Former Wimbledon champion and Coach of Novak Djokovic Groan Ivanisevic has slammed the media over their treatment of the world No.1 in recent months.
The Croat tennis great has suggested that the hostile treatment of Djokovic by some media outlets is due to the fact he is from Serbia because ‘people from the Balkans are always looked at differently.’ In recent months the tennis star has been under the spotlight for various reasons. Last summer he was heavily criticised over his involvement in the Adria Tour which was blasted over their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic before the event was cancelled due to an outbreak of the virus. Although the event didn’t break any rules as such. Other controversies include Djokovic’s involvement in the Professional Tennis Players Association and his unfortunate disqualification from the US Open for inadvertently hitting a lines judge.
Ivanisevic, who won 22 titles on the ATP Tour during an 11-year period as a player, believes Djokovic has been singled out more than any other player for his actions within the sport. The 49-year-old has been working with the 18-time Grand Slam winner since the summer of 2019.
“Everything started with the Adria Tour; they were after him even before that, but in the last year it seemed to me as if I am watching that film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” he joked during an interview with Tennis Majors.
“Why is he being treated that way? Probably because of his background, people from Balkans are always looked at differently; also, Novak is not afraid to speak his mind and to fight for causes he believes in.’
“What happened at the US Open, it was as if everyone was glad because that kind of shit happened to him. In Australia he stood up for his fellow players and again – let’s kick Djokovic because he is the only one to speak up, everyone else stays silent. Throughout my career I have witnessed players doing all sorts of things, but nobody got the kind of treatment Novak does.”
The unwelcome media attention has failed to derail Djokovic from achieving successes on the Tour. His most recent achievement occurred at the Australian Open where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final to win the title. Although he was also under fire at the same time as playing. Prior to the start of the tournament he raised eyebrows by sending a letter to the head of Tennis Australia suggesting improvements to the quarantine system. Then during the major some questioned the extent of his abdominal injury.
“The most perfidious, actually the saddest thing were accusations that he was faking an injury,” said Ivanisevic.
“Why on earth would he do that? Why would the best player in the world make up an injury, and he was up two sets to love at that point?! When some other top player is injured, it is considered a heroic act for them to even step on the court. But when it is Novak, he is faking it.”
Playing with an injury comes with its consequences with Djokovic admitting that the tear in his abdominal region worsened during his time playing in Melbourne Park. It is for this reason why it is unclear as to when he will return to the Tour. The next high-profile event on the calendar is the Miami Open which is the first Masters 1000 event of the season. On Monday Roger Federer pulled out of the event to focus on training. Meanwhile, the chances of Djokovic playing is 50/50.
“It depends on the injury as well, but there is no need to rush it,” his coach explains. “The only tournament that he would play is maybe Miami. I think his next MRI is in two weeks, so we will see. There is no need to take any risks, I would rather see him one hundred per cent ready for the clay season in order to try to go after the Roland-Garros title once more.”
The desire to go after the Roland Garros title is part of Djokovic’s goal of trying to equal the all-time record for most major titles won by a male player. An accolade that is currently jointly held by Federer and Rafael Nadal who have 20 each. It is that desire to break the milestone which is leading to a change of approach of the Tour. In order to focus on the Grand Slams Ivanisevic says there is a possibility he may ‘play two or three’ less tournaments each year.
Then there is also the challenge of trying to keep Djokovic, who will turn 34 in May, in top shape as he gets older. According to the ATP he is the 15th oldest player in the top 100 at present.
“The key word for me is desire and Novak’s desire is huge. He might take an extra day of rest here and there. As you get older, you try to have shorter practices, but with higher intensity; that is what we pictured and what we accomplished in Australia,” Ivanisevic outlined.
“It turned out quite well since he was able to stay on the court for however long it takes. Also, there are a lot of things to factor in as well, things you need to adapt to such as your mood and will to practise, but the good thing about tennis is that you can get creative with the drills.”
This week marked a new milestone in the career of the tennis giant who has matched Federer’s record for most time spent in the No.1 position at 310 weeks. The achievement has added yet another dynamic to the Greatest Of All Time debate on the Tour with each member of the Big Three having their own credentials for the honour.
