Hamad Medjedovic: The Serbian Prodigy Backed By Novak Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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Hamad Medjedovic: The Serbian Prodigy Backed By Novak Djokovic

Since the start of the season, Medjedovic has risen up the rankings by more than 400 places.

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Image via https://www.instagram.com/p/CIs0suRBugR/

Hamad Medjedovic may not be a name known by many tennis fans but one of the world’s best players is helping support the development of his career. 

The 19-year-old Serbian is a former top 10 player on the junior Tour who peaked at a high of No.9 in January 2021. Although he experienced modest success at the junior Grand Slams with his best run being to the quarter-finals of the 2020 French Open doubles tournaments. However, his transition to the pro circuit has been a successful one. This season he has already won four tournaments. On the ITF Futures Tour, he claimed back-to-back titles in Turkey before winning another in Montenegro. However, it was at a Challenger event in Germany where he achieved his breakthrough result. 

At the Platzmann-Sauerland Open Medjedovic stunned the draw by coming through qualifying en route to the title. Dropping only one set in seven matches played. At the time of that triumph he was ranked 395th in the world but has since shot up the rankings to a career-high of 259th. 

https://twitter.com/MedjedovicHamad/status/1544950832793374721

According to Medjedovic’s father, Eldin, one of the first people to congratulate his son was Djokovic who was playing at Wimbledon. The youngster is a member of the Novak Tennis Academy. Whilst he is still an active player, the former world No.1 has been involved in trying to help develop the career of his compatriot. 

Novak is really trying hard for Hamad. In all ways: financially, mentally and socially,” Eldin told Sportal
“I remember a conversation with Novak. We specifically talked about the steps in Hamad’s career. I pinched myself during that conversation to convince myself that all this was happening. He was giving me ideas, about what to do about Hamad, and I remember saying to him: “Nole, I’m sorry, but it all costs money!” He continues, suggests me a coach, talks about how we will do, what we will do and adds: “It’s up to Hamad to train, I’ll do the rest!” I tell him again: “Nole, it costs money!” 
“Then Novak told me: “Edo, I don’t do this for money! I have a place where I earn money. Simply, my role and my task is to help. What kind of person would I be if I didn’t help children who deserve it, who love tennis.”

The two trained together in Montenegro back in April at the Bay of Kotor. That occurred shortly after Medjedovic won two titles in Turkey. Eldin recalls a phone call he had with the tennis star during that time. When he asked his son if he had been asking Djokovic for tips, he received an unexpected response. 

“I don’t build a relationship with him like that, only a friendly one because he treats me like a friend, so I would like to be his friend too,” Medjedovic said. 

Image via https://www.instagram.com/p/CIs0suRBugR/

Speaking about the rising star, Djokovic says his rise has been achieved through a change in his work ethic. Placing him in the world’s top 100 when it comes to playing ability and training. 

Right now he is in a transition zone between the ITF tournaments and the major circuit, in which many players remain throughout their careers. I have many friends at those levels, who struggle to rise further. But Hamad has put himself in an interesting position because if he manages to move up another thirty places he could enter the qualifiers of the Grand Slam tournaments: that is the next goal. I am very confident for his future,” Super Tennis quoted Djokovic as saying.
“He deserves these successes for all the efforts of the last year and a half. His work ethic has changed a lot. He completely changed his approach to training and competitions, changed his diet, his recovery work, some habits and much more. This is producing important results. It is proof that with patience, commitment and dedication the goals arrive. In terms of play and athletic training, he already deserves the top 100 in the world, but certain steps take time.”

Medjedovic is coached by former player Ilija Bozoljac who reached a ranking high of 101 in 2007. At Djokovic’s academy, he also has sessions with recently retired Viktor Troicki. 

“Now I would like to go up to around number 150, to start approaching the major circuit tournaments full time,” Medjedovic said of his future goals. “But the most important thing at this stage of my career is to feel good physically. In Germany I proved I can do good things: it was one of the best weeks of my life, I beat high-level opponents and realized one of the first dreams of my career. I see it as a beginning, a sort of introduction to tennis that matters.”

Medjedovic played in the qualifying draw at this week’s Kitzbuhel Open. He lost in the first round to sixth seed Gerald Melzer 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. 

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

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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

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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.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

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.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ 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.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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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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