Steve Flink: Novak Djokovic Wins 24th Major Title Largely on Willpower - UBITENNIS
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Steve Flink: Novak Djokovic Wins 24th Major Title Largely on Willpower



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As we reflect on Novak Djokovic securing a fourth U.S. Open crown and a 24th major in the process, it is too easily overlooked by even the most erudite of tennis observers that this tournament has frequently been filled with misfortune for the Serbian gladiator. 


This was the tenth time Djokovic had been to the finals in New York, but on six occasions he had been toppled on those auspicious occasions. He lost to a prime time Roger Federer in a straight set 2007 final (7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4) despite having five set points in the opening set and two more in the second. Rafa Nadal upended Djokovic in a four set 2010 title round meeting, and two years later Andy Murray defeated the Serbian in a five set final.

The pattern persisted. Nadal overcame Djokovic in a four set final in 2013. When that encounter was locked at one set all, the Spaniard served his way out of a dark corner at 4-4, 0-40. Another penetrating setback for Djokovic was in 2016 when he fell in four sets against Stan Wawrinka despite taking the opening set. And then, of course, Djokovic suffered his most painful final round loss at the Open two years ago when his bid for the Grand Slam was denied by Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

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Of those six final round defeats, Djokovic could well have won two or three. Meanwhile, he was the prohibitive favorite in 2020 when he inadvertently hit a lines woman with a ball late in the first set of his round of 16 appointment against Pablo Carreno Busta and was disqualified. Last, but not least, he could not compete at the 2022 U.S. Open because he is unvaccinated.

In my mind, Djokovic—inarguably at his best on hard courts—is worthy of several more Open titles in his collection. He had his breakthrough triumph in New York at the 2011 edition when he rescued himself from double match point down in the semifinals against Roger Federer before ousting Nadal in a hard fought, four set final. He took his second title four years later in four sets over Federer on an evening when the audience was vociferously cheering the Swiss stylist’s every move and often loudly applauding Djokovic’s mistakes. His third triumphant campaign came five years ago when Djokovic fended off the extraordinary firepower of Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 in a 2018 title round contest that resembled this year’s final in some ways.

But perhaps his latest victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium will mean the most to Djokovic. He wanted this tournament very badly. His parents, wife and two children were there to cheer him on. On top of those emotional factors, Djokovic had lost narrowly to Carlos Alcaraz in a five set Wimbledon final, and was therefore doubly determined not to lose consecutive major finals after all of the hard work he had put in across the season.

As the tournament progressed, Djokovic surely believed deep in his heart that he was destined to take on Alcaraz again. In the last three times they had been at a tournament together, the Serbian and Spaniard had indeed clashed, with Djokovic victorious in the semifinals at Roland Garros, Alcaraz the victor at Wimbledon and Djokovic then winning a stupendous skirmish in the final of Cincinnati.

But Alcaraz was ushered out of the Open by an inspired Medvedev in a sparkling Saturday night semifinal encounter, and so the final pitted Djokovic versus Medvedev. This was their third final at a Grand Slam event. Before Medvedev had beaten Djokovic in the 2021 Open final, the Serbian had taken apart the Russian 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the Australian Open final at the start of that season.

Altogether, Djokovic owned a 9-5 career head to head lead over Medvedev coming into the Open final, including triumphs in three of their last four meetings, most notably at Turin last fall in the ATP Finals in a round robin skirmish. Djokovic had already qualified for the semifinals and that match was supposedly meaningless. But he approached it like a final and pushed himself to his physical and emotional limits. Medvedev served for the match in the final set before Djokovic succeeded in a final set tie-break. He explained later that the reason why he was so driven to win that match was his high regard for Medvedev as one of his most important and resilient rivals.

This time around at the U.S. Open, Djokovic was composed, purposeful and quietly confident from the outset. He recognized as he always does how crucial it is to get off to a good start and take the opening set. Over the course of his sterling career, Djokovic has the best record of any male player in the Open Era after winning the first set at 935-41 (.958). There has been no better front runner in the sport.

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As is his custom, Djokovic came out of the blocks unhesitatingly against Medvedev, releasing a pair of aces from 30-30 in the opening game of the final, then breaking his 6’6” adversary at love in the second game as the No. 3 seed put in only one first serve. Medvedev double faulted once wildly and made three unprovoked mistakes in that game. Djokovic trailed 0-30 in the third game but swept four points in a row for 3-0, closing out that third game with another ace at 120 MPH down the T.

