinda used to it. We came here knowing that they would have better conditions for practicing, structure, hotels… they also have merits to have achieved all that they have to be the best players in the world. I don’t know if it’s fair, but I believe the conditions could be more similar than they are in this situation.”

Strict quarantine woes

Perhaps those most frustrated with Thiem and Co are the ones currently placed in strict quarantine. 72 players are not allowed to leave their rooms for 14 days after being deemed a close contact of somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests occurred on flights en route to Melbourne.

Speaking about the group, US Open champion Thiem admits they face a struggle in the coming weeks but stress that it was a risk they took. There have been arguments over the quarantine rules and whether they were clear enough upon arrival. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were unaware that if somebody tested positive on a plane all passengers would be required to isolate.

It’s going to be really tough to play a good ATP Cup or good tournament before the Australian Open and then a good Australian Open,” said Thiem.
“They have a huge disadvantage, but that’s the risk we take when we go on to a plane nowadays.”

Novak Djokovic has previously sought to help out those in strict quarantine by writing a letter to Tiley outlining a series of suggestions including the increased use of testing to reduce the isolation period. However, government officials rejected calls for any changes to their system. Djokovic issued a statement on Thursday outlining his motive was made with ‘good intentions’ after he received backlash from some.

“He received unnecessary criticism a lot in the past. This topic, I don’t really know,” Thiem commented.
“He tried to help the other players in Melbourne but in Australia they did a great job with corona. It almost doesn’t exist here any more so Australia wants to keep it that way.”

The Australian Open will get underway on February 8th. Thiem is aiming to go one step better than last year when he finished runner-up to Djokovic.

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ATP Cup Draw Places Novak Djokovic On Collision Corse With Zverev And Shapovalov

The group stages for the team competition has been confirmed with both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal facing a tough start.

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Image via https://twitter.com/ATPCup

On Friday afternoon the draw was held for the official second edition of the ATP Cup. The tournament is very similar to Davis Cup as in countries are placed in a group and play a tournament style that concludes with knockout stages.

 

The major difference is that players get individual prize money and ATP ranking points depending how far they go in the tournament. Last year Serbia captured the title beating Spain.

This is how it will go down, 11 countries got in based on the ranking of their number one singles player while Australia as the host nation got a wild card into the tournament. Japan received entry this year based on Kei Nishikori protected ranking.

“Last year the first ATP Cup made such a big impression on me,” former world No.1 Jim Courier said during the draw ceremony via video call. “Everyone who basically was able to see it remembers seeing the crowds, how energetic they were.
“It’s really the first time I’ve seen the Serbian crowds be so far behind Novak for him to feel like he had a home court advantage. It was spectacular.

“I’m looking forward to another version of it.”

Here are the how the groups turned out.

Group A

Group A which we probably call the group of death has Serbia, Germany, and Canada. We will for sure see some great matches from this group pitting Novak Djokovic against the likes of Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev. This by far will be the toughest group to move on from and whoever does is pretty much a favourite to win it all.

Group B

Group B is also no easy task for 2020 runners-up Spain who will face Greece and Australia. Rafael Nadal will get to face off with Stefano Tsitsipas and most likely Alex De Minaur who almost carried his team to the semi-finals last year.

Group C

Group C features Austria, Italy, and France. Dominic Thiem is likely to square off against Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils in another difficult group.

Group D

Finally in Group D we have Russia, Argentina and Japan. Russia is always dangerous with Andrey Rublev while Argentina will counter with Diego Schwartzman and Kei Nishikori would should make for some very interesting matches.

As mentioned four groups of three with only one country moving on from each group to meet in the quarter-finals. The action begins on February 1st in Melbourne and the tournament will only last five days. Last year the tournament was hosted by three different cities in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

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