Goran Ivanisevic Under Fire Over French Open Comment Involving Djokovic And Nadal - UBITENNIS
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Goran Ivanisevic Under Fire Over French Open Comment Involving Djokovic And Nadal

The former Wimbledon champion told Sport Klub ‘he said what he felt.’

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Two members of Rafael Nadal’s team have implied a recent statement said by one of Novak Djokovic’s coaches placed too much pressure on him ahead of the French Open final.

 

Goran Ivanisevic spoke with Croatian broadcaster Hrvatska radiotelevizija (HRT) last week in which he labelled Djokovic as the overwhelming favourite heading into the French Open final after saying ‘Nadal has no chance under these conditions.’ He was alluding to the cooler temperature due to the time of the year the tournament was taking place. However, the prediction turned out to be completely incorrect with the Spaniard prevailing 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, to win his 13th title at Roland Garros. Inflicting Djokovic with one of his heaviest ever losses in a grand slam final.

Ivanisevic’s comment has been partly criticised by Carlos Moya, who is one of Nadal’s coaches. Speaking to radio station Cadena SER, the 1998 French Open champion said he would have made no such comment about his player ahead of a Grand Slam final.

I know Ivanisevic and I understand that it is the role he has to play. Nobody would have said anything similar from Rafa’s team, I think it is something that puts pressure on our player,” he said.

The radio station has also quoted Toni Nadal as giving the view that ‘he would not have done’ the same as what Ivanisevic did. Toni was the former coach of the world No.2 who first introduced him to the sport as a child. In an article written for El Pais on October 12th, he went on to criticise the player-turned-coach.

“Ivanisevic, in another of his great predictions, said that his player was fully prepared both tactically and mentally for this final. The reality is that this final showed that it wasn’t like that after all. It surprises me that a champion like him often falls into a sequence of negative gestures and messages,” he wrote.

Reflecting on his comment, Ivanisevic admits that he was being a bit too ‘ambitious’ with what he said. At the time Djokovic had a win-loss record of 37-1 on the Tour with his only loss being a disqualification from the US Open after accidentally hitting a lineswoman with a ball. He has already won five titles on the Tour this season, including the ATP Cup.

“I have honestly meant what I said, my right is to say what I think and believe in my player, I thought this was Novak’s year in Paris. Again, I was a bit ambitious saying Nadal did not stand a chance, but I favoured Novak at that moment. I always state my opinion directly, however, it did not turn out that way, he told Sport Klub.
“In Melbourne I stated that the odds were 50-50 and Novak ended up destroying Rafa. It is always easy to play it safe and just say ‘we will see’ or ‘the winner is going to be the better player on the given day’,’ but I said what I felt.”

Djokovic has been working with Ivanisevic since summer 2019. Besides enjoying a successful career as a player, the Croat has also worked with the likes of Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic will return to action later this month at the Vienna Open in Austria but it is undecided if he will be accompanied by his Croatian mentor or Marian Vajda. Ivanisevic has confirmed that plans are being drawn up but a final decision is yet to be reached.

“We haven’t made a plan yet. Vienna we will play, and I don’t know what will happen with Paris and how much it pays to play because he doesn’t lose points,” Ivanisevic outlined.
“Marjan and I will share, we will agree, and Novak will surely rest this week and will fulfil some obligations towards sponsors. After that, preparations for Vienna and London begin.“

The Vienna Open will start on October 26th.

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COVID-19 Mayhem: Fabio Fognini Out Of Sardinia As Sam Querrey Flees Russia To Escape Local Health Authorities

One top tennis star has been withdrawn from his event whilst another is being investigated for serious breaches of COVID-19 rules after reportedly flying to another country.

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause problems in the world of tennis with the top seed of the Forte Village Sardegna Open being forced to withdraw.

 

Fabio Fognini has moved into isolation after a routine test confirmed that he has contracted the virus. The positive result was announced on Wednesday via a statement issued by the ATP. The world No.16 is currently experiencing mild symptoms and is being monitored by the Tournament Physician and ATP medical team.

“Guys, I have to tell you that this morning I tested positive for Covid-19,” the 33-year-old wrote on Instagram in Italian. “The symptoms are very mild, a little cough and fever, headache … but unfortunately this bad news has arrived.
“I’m already in isolation and I’m convinced that I will recover very soon..”

A contact tracing process is also underway to identify anybody who may have come into contact with Fognini recently. Yesterday he participated in a doubles match in Sardinia along with rising star Lorenzo Musetti who reached the third round of the Italian Masters in August. Musetti is due to play his second round match against Andrea Pellegrino on Thursday morning.