“The GOAT debate comes down to taste and preferences, but if you have the numbers on your side, it is hard to deny some things… For me, Novak is the best and most complete player ever, for someone else it is Nadal or Federer. It will be an interesting topic to discuss when their careers are over,” Ivanisevic concluded.
Djokovic has won 82 ATP titles so far in his career.
Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’
The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.
The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.
Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.
“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”
It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.
“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”
Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.
“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.
Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.
Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti
30-year-old Evans says he is not happy with recent comments the Italian has said about him.
British No.1 Dan Evans has branded fellow player Lorenzo Musetti ‘disrespectful’ after recording the most high-profile win of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
The world No.33 stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, in what is his first ever win over a member of the prestigious Big Three. A trio that consists of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. What is even more remarkable is that Evan’s victory took place on the clay. A surface which he hadn’t won a Tour match on since 2017 prior to this week.
Speaking to reporters following his win over the world No.1, Evans was questioned about what was the difference between his match against Musetti last week and his performance in Monte Carlo. Prompting the Brit to hit out at the Italian who is dubbed as one of the rising stars of the Tour.
“How he spoke last week was embarrassing,” Evans said. “Let’s not talk about Musetti in my press conference.
“Last week he said some things in the Italian press about me that was disrespectful.
Musetti, if he apologises, I will answer. He’s a good tennis player, but he’s got no manners.”
The fallout between the two started last week after Musetti won their match at the Sardegna Open. Saving four match points in the final tiebreaker en route to the victory. Afterwards, the 19-year-old accused his rival of disrespecting him on the court.
“There are respectful experienced players on the court,” he said. “Others like Evans, they try to use my youth to (win) matches.
“But it’s all experience for me. Evans disrespected me. I don’t want to be treated like a young man.”
Whilst the two tennis players are unlikely to be friends anytime soon, Evans did praise the recent performance of his rival. Musetti is the youngest player in the top 100 on the men’s Tour and is one of only two players aged 19. The other is compatriot Jannik Sinner.
“He played very well last week. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t take the match points. It’s just tennis. Yeah, he could do with learning some manners.” He concluded.
Evans is through to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. Awaiting him in the next round is 11th seed David Goffin who defeated Alexander Zverev in his third round match.
New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade
The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”
Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.
The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.
“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”
Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.
The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.
“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”
So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.
Italy leads 2-0 against Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Play-off
Monte-Carlo Masters Saturday Preview: Who Will Play for their First Masters 1000 Title on Sunday?
Rafael Nadal Criticises Serve After Crashing Out In Monte-Carlo Quarters
Andrey Rublev reaches his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after three-set win over Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo
Canada up 2-0 over Serbia after day one at Billie Jean King Cup
Model Claims She Was Offered 60,000 Euros To Set Up Novak Djokovic
Naomi Osaka And The (Other) Surfaces
Updated Entry Lists For Marbella, Cagliari
Furious Vasek Pospisil Blames Miami Open Meltdown On Heated Meeting With ATP
Novak Djokovic Only Loses Matches When He Allows His Opponents To Beat Him, Claims Father
Steve Flink: “Jannik Sinner Will Be a Top 10 Player by the US Open”
(VIDEO) Miami Open Final Preview: Jannik Sinner Is The Favourite But Don’t Underestimate Hurkacz
Steve Flink: “Naomi Osaka Will Win At Least A Dozen Slams”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic and Nadal will end up with more Slams than Federer”
Steve Flink: “Why would Djokovic fake an injury when he’s two sets up?”
ATP17 hours ago
Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti
Latest news2 days ago
Grand Slam Winner Francesca Schiavone Returns To Tennis As Coach For Top 25 Star
ATP3 days ago
Steve John Slams ATP, French Open In Social Media Rant
Hot Topics2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Appreciates But Not Always Agree With Bold Statements From Father
ATP3 days ago
Djokovic Showdown A ‘Good Test’ For Jannik Sinner In Monte Carlo
Latest news2 days ago
Victoria Azarenka Pulls Out Of Stuttgart
ATP1 day ago
New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade
Hot Topics17 hours ago
No Questions For Hurkacz: Who Is To blame? Fans Blast Reporters, But Is It Really Them?