Novak Djokovic has insisted that he is not bothered by the possibility that he may test positive for COVID-19 at this year’s French Open despite previously having the virus.
Leading up to the Grand Slam a series of players has criticised the tournament after being removed from the draw due to what they say was a ‘false positive’ results. The most recent of those is Spain’s Fernando Verdasco who published a statement saying he was ‘frustrated and outraged’ with officials. The 36-year-old said he originally tested positive for the virus, asymptomatically, back in August before doing so again in Paris. He then underwent subsequent tests which came back negative. Although under French Open rules, players are removed from the tournament following any failed tests and are not allowed a retest to see if their result might have been false. Katarzyna Kawa, Bernabé Zapata and the coach of Damir Dzumhur have reportedly been in similar situations.
Speaking about the current measures on the eve of the French Open main draw starting, Djokovic told reporters that he is not thinking about the same happening to him. The 17-time Grand Slam winner tested positive for the virus shortly after the Adria Tour back in July.
“I am not concerned about the virus being present or not present in me. I’m actually not thinking about it at the moment,” said Djokovic. “I’ve tested negative many times ever since I was positive. So that’s where I am.”
“I think the world is still not yet 100% clear on whether once you have the virus it is going to come back or not. Some countries are saying yes, some are not. There’s quite a lot of confusion out there medically in the advice and in the statements that we’ve been hearing.” He added.
Nevertheless, there is a sense of discontent among some players on the Tour. Although Djokovic has refused to criticize the testing process as he thanked the French Tennis Federation for making the event happen at all. The French Open was originally set to start at the end of May but got delayed due to the pandemic.
“The rules are as they are here in France. It’s pretty strict. I guess it has to be that way. I am grateful as a tennis player that I have an opportunity to compete and just play in another Grand Slam. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish this tournament with no big consequences,” he states.
Due to COVID-19 the government has stated that no more than 1000 fans are allowed to attend the clay court major each day. A significant drop in original plans for 11,5000 daily spectators over three separate zones. The reduction has been applied due to a surge in cases in France.
Besides the challenges posed by COVID-19, Djokovic knows all too well that he enters Paris under close scrutiny following his unfortunate disqualification from the US Open after accidentally hitting a ball at a lineswoman. The Serbian is renowned for showing his emotions on the court when he plays, but will he be more cautious following the New York incident?
“Of course, it was a shock for me and a lot of people. But that’s life, that’s sport. These things can happen,” the 33-year-old explained.
“But I don’t think that this will have any significant negative impact on how I feel on the tennis court.
“I mean, I won the tournament in Rome just a week later after what happened in New York. I did not feel any kind of emotional disturbance or difficulty to actually be able to play or still express my emotions in whatever way.”
Djokovic admits that it is an inner process with his trying to accept what happened and move on. He has already won five titles this year, including the Italian Open last week, and has a win-loss record of 31-1.
“I try to keep my negative reactions on the court as few as possible. But I guess it happens as well. I’m not going to be down on myself because of that. I also try to kind of accept it and forgive myself for what happened and move on,” he said.
“I really want to be my best version as a player, as a human being on the court, and win a tennis match. Because of the care that I have for that, I sometimes express my emotions in a good way or maybe less good way.”
Djokovic will start his French Open campaign against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.
Updated Entry Lists For Vienna And Nur-Sultan
The indoor season continues on the ATP World Tour with the Erste Bank Open in Austria and the new Astana Open in Kazakhstan.
The Erste Bank Open in Vienna is an ATP 500 and one of the biggest events of the hard-court indoor season. Having a prize money of $ 1.409.510, it regularly shows a very high-level entry list. This year, seven of the top-10 players are committed to play, as Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are just some of the stars in the entry list. Word’s number one Novak Djokovic has received a Wild-Card and will compete as well. John Isner and Fabio Fognini have withdrawn from the main draw.
