The energy was too low: Cameron Norrie Switches Focus To Davis Cup After US Open Defeat - UBITENNIS
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The energy was too low: Cameron Norrie Switches Focus To Davis Cup After US Open Defeat

A periodic 64 64 64 loss to a solid Andrey Rublev shatters Norrie’s dreams of a longer run at the US Open. His focus now is Davis Cup

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Image via Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

It turned out to be just one of those days for Cam Norrie. One of those days when nothing goes in the right direction however hard you try, whatever you try. For some unfathomable reason, something is missing. This also makes these guys look so human, at times.

 

“I missed a lot in two of the most important departments of the game. Errors on my backhand side was not like myself. The second-serve return I missed a lot and gave him a lot of free points there. Was probably my best part of my game, and I didn’t do that well. That’s part of it.” He said after crashing out of the US Open on Monday. 

It’s interesting how Rublev attributed such an un-standard performance of his opponent to excessive tightness. Indeed Norrie saw it differently.

“I felt actually very relaxed, and I think maybe too relaxed and too low energy,” he explained. “Usually in the other matches I was very nervous and very tight, but I felt like I used that and I was a bit more kind of electric and I was a bit sharper and was able to run for balls.

It was quite a different story for Andrey Rublev.

“I think today was everything going my side,” said Rublev. “When I needed to play, like making a good serve, I was making a good serve. Every time I needed him to miss he was missing. So everything was like today on my side. On top of that, I was playing good. I was making good shots, good winners and in the end I was able to win in three sets so I’m really happy.”

The match had taken off to an even start and soared to upper levels in the eighth game when Rublev conquered a 35 shot rally with a superb backhand down the line, and Norrie had immediately answered back with a forehand winner. 

In a such a tight context any lapse can be fatal. In the next game Norrie missed three – yes, three – backhands in a row and was broken. Rublev soon after closed the set out with an ace.

A strangely low spirited Norrie had to save a break point in the first game but lost his following serve. This time it was his forehand which let him down. 

A crosscourt forehand winner was a sign of awakening and Norrie even conquered a break point for breaking back but Rublev passed him with a backhand on full stretch. Norrie wasn’t able to construct other opportunities, still too many unforced errors hampering a true comeback, and Rublev smoothly maintained his one break lead till the end of the second set.

When two forehand errors by Norrie surrendered a break in the fifth game of the third set, the final curtain seemed to be falling.

In the next game he slammed his racquet to the ground out of frustration, after another missed backhand, and that ignited some fire, despite a warning for racquet abuse. He broke back.

“I think that was the best game of the match. I played the only game I had chances really to break. So I felt like I was able to release a little bit,” he said. “Obviously it’s not ideal to be breaking racquets and doing that. I very rarely do it, so I was able to kind of snap and change my energy and move a lot better for the next kind of 20 minutes. That was probably the best part of the match for me.”

The wick burnt out too soon. Another missed forehand, a double fault, an erratic backhand and Rublev whizzed off to 0-40. The Russian converted the third break point with a meticulous crosscourt backhand passing shot and serve out the match for a convincing win.  

Norrie was disappointed but harbours ambitions for the next months. The ATP Finals in Turin are his ultimate goal. Meanwhile he’s looking forward to the grand team event…

“I’m really excited for the Davis Cup and back with crowds and to be playing in the team that we have with so much experience. It’s going to be the first time for me on the team with Andy (Murray) so I’m really looking forward to that. We’re all playing well, and we’ve got a home tie, so I’m really excited to get there. I’m going to prepare as well as I can for that. Yeah, it’s a very quick turnaround, so I’m really going to have to be ready for it. We have a great team, and I’m really looking forward to it.” He concludes. 

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

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Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

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