Nick Kyrgios vs Novak Djokovic | Wimbledon 2022 Final preview - UBITENNIS
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Nick Kyrgios vs Novak Djokovic | Wimbledon 2022 Final preview

A match too crazy too call!

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

After 10 years Kyrgios is again in a Wimbledon final: in 2012 the Australian played and won the junior doubles final, enjoying the victory of his idol Federer the very same year on Center Court; today he will instead take the field to play the final against Djokovic. The Serbian, although showing only flashes of his best tennis, arrived as expected at the final stop. Perhaps the world of esports will have to wait a little longer (Kyrgios had been chosen by Sony as a testimonial for the launch of playstation 5 in Australia and had declared “I think that, once I reach 10 years of career, I will devote myself to video games.”)

But in the real world, has he got more chances to clinch the title than in the virtual world?

According to the betting sites, the favorite is obviously Djokovic, while the odds for Kyrgios are higher than 4:1, a considerable gap for a Grand Slam final. However, according to the Wimbledon power index (a service developed by IBM, as a technological partner), a slight advantage is given to Kyrgios

Ubitennis will leave it to you to decide, from our part we will provide some historical data and a few interpretations.

Head to Head and Big match attitude: these are some of Djokovic’s thoughts after his win against Norrie;

He’s a big-match player (refer to Kyrgios). If you see his career, the best tennis he’s played is always against the top guys,” Djokovic said. “That’s why we all respect him because we know what he can come up with. It’s going to be [an] interesting match.” 

Kyrgios in a single match can beat anyone, that’s arguably something over everybody agrees. Our gut tells us that Djokovic’s statement is correct since we all know how Kyrgios has been able to beat anyone in the past; also he is one of the few who can show a positive record against Djokovic. But it is worth remembering that both matches date back to the first half of 2017, perhaps the worst period of Djokovic’s career, conditioned by a wrist injury and by a poor focus, that led him to the abandonment of his historic coach Marian Vajda. Since then there have been no more direct clashes, and therefore it will be interesting to see also from a tactical point of view how the match will develop. Finally, a bit of fact-checking: on grass Kyrgios’ record against the top 20 is 6 won and 10 lost.

5th set attitude: Given the ups and downs shown by Djokovic against Sinner and Norrie and the ability of Kyrgios to come up with great tennis peaks, the hypothesis that the match can go to the distance is not so strange. Of course, Djokovic knows how to play the games in the 5th set, the tennis land of fatigue and tension: the Serbian boasts a record of 37 wins and 10 losses in the fifth set, and in particular here at Wimbledon posts an unreal 10-1; the only defeat dates back to 2006 when a still teenager Nole lost to Mario Ancic. In short, if the match were to go to the fifth, we would not bet against the Serbian.

On the other hand, Kyrgios’ career in 5 set matches is much shorter. In the 13 matches that has gone to the distance, he won on 9 occasions; to be fair against not-so-great opponents; Nick managed to get out of the hole of the two sets of disadvantage only 1 time, a feat that Nole has managed 7 times.

Grass court attitude: If we look at Djokovic’s percentages on grass we realize how ridiculously good he is. If we look at the restricted club of players who have won more than 100 matches on grass in the open era, Nole is here:

Grass: Matches Won
1. Roger Federer = 86.9% (192-29)
2. Pete Sampras = 85.71% (90/105)
3. Novak Djokovic = 85.0% (102-18)

Federer and Sampras have built their grass-court status from the serving side, while Djokovic leads the duo when returning, adding a solid performance on serve

Grass: Service Points Won
No 5: Pete Sampras = 72.93%
No. 8: Roger Federer = 72.35%
No. 23: Novak Djokovic = 70.02%

Grass: Return Points Won
No. 19: Novak Djokovic = 39.60%
No. 47: Roger Federer = 38.24%
No. 81: Pete Sampras = 37.14%

Talking about Kyrgios, it is arguably better to concentrate on this tournament, conisdering that he never won a tournament on grass in his career

Tactical key of the match: the Aussie’s serve: in some ways the player’s profile is not so dissimilar to Berrettini’s, and we know how Nole has a superhuman ability to demise big servers. Assuming that Kyrgios will replicate the first serve performance shown in this tournament we could expect 68% of first serve in, with a rate of success of 79%; small problem: Djokovic return. During his career the Serbian was able to display this kind of numebers:

1st serve return point won2nd serve return point won
31.10%53.30%

If we had to choose a proxy match for tomorrow’s final, maybe we could choose Medvedev – Kyrgios at the 2022 Australian Open; in that match, these were some words from Kyrgios:

“I was landing consistent 220-230kph serves close to the lines, what more can I do??’ “The way I played today I would win against 95% of the tour.”

