Novak Djokovic Fires Back AT PTPA Critics Following First Win Since Disqualification In Rome - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Fires Back AT PTPA Critics Following First Win Since Disqualification In Rome

The 17-time Grand Slam champion has insisted that the Professional Tennis Players Association doesn’t intend to fight with other governing bodies of the sport.

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Novak Djokovic (image via https://twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

Novak Djokovic believes there are misunderstandings over his newly formed tennis association as he returns back to winning ways at the Italian Open.

 

The world No.1 kicked off his campaign in Rome with 84-minute 6-3, 6-2, win over Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in his opening match on Wednesday. Djokovic won 81% of his first service points and didn’t face a single break point en route to claiming his 27th win of the season. The victory is his first since the US Open where he got disqualified in the fourth round after accidentally hitting a court official with a ball. In the wake of recent controversy, the Serbian admitted that it was a relief to back on the court.

“I was actually looking forward to getting the official match as soon as possible after what happened in New York because I feel like the sentiment on the court needs to be positive, and I need to kind of remove anything that can possibly cause any kind of issues to me if there is something,” Djokovic said afterwards.
“So I didn’t feel that I had any mental or emotional blockages or any dramas playing a match today. In contray, I felt very comfortable playing.’
“It was a very good test for me. I’m very pleased with the way I handled myself in important moments. I was in control of the match. Served well when I needed to come up with a big serve and moved well.”

Despite his perfect winning record in 2020 recently coming to an end in Flushing Meadows, Djokovic says he ‘no longer pays attention’ to such figures when it comes to his performance. Although he says he doesn’t consider himself as unbeatable. On the European clay Rafael Nadal is regarded as the man to beat given his dominance on the surface in recent years with a record 12 French Open trophies.

It isn’t just on the court where the 33-year-old has been linked with controversy. Recently he launched the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) along with Vasek Pospisil. A separate organisation set up to campaign for greater rights for players when it comes to decision making on the ATP Tour. The move has resulted in Djokovic being asked to leave the ATP Player Council, which he has, and criticism from the two other members of the Big Three. Nadal and Roger Federer, who remains on the council, co-signed a letter urging their peers not to join the PTPA due to what they say are ‘unanswered questions.’

The main point of the players association is not that we want to fight ATP, ITF, Grand Slams,or anybody else. A lot of people have gotten the players association wrong,” Djokovic argues.
“I never said, Vasek never said, or anybody who is part of the association, that we want to boycott or we want to separate ourselves from ATP or anything like that. We want to work together in this ecosystem with ATP, with everyone else.’
“We are not just a men’s players association. We want women to be involved, as well.”

The Serbian said he recently had a ‘private chat’ with Andrea Gaudenzi who is the chairman of the ATP. Details of the conversation have not been disclosed by Djokovic insists that the two have an ‘open and transparent relationship.’ Meanwhile he is yet to go lock horns with critic Nadal over the subject.

I saw him very, very briefly, very quickly, just said hello. We didn’t chat about tennis politics or anything like that. And that’s not gonna happen during the tournament,” he explained.
“Maybe there will be time for that next week before Roland Garros when we don’t have matches for maybe three, four days, maybe that would be a chance to do it.”

Djokovic will play fellow Serbian Filip Krajinovic in the third round. He is seeking to win the Rome Masters for the fifth time in his career and first since 2015.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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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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