With the Swiss Indoors Basel cancelled for this year, the Astana Open, an ATP 250 tournament, will be the second event of the week. France’s Benoit Paire, Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic and USA’s Tennys Sandgren will be some of the main draw’s seeds. Richard Gasquet, Laslo Djere and Juan Ignacio Londero have pulled out and they have been replaced by Federico Delbonis, Radu Albot and Egor Gerasimov.
NEWS: Matteo Berrettini and Milos Raonic have withdrawn from Vienna; Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz have replaced them. Jannik Sinner has pulled out from qualifying.
NEWS: Jannik Sinner has been given a Wild-Card in the main draw of Vienna.
ATP 500 Vienna (AUT, Hard indoor), entry list:
Thiem, Dominic (AUT)
Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
OUT Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
Monfils, Gael (FRA)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
Goffin, David (BEL)
Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
OUT Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
Garin, Cristian (CHI)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
OUT Isner, John (USA)
Coric, Borna (CRO)
Lajovic, Dusan (SRB)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Nishikori, Kei (PR, JPN)
Anderson, Kevin (PR, RSA)
WC Djokovic, Novak (SRB)
WC Novak, Dennis (AUT)
WC Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
IN De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
IN Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)
IN Fritz, Taylor (USA)
IN Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Alt.1 Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Alt.2 Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
Alt.3 Evans, Daniel (GBR)
ATP 500 Vienna, Qualifying:
OUT Fritz, Taylor (USA) OUT Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
OUT Opelka, Reilly (USA)
OUT Pella, Guido (ARG)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Pella, Guido (ARG)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
OUT Cilic, Marin (CRO)
OUT Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Edmund, Kyle (GBR)
OUT Querrey, Sam (USA)
IN Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
IN Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
OUT Lopez, Feliciano (ESP) OUT Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
OUT Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
IN Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
IN Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
OUT Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
IN Balasz, Attila (HUN)
OUT Novak, Dennis (AUT)
IN Giron, Marcos (USA)
IN Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
IN Jung, Jason (TPE)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO)
OUT Istomin, Denis (UZB)
OUT Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
Alt.1 Diez, Steven (CAN)
Alt.2 Ferreira Silva, Frederico (POR)
Alt.3 Broady, Liam (GBR)
ATP 250 Nur-Sultan (KAZ), entry list:
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Millman, John (AUS)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Gasquet, Richard (FRA) OUT Andujar, Pablo (ESP) OUT Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Verdasco, Fernando (ESP)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
OUT Londero, Juan Ignacio (ARG)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
OUT Djere, Laslo (SRB)
WC Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
WC Popko, Dmitry (KAZ)
WC Skatov, Timofey (KAZ)
IN Albot, Radu (MDA)
IN Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
IN McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
IN Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
IN Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)
Alt.1 Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Alt.2 Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Alt.3 Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
ATP 250 Nur-Sultan, Qualifying:
OUT Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
OUT Duckworth, James (AUS)
Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Dzumhur, Damir (BIH)
Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
Polmans, Marc (AUS)
OUT Jung, Jason (TPE)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Safwat, Mohamed (EGY)
Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
OUT Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
IN Istomin, Denis (UZB)
OUT Diez, Steven (CAN)
OUT Ymer, Elias (SWE)
IN Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
IN Broady, Liam (GBR)
Alt.1 Lestienne, Constant (FRA)
Alt.2 Purcell, Max (AUS)
‘I Love Tennis Because Of Him’ – Argentine Football Sensation Praises Roger Federer
The forward for Juventus F.C. Speaks out about the 20-time Grand Slam champion as well as other topics concerning the world of tennis.
Roger Federer is used to various public figures praising him for his record-breaking career with his latest compliment coming from a star of Argentinian football.
Paulo Dybala, who has played for Serie A club Juventus since 2015, says he always tries to watch tennis because of him. The 26-year-old spoke out about the Swiss Maestro during a video Q and A session with the Tennis Channel for whom he is currently an ‘athlete analyst’ for. When asked ‘who was the player that made you fall in love with the game?’ he replied with Federer.