The No. 2 seed had the cushion he wanted. He did not break Medvedev again in that set but played the most significant points well on his own delivery. At 3-1 and deuce, he approached beautifully deep to the backhand and put away a forehand volley crosscourt, moving to 4-1 with an angled forehand crosscourt that was too much to handle. On his way to 5-2, he released a couple of winners including a pinpoint forehand inside in on game point. After Medvedev survived a three deuce game and saved two set points at 2-5, Djokovic held easily at 15 to seal the set 6-3 in 48 efficient minutes.

Over the first half of the second set, Djokovic was constantly making Medvedev work hard to hold serve. The 27-year-old held on after three deuces for 1-0, endured another deuce game before moving to 2-1, and held from 15-30 to reach 3-2. Djokovic, meanwhile, was holding much more comfortably. On his way to 3-3 he served three love games in a row. In the seventh game, Djokovic advanced to break point but Medvedev connected with a 124 MPH first serve that created an opening for a forehand swing volley winner. After four deuces and countless sparkling points, Medvedev worked his way out of danger to 4-3 with a 121 MPH ace out wide in the ad court.

Now Djokovic was starting to lose steam physically and feeling the strain mentally, realizing that the outcome of this set was critical. He led 40-15 in the eighth game but double faulted and then lost the next point. At game point for the third time he double faulted again. He had a fourth game point but missed an easy forehand. Medvedev garnered a first break point but Djokovic spectacularly made a forehand half volley drop shot winner to save himself. Djokovic held on after four deuces and more than twelve minutes, making a low forehand volley crosscourt that provoked a netted passing shot from Medvedev. 

It was 4-4. Many among the capacity crowd in Ashe Stadium were chanting “Nole, Nole, Nole” to spur him on, but Medvedev was unswayed, holding at love for 5-4 before Djokovic made it to 5-5 with a clutch hold. The Serbian reached deuce in the following game on Medvedev’s serve by prevailing in an astounding 26 shot exchange, bringing the crowd to their feet with a forehand passing shot winner off an awkward smash form Medvedev. Medvedev, however, stayed completely on task, holding on with a service winner and a surprising error off the backhand from Djokovic.

Djokovic was now seriously fatigued. At 5-6, he double faulted at 40-30. A scintillating and unanswerable backhand down the line into the corner then gave Medvedev a set point. Djokovic went to the serve-and-volley that he employed so selectively well all match long, going down the T with his first delivery at 117 MPH, angling the backhand first volley crosscourt. Medvedev had an opening for a down the line pass but went crosscourt. Djokovic anticipated that shot and punched a backhand volley winner into a wide open space down the line. As he walked back to the baseline to play the next point, Djokovic grinned, realizing he had been fortunate. Eventually, after four deuces, a debilitated Djokovic went to 6-6 with a 121 MPH service winner down the T.

A marathon set that would last for one hour and 44 minutes was nearing an end as both players fully realized what was at stake. Medvedev would have a new life by winning it and reaching one set all, while Djokovic knew that he could be unstoppable by coming through in the tie-break to move ahead two sets to love.

Medvedev opened up a 3-1 lead but Djokovic swept three points in succession to lead 4-3 and sensed an opportunity for a forehand winner down the line on the next point, but drove it long. 4-4. The following point was 23 strokes. Djokovic defended stupendously but then took charge of the rally. He tried an angled backhand drop shot that Medvedev answered with a re-drop. Djokovic was trapped. 5-4 for Medvedev. Djokovic took control of the next rally commendably. The last six shots he played were all crosscourt backhands that he leaned into with conviction, increasing the pace of his shots and the angle each time until he forced Medvedev to miss. 5-5.  Djokovic then followed his first serve in on the eleventh point and his wide delivery in the deuce court landed in the corner. Medvedev missed his down the line forehand return both long and wide.

Medvedev was set point down at 5-6, and he was not going to escape. The big man netted a backhand down the line. After so many pulsating points, Medvedev understandably cracked against the game’s premier tie-break player, losing a hard fought tie-break seven points to five. Djokovic lifted his record for the year in those sequences to 26-5. The match was essentially over. Both players sorely wanted that set, but Medvedev needed it even more than Djokovic. The match was essentially over.

Djokovic made his move early in the third set, breaking a beleaguered Medvedev at 15 for 3-1 on a stream of errors. But Djokovic made only one first serve in the following game, double faulted once and was broken at 15 as well. It would be the only time in the match that he lost his serve, but he made amends immediately. Medvedev was serving at 30-0 in the sixth game but Djokovic caught him off guard with a deep forehand return. Medvedev double faulted to make it 30-30 and then Djokovic concluded a 16 stroke exchange with an immaculately measured backhand down the line winner. Djokovic directed a backhand crosscourt return at 30-40 to lure Medvedev into a backhand down the line error. Four points in a row for Djokovic. He was back up a break at 4-2.

