Novak Djokovic Denies Being Roland Garros Favourite, Praises Alcaraz - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Denies Being Roland Garros Favourite, Praises Alcaraz

Novak Djokovic has denied being the favourite for Roland Garros as he searches for a 23rd Grand Slam title in Paris.



Novak Djokovic denies being the Roland Garros favourite as he heaped praise on Carlos Alcaraz ahead of the tournament.


After winning only five matches on clay this season, Novak Djokovic is the third seed in Paris after being overtaken by Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev who claimed the title in Madrid and Rome.

Despite this Djokovic may be perceived to be the favourite to claim his 23rd Grand Slam title in Paris as he is the most experiences amongst the favourites.

However speaking ahead of the second Grand Slam of the year Djokovic dismissed being the favourite and claimed that title goes to Alcaraz, “Well, it’s no secret that one of the main reasons I play today and compete in professional tennis is to try to break more records and make more history in tennis. That’s extremely motivating and inspiring for me,” Djokovic started his monologue by explaining.

“But as I said, at the same time, you know, things are different than they were 10 years ago in terms of how my body is maybe responding to the schedule. You know, I’m playing season after season. So early in the year I was saying that I put emphasis and priority on the Grand Slams, so I’m feeling good at the moment.

“I don’t have any physical issues that worry me. So that’s most important for me. You know, I want to feel good coming into a Grand Slam. So part of me is, of course, you know, confident and always aspires to win Grand Slams and biggest titles in this sport, but I also have to be humble about the fact that things are a bit different, you know, with the way I’m feeling on the court month after month, you know. The beating is harder than it was before, physically.

“Yeah, you have big names, of course, like Alcaraz, he’s No. 1 in the world, and probably the biggest favorite in the tournament. You know, Tsitsipas and Medvedev, they have started playing great on clay. And Rune, Ruud, Zverev, knows how to play big events, can always do damage against anybody.

“So I think the tournament is quite open, to be honest. Maybe a few guys that are at the top of the favorites list, but anyone can take it. I’m hoping it can be me.”

It’s clear that Djokovic isn’t the most prepared he’s been for a Grand Slam but to hear that the Serb’s injury is getting better is good news for the tournament as Djokovic bids for more history in Paris.

When talking about Alcaraz, Djokovic expanded on what makes him the favourite at Roland Garros, “Because he’s No. 1 in the world, and he’s a player that won big titles on clay this season. So right now, you know, he is the biggest favorite regardless of the fact that he has, you know, 1 Grand
Slam and I have 22,”
Djokovic emphatically said.

“I mean, still, we look at the last few months and the kind of shape and the form that he’s having and that I’m having, I think he’s a slightly bigger favourite.

“But then again, as I said, Grand Slams are a different tournament, a different sport in a way, because you’re, you know, playing best-of-five, you are playing in the most important tournaments in the world, and the experience is on my side, but how much will that play a role in eventual head-to-head if I get to play him or not, we’ll get to see.

“But in terms of looking at it from the perspective of the game itself and the form, I think he’s the No. 1 favourite now.”

It’s clear that Djokovic rates the Spaniard highly as Alcaraz bids to improve on his quarter-final performance from last year.

Finally Djokovic spoke about one player that would have been the favourite here had he been playing.

Of course that player is the defending champion and long-time rival of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal.

Speaking about Nadal’s absence Djokovic admitted he won’t miss Nadal being in the draw and said that Nadal’s press conference in Mallorca made him ponder about his own career, “Well, honestly, I don’t miss him being in the draw, you know,” Djokovic jokingly said.

“You know, I don’t like seeing him in the draw of Roland Garros, to be honest, you know. I have had not so much success against him in our records head-to-head in Roland Garros.

“I have managed to beat him twice, but, you know, I had to leave my heart and my guts out on the court to achieve that. So I know how hard it is to play him anywhere, really, around the world, but especially here.

“But, you know, of course as a tennis fan and someone that is also part of the tennis ecosystem, you always want to win, to see the best tennis players in the world, the most famous tennis players in the world playing.

“So he’s definitely one of the guys that not only has made a history in terms of his records in this tournament overall, but just he won the hearts of many tennis fans around the world, and deservedly so, with his charisma and character and everything that he left in his legacy.

“He’s really exemplary player for that. So for sure he will be missed this season, and hopefully can come back. I think he said somewhere around end of the season, last few months of the season, and then he said that next
year will be his last.

“So, you know, that news came in a way as a shock to everybody, you know. People were asking me how I felt when he said that, you know, and I have to say that, you know, I was saying that always that he’s my biggest rival.

“When he announced that he’s going to have his last season of career, you know, I felt part of me is leaving with him too, if you know what I mean. Yeah, it made me wonder, you know, it made me think about my career and how long I’m going to play.

“So far I’m not going to make any announcement today, but just reflecting on it, you know, I felt also a little bit emotional about what he was saying.”

Before retirement, Djokovic will feel he has a few more Grand Slam runs in him and he will hope Paris is the start of that where the Serb will face Aleksandar Kovacevic.


Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory



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It will be a match that Australia’s Marc Polmans will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.


The World No.140 looked to be on the verge of victory against Italy’s Stefano Napolitano when leading their match 7-6(3), 6-6(6-5), in the final round of qualifying at the Shanghai Masters. However, disaster struck at the next point when Polmans temper got the better of him and subsequently cost him.

With match point, he approached the net to hit a backhand shot but it ended up in the net. Prompting the frustrated 26-year-old to hit a tennis ball that unfortunately hit the umpire. As a result of that action, he was automatically disqualified from the match which handed Napolitano the victory and a place in the main draw.

It is not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for such an incident. During a 2017 Davis Cup tie between Canada and Great Britain, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified for firing a tennis ball that hit the umpire’s eye. Novak Djokovic was also disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball that accidentally struck a lines judge.

“Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw
a tennis ball while on the grounds of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up),
” the 2023 ATP rulebook outlines.
“For purposes of this rule, abuse of balls is defined as intentionally or reckless- ly hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with disregard of the conse- quences.’
“Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine of up to $350 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.”

It is a tough lesson for Polmans to learn. He was on the verge of playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He is currently the 10th highest-ranked Australian player on the ATP Tour and reached the final of a Challenger event in Guangzhou, China last month.

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Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup

Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day



Image via Laver Cup twitter

After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.


Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”

American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.

“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”

After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:

“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”

The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:

“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”

Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”

Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.

Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.

T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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