Novak Djokovic Says French Open Preparation Not Influenced By Nadal’s Injury Woes - UBITENNIS
Connect with us


Novak Djokovic Says French Open Preparation Not Influenced By Nadal’s Injury Woes



Photo by Ubitennis

Novak Djokovic believes the world of tennis will be affected by the possibility of Rafael Nadal not playing the French Open but should such a scenario occur it will have no impact on his approach to the tournament. 

Nadal, who has played Djokovic an incredible 59 times on the Tour so far in his career, has been absent from the sport since his second round loss at the Australian Open in January. The Spaniard has been hampered by a leg injury which originally only meant to have sidelined him for around eight weeks. Announcing his withdrawal from the Italian Open in Rome last week, he said in a statement that there has been ‘an improvement’ in his form but he was still not ready to compete on the Tour. 

It is now a race against time for Nadal to be fit for the French Open which will get underway at the end of this month. He is the most successful player in the history of the tournament with a record 14 titles to his name and an overall win-loss of 112-3. 

The only person to have ever achieved multiple wins over Nadal at Roland Garros is Djokovic who has also been hindered by injury in recent weeks due to an elbow problem. The Serbian returns to action this week in Rome where he is aiming to generate some momentum ahead of the next Grand Slam. 

“It’s all good. I mean, there’s always some things here and there that bother you on this level. It’s normal. Also when you’re not 25 any more, I guess you experience that a bit more than what used to be the case,” Djokovic said of his fitness during his pre-tournament press conference on Thursday. 
“I feel good. I miss competition. I love playing in Rome. Historically throughout my career, Rome has always been a very nice tournament for me, I had plenty of success and won it many times. It’s my most successful clay court event and the biggest one coming into the French Open.” He added. 

On paper, Nadal is set to be one of Djokovic’s biggest rivals in Paris given his record at the tournament. Although the possibility of the Spaniard potentially missing the tournament due to injury is something the world No.1 says will have no impact on his mindset heading into the event. 

“It won’t change anything in relation to my preparation. I’m looking to be performing the best that I can perform myself,” Djokovic states. 
“Of course, the world of tennis and the Roland Garros tournament will be affected by his (Nadal’s) absence from the tournament because of his history in that tournament and generally what he has achieved in his career.’
“I would like to see him play because I think for the competition, it is the best if you can have the best players in the world so the challenge is as big as it can be.”

Another contender for French Open glory is Carlos Alcaraz who has already won four titles on the Tour this season, including two Masters 1000 events. The 20-year-old will return to world No.1 next week as a result of competing at the Italian Open where he isn’t defending any points. In contrast to Djokovic who is the defending champion and therefore can’t improve on his points tally. 

Rome is the first tournament this season where both Djokovic and Alcaraz are in the same draw. They have only played each other once before which was at the 2022 Madrid Open where the Spaniard prevailed in three tight sets. 

“He’s been playing some very impressive tennis, at a great level. He’s the player to beat on this surface, no doubt,” Djokovic said of Alcaraz. 
“Of course, it depends if Nadal is going to play in the French Open or not. But Alcaraz is one of the top favourites without any dilemma. He’s been playing fantastic tennis.”

Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 and 2021. This year’s tournament will start on May 22nd. 


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



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. 

Continue Reading


Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



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.


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.


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.


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 

Continue Reading


Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



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. 

Continue Reading