He commenced the seventh game with a dazzling serve-volley combination, angling away the backhand first volley acutely for 15-0, lacing a forehand inside in winner for 30-0, putting away an overhead for 40-0, and going to his trusted sliced backhand to coax an error from Medvedev. With that love hold Djokovic got to 5-2. Medvedev pridefully held from 0-30 in the eighth game after losing ten points in a row, but Djokovic wrapped up the victory with a hold at 30. The triumph belonged to Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3. At long last, five years after claiming his last Open title, Djokovic had at last captured a fourth crown in New York as he appeared in a record tenth final.

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It was a strategically savvy performance from Djokovic, reminiscent in many ways of his final round win over Medvedev in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters 1000 event. It was Djokovic’s willingness and readiness to come forward that separated him from Medvedev. He won 20 of 22 serve-and-volley points, and altogether 37 of 44 points when he went to the net. Medvedev never served-and-volleyed and won 16 of 22 points at the net, coming in only half as often as Djokovic.

Djokovic did a remarkably good job of swinging his slice serve wide in that deuce court to expose Medvedev’s court positioning that was too far behind the baseline. Sometimes Djokovic forced Medvedev into errant forehand returns and in other cases he set up volleys that were relatively simple. When Djokovic did have to play a difficult low volley, he was not found wanting. Arguably he has never volleyed better. He knew precisely what he wanted to do tactically and technically in the final with Medvedev and was rewarded in the end for his flexibility, foundational stability and sound execution.

In the semifinals, Djokovic cut down the fast charging, left-handed, 20-year-old Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4). Shelton had announced himself to the tennis world at large in Australia at the start of the season, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open before losing to countryman Tommy Paul in a four set contest.

After his stirring run in Melbourne, Shelton lost 19 of his next 28 matches— and that includes one Challenger tournament along with all of his ATP Tour appearances. But Shelton was clearly inspired in New York and this time he knocked out both No. 14 seed Tommy Paul and No. 10 Frances Tiafoe. Those triumphs earned him a penultimate round duel with Djokovic.

The No. 2 seed started picking apart the explosive Shelton early on. Shelton had released a pair of 149 MPH thunderbolts against Paul, and he can serve as big as anyone in the game. But he felt against Djokovic that he had to mix it up. He did just that, changing speeds and spins intelligently, trying to not allow the Serbian to know what was coming next.

The strategy failed. From the outset of this semifinal, Djokovic was uncannily prepared for almost every first and second serve that came his way. His returns were often breathtaking, no matter how big the serve, regardless of where they were directed. Djokovic was ready for any kind of serve that came his way. He raced to a 5-2 first set lead and had Shelton down 0-40 in the eighth game. Shelton escaped, saving four set points, holding on with a 140 MPH service winner. Djokovic was down break point in the following game but held on to close out the set 6-3. The eventual champion thoroughly took over in the second set, winning 16 of 23 points on serve, breaking twice, setting the tempo from the backcourt.

When Djokovic took a 4-2 third set lead, he seemed to be cruising to victory. But Shelton found his range off the backhand and lifted his game considerably overall. He broke Djokovic for 4-4, held, and then had a set point with the Serbian serving at 4-5. Djokovic wiped it away emphatically with a 124 MPH service winner. He held on, broke again for 6-5, and had a match point in the twelfth game. But he missed with a forehand down the line wide and two points later netted an overhead. 

Shelton improbably had broken serve for 6-6. Djokovic settled into his usual tie-break mode and took a 5-1 lead. Urged on vociferously by the crowd, Shelton collected three points in a row, but Djokovic was imperturbable. He made it to 6-4 with a neatly executed backhand volley and then took the next point by going to the Shelton forehand and coaxing an error. Djokovic prevailed 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

After that afternoon clash, Medvedev and Alcaraz collided in the evening. The Spaniard had crushed Medvedev twice earlier this season, first in the final of Indian Wells on hard courts, and then in the semifinals of Wimbledon on the grass. The Russian looked so befuddled in those confrontations that it was hard to envision him making inroads against the Spaniard on the hard courts at the Open.