The feeling is therefore that within each set we should pay attention to the success rate of Kyrgios’ first serve; if the guy from Canberra manages to hold on and maintain the numbers shown during the tournament it is likely that we will have a final worthy of Wimbledon center court; otherwise, if the percentages were to diverge significantly downwards, it is evident that we would see a slaughter. Finally, a side effect of the effectiveness of the first serve is to allow the Australian a plan B against Nole returns on his second serve. If Kyrgios manages to have a high combined ratio of the first serves in and won, the Australian could be tempted to go for it also on second serves. Just make a simple calculation: if the percentage of success on the second serve is lower than 68% * 79% then it is better to try hard and cross your fingers. In our case the threshold would be around 53%, curiously exactly the same number Nick held over the course of the tournament in terms of second serves won. And honestly, if Kyrgios succeeds without going all-in on the second serve, managing to win more than half of the points it would seem like a miracle (also given the statistics of the Serbian).

In the end just a small recap of the past Wimbledon finals, it’s a long time since such a low ranked player reaches the final

nameseasonmean agewinner ageWINNERrankLOOSER_ALIASloser_rankscoreMEAN_of_FINALIST_RANK
Wimbledon202129.734.11N. DJOKOVIC1M. BERRETTINI96-7 (5) 6-4 6-4 6-35
Wimbledon201935.0032.11N. DJOKOVIC1R. FEDERER37-6(5) 1-6 7-6(4) 4-6 13-12(3) RE2
Wimbledon201831.6231.11N. DJOKOVIC21K. ANDERSON86-2 6-2 7-6(3)14.5
Wimbledon201732.3335.90R. FEDERER5M. CILIC66-3 6-1 6-45.5
Wimbledon201627.3129.12A. MURRAY2M. RAONIC76-4 7-6(3) 7-6(2)4.5
Wimbledon201531.0028.10N. DJOKOVIC1R. FEDERER27-6(1) 6-7(10) 6-4 6-31.5
Wimbledon201429.9827.09N. DJOKOVIC2R. FEDERER46-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-43
Wimbledon201326.1026.11A. MURRAY2N. DJOKOVIC16-4 7-5 6-41.5
Wimbledon201228.0030.88R. FEDERER3A. MURRAY44-6 7-5 6-3 6-43.5
Wimbledon201124.5624.08N. DJOKOVIC2R. NADAL16-4 6-1 1-6 6-31.5
Wimbledon201024.4024.05R. NADAL1T. BERDYCH136-3 7-5 6-47
Wimbledon200927.3427.87R. FEDERER2A. RODDICK65-7 7-6(6) 7-6(5) 3-6 16-144
Wimbledon200824.4722.06R. NADAL2R. FEDERER16-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(8) 9-71.5
Wimbledon200723.4725.88R. FEDERER1R. NADAL27-6(7) 4-6 7-6(3) 2-6 6-21.5
Wimbledon200622.4724.88R. FEDERER1R. NADAL26-0 7-6(5) 6-7(2) 6-31.5
Wimbledon200523.3423.87R. FEDERER1A. RODDICK46-2 7-6(2) 6-42.5
Wimbledon200422.3422.87R. FEDERER1A. RODDICK24-6 7-5 7-6(3) 6-41.5
Wimbledon200324.2521.87R. FEDERER5M. PHILIPPOUSSIS487-6(5) 6-2 7-6(3)26.5
Wimbledon200220.9021.33L. HEWITT1D. NALBANDIAN326-1 6-3 6-216.5
Wimbledon200129.1429.78G. IVANISEVIC125P. RAFTER106-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-767.5
Wimbledon200028.1828.87P. SAMPRAS3P. RAFTER216-7(10) 7-6(5) 6-4 6-212
Wimbledon199928.5027.86P. SAMPRAS1A. AGASSI46-3 6-4 7-52.5
Wimbledon199826.8226.86P. SAMPRAS1G. IVANISEVIC256-7(2) 7-6(9) 6-4 3-6 6-213
Wimbledon199726.9425.86P. SAMPRAS1C. PIOLINE446-4 6-2 6-422.5
Wimbledon199625.7824.55R. KRAJICEK13M. WASHINGTON206-3 6-4 6-316.5
Wimbledon199525.7323.87P. SAMPRAS2B. BECKER46-7(5) 6-2 6-4 6-23
Wimbledon199422.8122.86P. SAMPRAS1G. IVANISEVIC57-6(2) 7-6(5) 6-03
Wimbledon199322.3521.86P. SAMPRAS1J. COURIER27-6(3) 7-6(6) 3-6 6-31.5
Wimbledon199221.4622.15A. AGASSI14G. IVANISEVIC86-7(8) 6-4 6-4 1-6 6-411
Wimbledon199123.1322.68M. STICH7B. BECKER26-4 7-6(4) 6-44.5

Grand Slam

French Open: WTA Made No Push To Schedule Women’s Matches In Prime Time Slot, Says Chief Mauresmo

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The fallout over the decision to schedule only men’s matches in the evening sessions at this year’s French Open has been defended by tournament director Amelie Mauresmo.

In a deal with Amazon Prime, the Grand Slam schedules one match to take place at 7pm on their premier Philippe Chatrier court every day until the quarter-finals. This year was the first time that no women’s matches were played in the slot since the deal was established in 2021. Overall, there have been 43 night sessions in the tournament’s history with 39 of them being awarded to the men’s draw.

Recently the WTA issued a statement to Reuters news agency calling for there to be more balance in the scheduling. A spokesperson said ‘fans want to see the excitement and thrill of women’s tennis on the biggest stages and in the premium time slots.’ However, it has now been claimed that the governing body was involved in the allocation of matches in the tournament. 

