US Open: Cameron Norrie, His Two-Hour Strategy And Plans To Run A Half Marathon - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Cameron Norrie, His Two-Hour Strategy And Plans To Run A Half Marathon

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Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/status/1564267865179672579/photo/1

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

 

Cameron Norrie has become one of those players who wear down opponents, to the extent where they no longer know how to win a point and get gripped by a sense of anxiety which drives them to overdo it and miss shots they usually make. 

His win over Carlos Alcaraz in Cincinnati has surely boosted his confidence that he can also beat players who are capable of overpowering him through stages of a match. The longer the match gets, the likelier he is to accomplish the feat. The two hour strategy, which he mentioned at Wimbledon in the quarterfinal against Goffin, now is his trademark.

“When I talked to Facu (Facundo Lugones, his coach) this morning about tactics I told him: look, I think it’s big we get it to two hours and make it as physical as we can, and then the match starts from there. I felt like I did my job. I got to two hours and then I was able to get it done pretty quickly after that. I was feeling better and better as the match went on. I was able to stay very calm, serve well. I think that was the difference today.” He said. 

In his current form Norrie can lose either with a player who is even more enduring than he is, or with a player who can overpower him constantly. In the future Holger Rune may become one of these. Now he still lacks experience.

“Holger is pretty young and I have seen him cramp a few times in a couple points when it can be quite hot. It was, like, look I want to try and make it as physical as I can and make rallies longer to get to two hours. It just went two hours and he kind of dropped his intensity, and started playing too aggressive, in my opinion and was missing a lot.” Norrie commented. 

Norrie’s fitness has often made the headlines. He can run 10 km in 36:45 10 km and 5 km in 17.20. Does he harbour greater ambitions?  

“I would maybe like to after tennis. I haven’t really thought about it too much, but I’m a decent runner, so it would be nice to maybe do that when I’m done with tennis.”

But we will not have to wait too long, before seeing him in action.

“I actually lost in my Fantasy Football last year. I came last and I still owe a half marathon. I need to pick a good time to do that,” he revealed. 

The match

Norrie Rune 75 64 61 

Coming into the match the question was: has Rune a powerful and resistant enough battering ram to break open the door of Norrie’s fortress?

He had been quite close, in his two previous losses to Norrie, going down both times in three sets. Their last encounter was just a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati.

And in the first 4 games Rune did prove he had the power. The hinges of the British fortress door creaked, with Norrie saving 4 break points in his first two service games, but did not budge. Instead Rune lost his serve in the second game.  

Perhaps Rune’s winners were more spectacular, yet not as many as he needed to level the match.

Norrie never ceased varying direction and angles, length and pace. Often he chose to play towards the centre of the court, so as to make it difficult for Rune to open up angles. Unforced errors from the Dane were mounting up.  At the end of the match they would be 43, not compensated by 36 winners.

Serving for the set something unexpectedly cracked in Norrie’s game. Two missed smashes, forehands falling short and a double fault let Rune back into the match.

Norrie was quick to find his bearings once more. He broke immediately and did not falter a second time, serving out the set to love.

In the very first game of the second set Rune faced break points. He saved four brilliantly, also  winning a net clash that fired up the public, but by dint of insisting Norrie got the break. In spite of Rune restraining unforced errors, the gap widened to a two break lead.

Rune recovered one of the breaks, with Norrie’s forehand falling again a little too short and allowing Rune to pound on it. But in the 10th game, after saving still another break point with the typical lefthander serve out wide, the Brit put away the set with a well-placed flat backhand down the line. 

When Norrie broke in the third game of the third set, suddenly also Rune’s body language revealed resignation, Norrie won the next four games and continues his clear and best ever run at the US Open: in the round of 16, yet to drop a set.

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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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