Novak Djokovic Will Have A More Difficult Time In 2022, Says Berdych - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Will Have A More Difficult Time In 2022, Says Berdych

The Czech explains why he believes the new year could be more troublesome for the world No.1.



Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

A former rival of Novak Djokovic believes his dominance on the Tour this season will not be repeated next year because he is becoming ‘more fragile.’

Thomas Berdych has warned that Djokovic could be in for a tougher time over the coming months as he seeks to break more records in the sport. This year Djokovic won three out of the four Grand Slam tournaments to bring his overall tally to 20 which places him on level footing with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Outside of the slams he also won titles in his native Belgrade and the Paris Masters. Djokovic achieved a win-loss of 55-7 this year on the ATP Tour.

However, 36-year-old Berdych believes the tides could be turning as he predicts that the Serbian will face more challenges in the major tournaments. At the US Open he fell to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

“He’s going to have more of a difficult time next year, definitely. I’m not saying he has no chance of winning a Slam – he has a pretty good chance – but I think he’s going to have to avoid a tough match which will drain him over five sets because it’s two weeks, seven matches, and you need to stay healthy,” Sky Sports quoted Berdych as saying.

Berdych has played Djokovic 28 times during his career on the Tour between 2008-2017 but only won three of their encounters. Although one of those wins was during the 2017 Wimbledon Championships where Djokovic retired from their match in the second set.

“He’s been so strong where nothing could break him, which is why he has been dominating, but I think now he’s getting a little bit more fragile,” he continued. “Next season is going to be interesting. I think he’s got the chance of winning at least one Grand Slam next year.”

The players who have beaten Djokovic in 2021 are Dan Evans, Aslan Karatsev, Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Pablo Carreno Busta and Medvedev. Out of those six, Zverev is the only player to have scored multiple wins.

As for the next generation taking over from the Big Three, Berdych says he is impressed by another name on the men’s Tour.

“Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have been around for a really, really long time and it shows just what a great generation of tennis it has been,” he said.
“We could now expect more unpredictable results.
“I really like the way Stefanos Tsitsipas plays because he plays very aggressive and creative on court. The second half of his season has been a bit flat though.”

Berdych has been ranked as high as fourth in the world and won 13 ATP titles during his career. He retired from the sport in 2019.


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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