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.
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.
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.
Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman
The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.
Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired.
The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona.
Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori.
“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”
The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas.
Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33.
“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said.
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”
The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match.
Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup
Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar. Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup. Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first.
Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time. And each match on Sunday is worth three points.
Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm
Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles. So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday. Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday. Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist. If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.
Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)
Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles. While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever. Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.
Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay. It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1). And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday. Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary
Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games. He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts. However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.
Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary
Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday. If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.
The full Laver Cup schedule is here.
Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday
In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2. And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit. With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup?
Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day. Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm. And each match on Saturday is worth two points.
Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm
These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions. Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event. Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati. Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup. Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.
Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session
Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play. Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive. Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17. Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon. They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets. Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.
Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm
Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday? He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock. Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios. The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.
Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5. Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York. Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets. Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day. But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.
Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session
Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here. This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals. Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2. De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.
The full Laver Cup schedule is here.
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Roger Federer To Make Last-Minute Decision Over Laver Cup Participation, Says Coach
Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Physical And Mental Trauma From Tennis Retirement
Should Roger Federer Become A Super Coach? Djokovic And Murray Give Their View
Andy Murray Calls For Earlier Start To Davis Cup Ties After Great Britain Loses Late-Night Thriller
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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues
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