Novak Djokovic Insists He Is ‘Not Obsessed By Anything’ Following Nadal Remark - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Insists He Is ‘Not Obsessed By Anything’ Following Nadal Remark

The two tennis greats are at a disagreement after Nadal suggested that his rival was fixated on winning major titles.

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Rafa Nadal e Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2020 (via Twitter, @rolandgarros)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic says nemesis Rafael Nadal has every right to voice his opinion on the Tour but he doesn’t completely agree with one statement he has recently said.

 

Earlier in the week, Nadal spoke to metro.com in an exclusive interview where he covered a variety of topics ranging from his future to his rivalry with other players. In one particular part of the interview, the Spaniard spoke about his approach to winning Grand Slam titles and how it differs to Djokovic. He currently has a record-equalling 20 major titles to his name which is two more than the Serbian.

“Of course, I want to win more Slams, yes. No doubt about that,” Nadal said.
‘But I never get – I mean, Novak is more obsessed about this, more focused…
“Not in a negative way. No, he’s more focused on just these things and it means a lot to him all of this stuff. Like he’s always saying and talking about these records and well done for him… but it’s not my approach to my tennis career.”

Djokovic has been open about his desire to one day own the record for most grand slam titles won by a male player in men’s tennis. Following his triumph at the Australian Open in February, he hinted that he could adjust his schedule in the future to shift a greater focus on the big events.

Back in action this week at the Belgrade Open, Djokovic was questioned about Nadal’s comment during his pre-tournament press conference. He dismissed the idea that he was ‘obsessed’ by explaining that he is driven by ‘passion and huge desire.’

“I cannot speak on his behalf, I do not know the way he thinks, but, it is his right to voice an opinion: how he sees me in regards to records, etc,” he told reporters.
“Personally, I do not feel that I am obsessed with anything in life; what I feel is passion and huge desire. I am going towards achieving my goals and I have never had a problem verbalizing it. Maybe someone cannot say something and then stick to it, but I never found it hard to say:
‘I want to break that record or reach a certain goal. I do not know why would that be a bad thing, not just in terms of records, but anything, politics in tennis for instance.”

Djokovic has played Nadal 56 times on the Tour with him winning 29 of those meetings. Their rivalry includes facing each other in nine Grand Slam finals since 2011, including last year’s French Open when Nadal won in straight sets.

“I respect Rafa, probably more than any other player in the world; he is the biggest rival I had in my life,” he commented. “Everything he has achieved, his dedication to tennis and the way he goes about practicing and tennis in general, these traits of his are worthy of admiration. He knows what sources of motivation he has, I cannot go into that.”

33-year-old Djokovic is looking to get back on track this week at the Serbia Open following his shock loss to Dan Evans in Monte Carlo. Granted a bye in the first round, he will start his campaign against either Roberto Carbelles Baena or Kwon Soon-Woo.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status

The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.

 

The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.

However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.

I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.

Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.

“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.

The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.

“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”

Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

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