Mauresmo, who is a former world No.1 and previously coached Andy Murray, said there was never any ‘push’ for women’s matches to be held in this spot which some players don’t want due to its time. 

“When we do the scheduling, the WTA is in the room as well as the ATP, the Grand Slam supervisor, TV, we are all together,” Mauresmo said on Sunday.
“I did not see any push also to have the women’s match in the evening. I think it’s a very complicated decision. 
“It’s not easy having one match (at night) but again I never say it’s gonna be never (to having women’s matches).”

Elaborating further on the topic, Mauresmo argues that men’s matches usually last longer due to their best-of-five format. Making these more valuable for fans attending in terms of duration. The idea of playing two matches at night has been dismissed because it would ‘create other problems’ such as extremely late finishes. Novak Djokovic didn’t end his third round match until after 3am.

“It’s not a matter of how interesting the matches can be or could be. For us, it’s a matter of the length of the matches.”She said.
“In terms of the people that are coming to watch the match, the 15,000 people that are coming. It’s complicated for us to think that maybe it’s going to be very, very short. So we try our best, and it’s not easy.”

This year’s Olympic tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. That event will also have a night session but two matches will take place as they will all be best-of-three sets. 

More than 650,000 spectators came to the French Open over the past three weeks. A review of the event will start in a couple of weeks.

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Focus

Roland Garros Daily Preview: Carlos Alcaraz Plays Sascha Zverev in the Men’s Final

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Carlos Alcaraz on Friday in Paris (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

The championship matches in men’s singles and women’s doubles will be played on Sunday.

19 years ago, a young Spaniard named Rafael Nadal started a legendary relationship with Roland Garros, winning his first of a record-breaking 14 titles at this event.  Now in the same year that Nadal seemingly bid farewell to the French Open, another young Spaniard looks to begin his own Parisian legacy.  On Sunday, Carlos Alcaraz plays for his third Major title, and his first on the surface he grew up on.

Four years ago, Sascha Zverev reached his only other Major final, in an empty stadium during the 2020 US Open.  Despite holding a two-set lead, Zverev lost that championship match to Dominic Thiem in a fifth-set tiebreak, after some extremely nervous play.  On Sunday, a confident and self-described more mature version of Sascha returns to the last round of a Major, this time in a sold out stadium, and looking for a different result.

Also on Day 15, in the women’s doubles championship match at 11:30am local time, it will be Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini (11) vs. Coco Gauff and Katerina Siniakova (5).  After losing the women’s singles final on Saturday, Paolini vies for Grand Slam glory alongside Errani, who is a five-time Major champion in women’s doubles.  Between singles and doubles, Gauff is 0-3 in Slam finals, which includes a runner-up appearance here two years ago in both disciplines.  Siniakova owns seven Major titles in women’s doubles, all of which came with Barbora Krejcikova.


Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – Not Before 2:30pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Alcaraz has only played 29 matches this year, with a record of 24-5, as he missed several big events due to a right arm injury.  That included absences at two of the ATP’s biggest European clay court events, Monte Carlo and Rome.  Yet despite the injury and lack of match play, Carlitos has advanced to his third Major final with the loss of just three sets, two of which came against Jannik Sinner in Friday’s semifinals. 

By contrast, Zverev has been the healthiest of the top seven ATP players during this clay court season.  He is 34-9 in 2024, and comes into this match on a 12-match winning streak, after taking the Masters 1000 title in Rome three weeks ago.  Sascha endured a complicated path to this championship match, which included a pair of five-setters.  And he surely values his bodily health after the awful ankle injury he suffered in the semifinals of this event two years ago.  He would love to continue creating more positive memories on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Zverev holds a narrow 5-4 edge in their head-to-head, though on clay, Alcaraz leads 2-1.  However, Sascha’s sole victory on clay came in their only previous meeting at this event, in the 2022 quarterfinals.  And the German is 2-1 against the Spaniard at Majors.

Alcaraz has a definitive edge in speed as well as on the forehand side, while Zverev will look to use his serve to dictate play, and possesses a more formidable backhand.  But the biggest difference between these two is how they play in big matches.  Carlitos is 7-1 in finals at Majors and Masters 1000 tournaments, with his only loss coming in an epic championship match last summer in Cincinnati against Novak Djokovic.  Sascha is just 6-6 in finals at those same levels, and his record of 2-6 in Major semifinals speaks to how passively he often plays in big matches.

And if the match goes the distance, that is a distinct advantage for Alcaraz, who is 10-1 lifetime in five-setters.  While Zverev’s mark of 23-11 is actually pretty strong, many of those wins came against players ranked outside the top 100, and in matches where Sascha arguably should have won without going five.

Plus, trying to accomplish the sport’s biggest feat, winning a Major title, when you have not only never done so before, but actually choked when you were so close to doing so, is a lot to overcome.  While I don’t expect Zverev to play as nervously in his second Major final as his first, Alcaraz remains the freer swinger at crucial moments.  Carlitos should be favored to win his third Major title on Sunday in Paris.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP

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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