“All the people with whom Fognini was in direct contact were placed in preventive isolation and subjected to new swabs,” the Italian Tennis Federation said in a statement to Reuters.

Fognini was the only top 20 player in the field for the inaugural event which is held on outdoor clay courts. He has been replaced in the draw by Serbian lucky loser Danilo Petrović who defeated Roberto Carbellas Baena 6-1, 6-4, earlier in the day.

‘Serious Breach’ under investigation in Russia

Sam Querrey

In another development it has been confirmed that the ATP is investigating a player who has reportedly broken COVID-19 protocols at the St Petersburg Open. An ATP 500 event that is featuring five players currently ranked in the world’s top 20. The governing body of men’s tennis hasn’t named the player but said in a statement they are ‘taking this matter extremely seriously.’

“The ATP is aware of an incident regarding a player’s serious breach of protocol relating to COVID-19 at this week’s St. Petersburg Open. Adhering to health and safety protocols is critical to ensure that events take place safely and within guidelines established by local authorities,” the statement reads.
“Players and their support team members are reminded that breaches of protocol can jeopardise an event’s ability to operate and have repercussions for the rest of the Tour. In accordance with the ATP’s Code of Conduct, we are taking this matter extremely seriously and an investigation is underway.”

On Monday it was confirmed that an unnamed player has been withdrawn from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. Whilst there was no official confirmation, the only player to withdraw from the draw due to illness was America’s Sam Querrey. New York Times journalist Ben Rothenberg has also reported that Querrey’s wife and baby son has also tested positive.

According to Rothenberg, the Querrey family was told to self-isolate for 14 days in a St. Petersburg hotel but was then told they would be visited by a doctor who could hospitalise them if they were found to have symptoms. Concerned about the latest development and the risk of being separated from their child, the family has fled Russia via private plane to an unnamed European country where they are staying in an AirBNB. A move that is classed as a serious breach of COVID-19 protocols.

There has been no public comment from Querrey and he is said to be keeping his current location secret.

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Rafael Nadal Topples Djokovic At French Open To Equal Federer’s Grand Slam Record

The highly-anticipated showdown was largely a one-man show with the king of clay dominating from the onset.

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

Rafael Nadal has become the first player in history to win the same Grand Slam for the 13th time after crushing world No.1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

 

The clinical display from the Spaniard saw him prevail 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, over Djokovic in what was one of the most one-sided clashes between the two in their extensive rivalry. The showdown saw Nadal hit 31 winners as he capitalized on a costly 52 unforced errors produced by his nemesis. He also broke seven times and won 67% of his first served en route to his latest title.

“Congrats to Novak for another great tournament. Sorry for today but in Australia he killed me a couple times (on the court). For me that is part of the game. We have played each other plenty of times and one day I win and then he the other,” Nadal said during his on-court interview.
“After all the things I have gone through in my career in terms of injuries without a great team and family around me everything would have been impossible. I just want to say thank you very much to all of my team.” He added.

Locking horns for the 56th time in what is an Open Era record for men’s tennis, Nadal got off to a near-perfect start by bageling his rival for only the second time in his career. Despite the score being one-sided, the opener showed glimmers of world class tennis from both men with four out of the six games going to deuce. Nadal showed off his signature forehand shot against Djokovic’s emphatic defence. Although it was the Spaniard who dominated when it came to the important points as he broke three times in a row. Meanwhile, a perplexed Djokovic struggled with his first serve as he only managed to win four points which was three times less than his rival. Resulting in Nadal sealing the 6-0 lead with the help of a 177KMH serve out wide on set point after 46 minutes of play.

The problems continued for the top seed in the second frame. Three games in, Nadal extended his stronghold to a set and a break after a Djokovic forehand slammed into the net. Prompting the Serbian to drop his head in a sign of both disappointment and frustration. The reigning champion continued to reign supreme on Court Phillippe Chatrier with answers to every question that his opponent asked of him. Battling his way to the two-set advantage, a time violation did little to disrupt Nadal’s momentum as he extended his lead with the help of another loose shot from across the court.

Astonishingly Djokovic didn’t draw blood from his rival until two hours and 10 minutes into the final. After producing an error-stricken game where he got broken to love, he broke back instantly to level 3-3 in the third set. Prompting a huge roar from Djokovic who tried to orchestrate the crowd to give him extra support.

Despite the mini comeback, it wasn’t enough to deny Nadal title No.13 at Roland Garros. A Djokovic forehand error followed by a double fault rewarded the world No.2 another break but more crucially the chance to serve the match out. A task he passed with flying colours following another love game that concluded with an ace.

