Novak Djokovic Left With 'Mixed Emotions' After Receiving Year-End No.1 Trophy At ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Left With ‘Mixed Emotions’ After Receiving Year-End No.1 Trophy At ATP Finals

The Serbian explains why he is feeling both happy and sad about his latest milestone.

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

On the opening day of the 2020 ATP Finals Novak Djokovic took to the court to receive a record-equalling sixth season No.1 trophy during an on-court presentation.

 

The 17-time Grand Slam champion has tied with his idol Pete Sampras for the most times the year-end title has been won by the same player. Djokovic enters his final tournament of the year with a win-loss record of 39-3. Overall, he has won four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, Cincinnati and Rome. During that period only nemesis Rafael Nadal and Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego have beaten him. Pablo Carreno Busta has also technically scored a win over Djokovic after the Serbian was disqualified during their fourth round match at the US Open for hitting a lines judge with a ball.

“It is obviously very fulfilling. I am proud, overwhelmed, joyful and happy,” Djokovic said of his latest honour.
“It is a team effort. I probably could have not done it without my team. Their support and the trust that I have from them, as well as the love from my family, are something that I try to not take for granted.’
“I am an individual athlete but it is a team effort at the end of the day. There are so many people working their best in order for me to be where I am. I am grateful for them.”

As a result of his success, Djokovic has also won more prize money than any other player so far this year with earnings of $5,976,158. He is one of only two male players to have surpassed the $4M benchmark along with Dominic Thiem. Overall, the 33-year-old have won more prize money in his career than anybody else in the history of the sport. His current tally stands at $145,197,177 (prior to the ATP Finals).

Besides its success, the 2020 Tour has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with various tournaments getting either cancelled or suspended. Causing financial hardship to both players and those organising the events. Djokovic admits that he is finding it hard to fully enjoy his latest milestone in light of the current circumstances.

“I have a mixture of emotions because this season has been very usual,” he explains. “There was a six-month gap with no tournaments and due to this virus a lot of people around the world are experiencing hard times. My heart goes out to all of them.
“This is why I am torn between being happy but also being sad with everything that is going on.

This week at The O2 Djokovic is chasing after another record. Should he triumph in the tournament he would tie Roger Federer for most titles won at the event with Roger Federer. He has been drawn in the Group Tokyo 1970 along with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman. Three players who he has a positive head-to-head record against.

Djokovic will kick-off his campaign at The ATP finals on Monday afternoon against Diego Schwartzman. He has won eight out of his nine matches against top 10 opposition already this year.

Multiple year-end No.1 players

  • Pete Sampras USA – 6
  • Novak Djokovic SRB – 6
  • Roger Federer SWI – 5
  • Jimmy Connors USA – 5
  • Rafael Nadal ESP – 5
  • Ivan Lendl CZE – 4
  • John McEnroe USA – 4
  • Bjorn Borg SWE – 2
  • Lleyton Hewitt AUS – 2
  • Stefan Edberg SWE – 2

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic (@atptour - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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