Novak Djokovic Will Break Federer’s Records, Says Coach - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Will Break Federer’s Records, Says Coach

Marian Vajda speaks out about Djokovic’s record hunt, US Open controversy, French Open thrashing and the secret behind their partnership.

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The coach of world No.1 Novak Djokovic believes it is only a matter of time before the Serbian break two records in the world of men’s tennis.

 

Marian Vajda, who has been a member of Djokovic’s team for over a decade overall, has backed his player to break the all-time record for most weeks spent as world No.1 on the ATP Tour. Which is currently held by Roger Federer who has spent a total of 310 weeks at the top spot but Djokovic is currently on track to overtake him during the first half of next year. Furthermore, Vajda believes he will eventually pass the Swiss maestro when it comes to the most Grand Slam titles won.

“That is his goal and I very much believe that it will happen. He can break all records. And he’s so close to doing that. He is healthy, he is still young compared to Federer, and we all support him in that,” he told Novosti.rs.

Djokovic currently has 17 major titles to his name compared to 20 for Federer and Rafael Nadal. This season he triumphed at the Australian Open but has fallen short at the other two Grand Slam events. At the US Open he was the hot favourite but got disqualified in the fourth round after accidentally hitting a lines judge with a ball. An unfortunate event for the tennis star but one Vajda says he is proud about how he handled the situation.

“You can’t say much in moments like that. You can only support him, as a coach, but also as a friend. The whole team and family stood behind him, and that was the most important thing to him,” he said.
“We know each other, we went through a lot together. I totally know what he’s going through. I was very happy when, after everything that happened, he accepted everything in a positive way.”

Less than a month after his New York mishap, Djokovic had another shot at adding to his major collection at the French Open where he reached the final. However, he was thrashed 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, by Rafael Nadal in what was one of the most one-sided matches in their extensive rivalry. Heading into the title match Djokovic’s other coach, Goran Ivanisevic, branded him the overwhelming favourite for the title.

It was one of Novak’s bad days and the best day for Nadal,” Vajda reflected. “But Novak still remains the champion and is the first in the world (rankings). Our team is proud of his great results this year and is happy to work with him because he still has the motivation to improve in all areas and to be the best player in history.”

Vajda is a former player himself who peaked at a ranking high of 34th back in 1987. He won two titles on the ATP Tour and represented his country at the 1992 Olympic Games. After retiring from tennis, he also enjoyed stints working as the Davis Cup and Fed Cup captain for Slovakia.

Vowing to continue coaching Djokovic ‘until he breaks all the records,’ Vajda has also shed light on what the secret behind their successful partnership on the Tour.

“Long relationship! If you have such a long friendship with him as I have, for so many years, then you will succeed! We are like a family. And the magic word is – compromise. It always has to be. There are no other secrets,” he explains.
“At the beginning, when I was a very young coach, it was not easy with Novak. Both he and his family wanted to be the best in the world. So, I had to be an extremely good coach in order to fulfil his and his family dreams. I was focused from day one and I was not allowed to make mistakes. And, I don’t seem to have made a lot of them!’
“In time, I became not only a coach, but also a good friend.”

Djokovic will return to action later this month at the Erste Bank in Vienna. The tournament will start a week on Monday.

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The Greatest Tennis Players On Clay In The Open Era: An Analysis

UbiTennis investigated the results of over 200 tournaments to ascertain who have been the most successful on the dirt in men’s tennis since 1968.

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NOTE: This study was conducted before the 2020 French Open. For those who might be interested in checking out the original dataset, click on the link below: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TLJp3EYsRn5KE2FZKRv_rNA0K6ACOtmmC_XI8tan08o/edit#gid=0

 

The beginning of the clay season is generally perceived as a rebirth for European fans, partly because the elite of world tennis comes back to the Old Continent at the end of the Oceanic and North American trips, partly because the matches start to take place again at times that do not compromise circadian rhythms and private lives, partly due to the ancient association with blooms of the Romance spring, a double-edged sword in the context of the Roman May, especially for those allergic to poplars. The latter aspect has had no reason to exist in 2020, since the clay was re-invented in an unprecedented late-summer or early-autumn outfit, but in some ways the theme of renewal has never been more relevant, for reasons we all know. Given the caesura that the pandemic represented for tennis and beyond, our editorial team decided to sum up 52 Open tennis seasons on the surface, trying to find objective measures to see who they were the most dominant in this specialty.

The analysis focuses on the concept, which has risen to great popularity in recent years among Big Three fans, of “big titles”, that is Slams and Masters 1000 or whatever their name was since the creation of the Grand Prix (which took place in 1970) – since then, they have been called Grand Prix Super Series (until 1989, also including events of the WCT circuit), and then Championship Series, Super 9 and Masters Series, before being bestowed their current denomination in 2009. In the case of the clay, therefore, we will talk about Roland Garros (since 1968), Monte Carlo (since 1970), Hamburg/Madrid (this one since 1978), Rome (since 1970), and more, as will be explained.

To analyse the performance of the players in the aforementioned tournaments, two data types were chosen from the original dataset that would give a complete overview or at least allow them to be studied from several points of view. The first is the total score obtained in the above tournaments, with a very simple scoring system: 2 points for a Grand Slam victory, 1 for a final, 0.5 for a semi-final, 0.25 for a quarter final, 1 point for a win in a 1000 or Masters Series or Super 9 if you prefer, 0.5 for a final, and 0.25 for a semi-final. These data are the most relevant, because they permit to identify the best performers over the long term, that is, in short, who has actually won the most. 