“It was a very tough match for me today. Obviously I am not pleased with the way I played but I was definitely overplayed by a better player,” Djokovic commented on his performance afterwards.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks. This situation is very difficult for everyone worldwide but we have the possibility to play the sport that we love and I am very grateful for everyone who has organised this tournament.”

Djokovic’s mention of playing during the current climate was also echoed by Nadal. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year’s event is taking place later than usual following a five-month break with players being regularly tested for the virus.

“I want to send a message to everybody around the world. We are facing one of the worst moments that I think we will remember is this world fighting against the virus. Just keep fighting, stay positive and all the best. We will go through this and win soon.” He said.

Sunday’s win means that Nadal has drawn level with Federer for most Grand Slam titles won at 20 each. Furthermore, six of those titles won have occurred after his 30th birthday in what is an Open Era record on the ATP Tour. Nadal has also become the first man in history to have won four Grand Slams without dropping a set. He also achieved a clean sheet at the French Open in 2008, 2010 and 2017.

“It’s been a very tough year but being here (at Roland Garros) means everything to me,” Nadal reflected. “For me, I am not thinking today about equalling Roger with this great number. Today is just a Roland Garros victory and that means everything to me.’
“I have spent the most important moments of my tennis career here, no doubt. The love affair I have with this city and this court is just unforgettable.”

Nadal is the first player – male or female – to have won 100 matches at the French Open.

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Five Records The Djokovic-Nadal Rivalry Have Broken

UbiTennis looks at the milestones that has been achieved by tennis giants Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

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On Sunday afternoon at the French Open the latest instalment of one of the greatest tennis rivalries of all-time will get underway.

 

World No.1 Novak Djokovic will play 12-time champion Rafael Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Djokovic will be seeking only his second title in Paris and first since 2015 in what is a stark contrast to his rival. A win would make Nadal the first player – male or female – to have won 100 matches at Roland Garros and give him a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.

“He’s definitely my greatest rival,” Djokovic said of the world No.2 ahead of the final.
“Playing him in so many great matches over the past will of course have some effect in terms of respect towards each other.’
“Motivation to get out on the court and play your best, knowing that we both have to be at our best in order to win against each other.”

It was at the French Open where the rivalry between the two tennis greats began. In 2006 a 19-year-old Djokovic reached his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final where he faced Nadal, who is just under 11 months younger than him. Nadal rallied to a 6-4, 6-4, lead before the showdown unfortunately ended due to the Serbian suffering from a lower back injury. Little did they know at the time that the meeting would be the first of many that has rewritten tennis history books multiple times.

“The only thing I know is to play against Novak, I need to play my best. Without playing my best tennis, the situation is very difficult,” said Nadal.

To put into perspective how significant the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry is, here are five records they have been broken over the years.

  1. Sunday will be a record 56th meeting between Nadal and Djokovic. The duo holds the record for the most tour-level match-up’s on the ATP Tour in the Open Era and are one of two groups of players to have played each other 50 or more times. The second highest match-up also involves Djokovic, who has played Roger Federer 50 times.
  2. Since 1969, Nadal and Djokovic have played each other more times at the French Open than anybody else in men’s tennis. The upcoming clash will be their eighth meeting with Nadal winning six out of their previous seven matches. Making the Spaniard the player with the most victories over the world No.1 in Grand Slams – Nadal has also defeated Djokovic two times at other major events.

    On the Other hand, Djokovic is one of two players in history to have defeated Nadal at the tournament along with Sweden’s Robin Soderling.
  3. It is the ninth time the two have locked horns in a Grand Slam final. A record-equalling milestone for most major finals contested between two players. Overall they have played each other 15 times in a Grand Slam tournament and it was at the French Open where they had their first ever meeting back in 2006.
  4. For only the second time in French Open history the same two players will contest the men’s final for a third time. Nadal won their two previous final clashes back in 2012 and 2014. Both of those victories were in four sets. Nadal has also played Federer four times in the final of the French Open.
  5. Djokovic and Nadal have already played each other in 26 Tour Finals (excluding the 2020 French Open) with the Serbian currently leading their head-to-head 15-11. This is an Open Era record on the ATP Tour.

Head to head break down

BY TOURNAMENT
Grand Slams: Nadal leads 9-6
Tennis Masters Cup/ ATP Finals: Djokovic leads 3-2
Masters 1000: Djokovic leads 16-12
ATP International Gold Series/500: Djokovic leads 2-0
ATP International/250: Tied at 1-1
Davis Cup: Nadal leads 1-0
ATP Cup: Djokovic leads 1-0
Olympic Games: Nadal leads 1-0

BY SURFACE
Clay: Nadal leads 17-7
Hard Court’s: Djokovic leads 20-7
Grass: tied at 2-2

OVERALL TALLY
Djokovic leads 29-26

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