Novak Djokovic Sinks Kyrgios To Win Seventh Wimbledon Title As Protester Claims Assault - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Sinks Kyrgios To Win Seventh Wimbledon Title As Protester Claims Assault

The Serbian battled his way to a 21st major title that moves him one away from drawing level with Rafael Nadal’s record.

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Once again Novak Djokovic was forced to come from behind as he edged his way past nemesis Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3), to win the Wimbledon title for a fourth consecutive time.

The world No.1 headed into the final after playing two previous matches where he dropped the opening set. History would repeat itself on Center Court with the world No.1 initially being caught off guard by the highly animated Kyrgios before securing the win with 46 winners against 17 unforced errors as he won 75% of his service points. Djokovic is the second-oldest man in the Open Era to win Wimbledon after Roger Federer. The only man to have won the major event more times than him.

“I am lost for words for what this trophy means. It has always been and always will be the most special tournament,” said Djokovic. “Realising a childhood dream of winning this trophy. Every year it gets more meaningful, I am really blessed. The most special court in the world. I am extremely happy and grateful to be here.”

Although there was another story forming behind the scenes with a Peng Shuai protester claiming he was assaulted after trying to disrupt the match during the third set. He was seen being pulled to the ground before getting removed from the court.

Coming into the showdown there was an extensive gap in experience between the two. Djokovic was playing in the final of a major for the 32nd time in his career which is a record for the men’s Tour. In contrast, Kyrgios was contesting his first at the age of 27. However, it was the Australian who drew blood first during the opener at the expense of a tentative Djokovic service game that concluded with a double fault. After that breakthrough, Kyrgios dropped only three points behind his serve for the rest of the set as he soared to 6-3.

Coming from behind has been a common thing for Djokovic who had to do so in his two previous matches against Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie. In the second frame, it was Kyrgios’ turn to have a lackluster service game as the Serbian broke for a 2-1 lead with the help of a lucky net cord on break point. That was the first time Djokovic had ever broken to him on the Tour after suffering two straight losses in 2017. Fighting to draw level, he valiantly saved four break points whilst ahead 5-3 before prevailing with the help of a 119mph serve down the middle of the court.

There was a very brief halt to play early on in the third when a member of the crowd, believed to be a Peng Shuai protester, was shouting out before being ejected from the court. Shuai is a former Chinese player who is feared to be under censorship in her homeland after accusing a former government official of sexual assault. Drew Pavlov, who describes himself as a ‘human rights activist’ on Twitter, claims security ‘went nuts’ and assaulted him.

As for drama on the court, Kyrgios received a code violation for swearing after expressing his frustration with not receiving a first serve despite being interrupted by a member of the crowd. Nevertheless, he still managed to hold.

The mood of the Australian deteriorated further in the third when locked at 4-4 he lost five straight points which gave Djokovic a chance to serve for a two-set lead. Prompting a livid Kyrgios to scream in the direction of his camp in the stands. Meanwhile, a much calmer Djokovic seized the moment with relative ease to move ahead for the first time.

Locked in a battle, there was little to distinguish between the two throughout the fourth set. In the end, it would be a somewhat disappointing tiebreaker that sealed Djokovic’s win. A series of consecutive Kyrgios unforced errors moved him to a 6-1 lead before he triumphed on his third championship point with his rival hitting a shot into the net.

“He’s a bit of a god, I thought I had played well,” said Kyrgios. “I want to congratulate Novak, I don’t how now many times he won it.”

After having a somewhat rocky relationship over the years, Kyrgios recently said the two are starting to form a bromance with each other by messaging one another on Instagram. Something Djokovic agrees with.

“Nick, you’ll be back. Not just in Wimbledon but in many finals. You showed why you are one of the best players in the world. Congrats to you and your team,” said Djokovic.
“I wish you all the best, man. I really think you are an amazing talent. I never thought I’m going to say so many nice things about you, considering the relationship! OK, it’s officially a bromance! Hopefully, this is the start of a wonderful friendship. Let’s start with dinner and drinks and we will see.”

Six out of the seven Wimbledon titles Djokovic has won have occurred during a season where he has played no grass-court events leading up to the Grand Slam.

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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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