'Our Main Focus Is Roland Garros' Goran Ivanisevic Reflects On Novak Djokovic's Future - UBITENNIS
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‘Our Main Focus Is Roland Garros’ Goran Ivanisevic Reflects On Novak Djokovic’s Future

Novak Djokovic’s main focus is Roland Garros according to coach Goran Ivanisevic.

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Goran Ivanisevic has reflected on Novak Djokovic’s future goals after a successful start to the season for the Serb.

It’s been a successful start to the season for Djokovic who has won two titles this season including the Australian Open.

The Serb became the world number one and enjoyed a successful return to Australia.

In an exclusive interview with Sasa Ozmo and Tennis Majors, Ivanisevic spoke about what it was like in Australia and how Djokovic dealt with his injury, “To sum it up: when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes up. As I said before, Novak was a bit afraid of the reception in Australia, but everything was perfect since we arrived in Adelaide,” Ivanisevic said.

“The Serbian community backed him there big time, it was as if we were in Belgrade – but the Australian crowd was great as well. Personally, I felt like he had the biggest support ever in Melbourne this year.

“It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. I am used to pressure, you have to be ready for everything when you’re Djokovic’s coach, but I felt bad for him. The injury occurred in Adelaide, but it worsened after a practice in Melbourne, on Saturday before the tournament. 

“I really thought that I’d seen it all in 2021, when he won the Australian Open with an abdominal tear, but this time he managed to surpass himself and not only my expectations, but the doctors’ as well.

“Every day he spent five-six hours in treatment, both on match days and off days. He just proved once again how great he is, by winning a Slam title without properly practicing.”

The comments from Ivanisevic show how incredible Djokovic’s achievement was to win the title in Melbourne.

Ivanisevic also spoke about the future as Djokovic is unable to compete at Indian Wells due to America’s rules on vaccination.

The Croat said when Djokovic found out he wasn’t playing Indian Wells and still holds out hope for participating at the Miami Open, “Namely, I think he was affected by everything that was going on regarding the exemption to come to the United States,” Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors that he found out about not playing Indian Wells before his match with Daniil Medvedev in Dubai.

“He has a strong desire to play in the U.S. this year, and the good thing is that it seems that the rule preventing him from entering will be abandoned in May. If that will be the case, Novak should be able to play the more important part of the year in the States: the US Open and the tournaments before New York. 

“We haven’t given up. He wants to play and I would love it if they allow him – it would be great both for him and for tennis. If not, it’s not the end of the world, he didn’t play last year as well. The most important thing is that we find out soon, so that we can make a plan.

“Although, in terms of preparing for the European clay court season, I’m not sure playing in Miami is the best solution. It depends on Novak – in the past he has triumphed in Monte Carlo having played in Indian Wells and Miami. If he is mentally ready and in his fighter mode, like he was in Australia, then anything is possible.”

As Ivanisevic alluded to the next big goal for Djokovic is Roland Garros, where he lost to Rafael Nadal last year.

The former Grand Slam champion said that he believes Djokovic is ready to win another title in Paris and outlined some of Djokovic’s big rivals on the clay, “So this year, the most important thing is to stay healthy and to prepare really well physically,” Ivanisevic said.

“Of course, our main focus is Roland Garros, he needs to be ready to give it his all there. He can do it. Nadal is the favourite on clay as long as he can walk, but if Novak is mentally up for it, he can beat anyone.

“Carlos Alcaraz, first and foremost. (Alexander) Zverev played a terrific Roland-Garros last year until the injury. (Stefanos) Tsitsipas is there as well, a former finalist. There are a lot of guys hungry for success, who want it badly and believe that they can do it, only to the point where they see that they can’t. It’s going to be an interesting clay court season, but for us the most important thing is to peak in Paris.”

Should Djokovic be unable to play the Miami Open, the Serb’s next tournament will be at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on the 9th of April.

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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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