“Well at home, we used to watch a lot of sports, the TV was always on, and the sport we watched the most was football, followed by tennis,” Dybala said. “I always had a lot of admiration and respect. I liked Roger Federer’s style… I believe that I and many people have him as a tennis reference. We try to watch his matches, he has a style and elegance that makes everyone want to be like him. I always tried to watch him play so I love tennis because of him.”
Although Federer isn’t the only tennis player to have drawn praise from Dybala, who was part of his country’s national football team for the 2018 World Cup. He also speaks about his ‘great relationship’ with Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman recently broke into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open.
“I have a great relationship with Diego, I have known him for years,” he said. “We always talk and I am very happy with what he is achieving.’
“I text him after some of his matches to congratulate him for what he has done.”
It was at the French Open this year where Rafael Nadal won the tournament for a historic 13th time in his career after defeating Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Dybala says that there are ‘no words’ to describe the latest achievement by the world No.2.
“Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros in a match in which he gave no chance to Novak Djokovic,” Dybala reflected. “I think it was more than well-deserved to win his 13th Roland Garros in his career. Something amazing. He matched Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slams. There are no words for this player, no words.”
Dybala is currently dating Oriana Sabatini who is the niece of 1990 US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini.
Dan Evans On The Look Out For New Coach
The 30-year-old has come to a surprise decision to end his current coaching agreement despite achieving a career ranking high earlier this year.
British No.1 Dan Evans is making a big change to his team after confirming that he will part ways with coach Mark Hilton at the end of the season.
The world No.35 reunited with Hilton just last year after also previously working with him prior to his drugs ban in 2017. Under his guidance Evans has achieved several wins over top 10 players, reached his first ever semi-final of an ATP 500 event in Dubai and peaked at a ranking best of 28th in March.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Mark for his work and efforts over the past 12 months and we are both excited for what is next for each of our respective careers,” Evans said.
Evans’ announcement came on the same day he ended his five-match losing streak on the Tour. In the first round of the European Open on Tuesday he defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in three sets. Making it his first win since the US Open when he defeated Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.
Hilton will now return to working for the British LTA. A former player himself he reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Wimbledon boys doubles championships and peaked at a ranking high of 202 on the ATP Tour in singles. His best performance at a Grand Slam occurred at Wimbledon when as a wild card he stunned Spain’s Albert Costa in the first round of the 2004 tournament. Besides Evans, he has also previously worked with the likes of Liam Broady and Kyle Edmund.
“After discussing our plans for 2021, Dan and I have made the mutual decision to part ways at the end of November,” Hilton said in a statement.
“Both of us are very proud of our collaboration this year, helping Dan achieve a career-high ranking of number 28, seven wins over top-20 players and reaching his first ATP 500 semi-final.
“I’m looking forward to taking the experience I have gained over the last three years at the highest levels of the ATP Tour and re-investing that back into the LTA’s Performance Team for the benefit of our British players and coaches.”
It is unclear as to who may step in as Evans’ next coach. The Brit will return to action on Wednesday when he plays Frances Tiafoe in the second round.
Evans’ win-loss for 2020 currently stands at 14-11 on the ATP Tour.
Daniel Evans saves a match point to beat Karen Khachanov in Antwerp
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Maria Sakkari fights from a set and a break down to reach her second semifinal of the season in Ostrava
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Andy Murray’s ‘Tennis In 2020’ Caption Praised By Rising Star Gauff
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is close to his best. Sinner will be in the Top 10 within a year”
Andy Murray Outlines Next Steps Following Cologne Defeat
Goran Ivanisevic Under Fire Over French Open Comment Involving Djokovic And Nadal
COMMENT: Rafa At His Best Was Way Too Much For Novak To Handle
‘Completely Sick’ Alexander Zverev Reveals He Had Been Suffering From A Fever After French Open Exit
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”
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Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”
Flink: “Zverev wasted the lead, but Thiem would have been more affected by a loss”
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