The contrast for such a clear-cut figure is provided, obviously, by the average achieved by the players in the tournaments in which they reached the final stages (the defeats in the first rounds are therefore not part of the study, because the point of the article is to define the winning spirit of the various athletes). This is a more ambiguous but useful parameter when interpreted correctly and in synergy with the other, because a high average allows us to understand which players were able to win more often when it counted, i.e. when they reached the final stages of a tournament. The two variables were then graphed in a Cartesian plane by putting in abscissa the average points per event and in ordinate the total points obtained.

A brief digression: big data (or advanced statistics, or sabermetrics, or moneyball) are revolutionizing all sports, whether we like it or not, providing means to overcome the preconceptions related to a single sport, in particular from a tactical point of view. and they are infinitely more complex than the study reported here. Figures related to the length of the exchanges, the spin or the direction of the serve, and shot placement, help us understand the game as it happens, in some ways assisting the identification (within the limit of our knowledge of the psycho-physical conditions of the players, decidedly less predictable), whereas a ‘dry analysis of the performance’ such as this one (which exclusively examines the final results and their continuity) is completely a posteriori, and therefore has a purely historical value, it photographs and legitimises the existence of a previous state almost like the Domesday Book, straight out of Norman lore.

This article can at best be called a social media debate’s debate, that is, a social media debate in which the contenders bring concrete and unbiased data to support their arguments (perhaps even politely) – John Lennon would tell us that it is easy to imagine (if we try), however improbable it may seem. Out with deference and caveats, we can move on to analysis.

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Andrey Rublev On Why He Believes Rafael Nadal Is The ‘Best Ever Athlete’

The world No.8 comments on Nadal’s latest achievement at the French Open earlier this month.

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The mental strength of world No.2 Rafael Nadal has been hailed by one of his rivals on the Tour following their win at the St. Petersburg Open.

 

Andrey Rublev has paid tribute to the Spaniard following his historic triumph at the French Open. In Paris Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, to win the Grand Slam for the 13th time in his career to become the first player – male or female – to have won the same major event that amount of times. He has also drawn level with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam trophies won at 20 on the men’s tour.

“I can’t imagine not only how it is possible to win so many Slams but also how it is possible to achieve what he has done and how it is possible to be as mentally strong during the whole career,” Rublev told reporters on Sunday.
“Even Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have bad days through their career but Rafa is the only one who no matter how he is feeling himself emotionally he always finds the way to win. And even if he loses, he is fighting in three-five set for many hours.”

The two tennis figures have only played against each other on the Tour once before which was three years ago in the quarter-finals of the US Open. Nadal eased to victory by dropping just five games in the process. Rublev is 11 years younger than his opponent.

“All the athletes have bad days, but in team sports your partners help you, so the team can win at the end if all the other players are good enough. It is very difficult to compete in any match no matter what is going on in your off-court life. He is not just the best tennis player he is the best athlete ever,” Rublev added.

As a result of his latest win, Rublev has risen to a ranking high of eighth in the world this week. So far this year he has achieved a win-loss of 34-7 and made more than $1.6 million in prize money. At the age of 22 he is currently the youngest player in the world’s top 10. Stefanos Tsitsipas is also the same age as the Russian but was born two months before him.

“Every position in the ranking means a lot now. The most important thing for me is to keep working. I still have a lot of elements that I need to improve. I want to believe that I will have the opportunity to become better for the next season,” he said.

The rise of Rublev has placed him on good footing to clinch a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals next month where the top eight players will play. He has withdrawn from the European Open this week but is planning to play events in Vienna, Paris and Sofia before the season ends. Then, if he qualifies, he will travel to London for the ATP Finals.

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Andy Murray’s Injury Woes Continue With Another Tournament Withdrawal

There is more bad news for the injury-stricken former world No.1.

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has suffered another setback in his fight to regain fitness after being forced to withdraw from the BET1Hulk Championships on Sunday.

 

The former world No.1 has officially withdrawn from the event in cologne due to what is being described as ‘inflammation of the left psoas.’ A muscle that is located in the lumbar region of the spine and extends through the pelvis to the femur. Murray, who underwent hip resurfacing surgery last year, has been troubled by an issue with his pelvis in recent months.

According to The Associated Press, it is believed that the issue Murray is currently experiencing flared up during his most recent event in Germany. He lost in the first round of the Bet1HULKS Indoors to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in straight sets last Tuesday. It was after that match where the Brit admitted that he has lost his ways on the court.

“I need to get back to playing my game on the court, I’ve kind of gone away from that a little bit,” said Murray.
“I’m maybe making a few more mistakes than usual because of that.”

Due to a pelvis issue forcing him to start the 2020 season later than planned combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, Murray has only managed to play in four tournaments this year. Overall, he has won three out of seven matches played with his best run being at the Western and Southern Open where he defeated Alexander Zverev en route to the third round.

The situation is a stark contrast to 12 months ago where Murray showed signs of returning back to the top by winning the European Open after defeating Stan Wawrinka in the final. The first and only title he has won since 2018. However, since then continuous battles with his physical shape have derailed his progression on the Tour.

There is still a chance that Murray will play again before the season comes to a close with his eyes being on the Paris Masters. An event he won back in 2016 that will get underway during the first week of November.

Murray is currently ranked 115th in the world.

Murray’s 2020 season

Western and Southern Open, New York
R1: Def Frances Tiafoe USA 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-1
R2: Def Alexander Zverev GER 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
R3: Lost to Milos Raonic CAN 2-6, 2-6

US Open, New York
R1: Def Yoshihito Nishioka JAP 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4
R2: Lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime CAN 2-6, 3-6, 4-6

French Open, Paris
R1: Lost to Stan Wawrinka SWI 1-6, 3-6, 2-6

Bett1Hulks Indoors, Cologne
R1: Lost to Fernando Verdasco ESP 4-6, 4-6

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