But that is exactly what he did—and so much more. Medvedev was struggling considerably in his first two service games. On his way to 1-1 he served three double faults and was stretched to deuce four times before barely holding on. He was down 15-40 in the fourth game but moved past his difficulties to 2-2. Over his next four service games, Medvedev improved substantially, winning 16 of 20 points. Alcaraz dropped only seven points in his six opening set service games.

They settled the outcome of that set in a tie-break. Medvedev took a mini-break lead at 3-2, but double faulted on the next point. But then Alcaraz netted a drop shot, missed a forehand volley that he would often make, and drove a forehand down the line needlessly into the net. Serving at 6-3, Medvedev hit a forehand winner down the line off a short return. He had swept four points in a row to win the set.

Alcaraz was rattled. He was disconcerted about his play in the tie-break. The loss of that set in such a careless way lingered in the mind of the 20-year-old Wimbledon champion. Medvedev served magnificently in the second set and won 16 of 18 points on his delivery but Alcaraz did not keep up his end of the competitive bargain, losing his serve twice, dropping the set 6-1, performing abysmally when judged by his normally high standards.

And yet, Alcaraz finally broke Medvedev for 3-1 in the fourth as the Russian volleyed tamely on the last two points. Alcaraz made that one break count and took the third set 6-3. He was revving up the crowd and raising his own spirits in the process. At 1-1 in the fourth set, Medvedev dealt with a dangerous moment forthrightly, saving three break points after falling behind 15-40, crucially holding on.

That was one turning point. The next was when Alcaraz served at 2-3. In a seven deuce game which he led 40-15, Alcaraz was broken despite having seven game points at a persistent Medvedev exploited too many serve-and-volley points from the Spaniard. Medvedev was anticipating that tactic and started making low returns that were tough to handle. Alcaraz did not locate his serve nearly as well as Djokovic did in the final.

Alcaraz’s numbers for the match when attacking were reasonably good. He won 54 of 70 net points altogether and succeeded on 31 of 42 serve-and-volley attempts. But he got burned on some big points in the fourth set by being too predictable.

Medvedev served his way to a love hold to reach 5-2 in the fourth, closing out that seventh game with an ace out wide. But, serving for the match two games later, he rushed and put himself in a precarious position. He came from 15-40 down to reach match point but double faulted on the next two points. Down break point for the third time, he was very lucky when his short forehand landed on the sideline and Alcaraz mismanaged it, sending a backhand down the line long. Medvedev needed four match points but he got himself across the finish line despite some unnecessary tension, celebrating his biggest match victory of the season by upending Alcaraz 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

In fact, Medvedev played well the entire tournament. He dropped one set to the Australian Chris O’Connell in the second round and then had to come from behind in the fourth round to defeat Alex De Minaur 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. That was a noteworthy victory because the Australian had beaten Medvedev the last two times they played. In the quarterfinals, Medvedev handled his countryman and No. 8 seed Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals despite trailing 3-0 in the first set, 3-1 in the second and 4-2 in the third. That match was played in Arthur Ashe Stadium on an oppressive afternoon. At one point Medvedev understandably complained, “Someone is going to die out here.” 

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That’s why it was such a good thing for the players and the fans that the final rounds were played under the roof. The air conditioning made a big difference for the players who had been toweling themselves off between points incessantly.

As for Djokovic and his pathway through the tournament, he won six of his seven matches in straight sets. But he did have an ordeal of sorts when he played countryman Laslo Djere in the third round at night. The No. 32 seed was hardly missing a ball while taking a two set lead. He had more patience than Djokovic and was exploiting every opportunity he had. Djokovic missed chances in the early games of this match. He had 40-30 on serve in the first game but was broken. Then he squandered break points in Djere’s first two service games. Before he knew it, that set was gone. Djere hardly put a foot out of line for two sets.

But Djokovic took a bathroom break after that second set, returned to the court revitalized, and swept through the third set swiftly. He eventually was victorious 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. It was a draining battle which was tougher than the score indicates. Djokovic even faced a break point in the last game of the match. But he managed to come back from two sets to love down for the eighth time in his career, and lifted his career record in five set matches to 38-11.

In any event, some space must be reserved for the best match of the tournament. That was No. 12 seed Sascha Zverev’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over No. 6 seed Jannik Sinner in the fourth round. Sinner was cramping by the third set but battled on courageously, and Zverev looked spent in the fourth set. Be that as it may, Zverev never lost his serve in a magnificently played fifth set to secure the win. He lost in straight sets to Alcaraz but the German competitor is well on his way back to the top of his game. By reaching the quarters in New York, Zverev returned to the top ten in the world, which is where he surely belongs.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is back where he belongs at No. 1 in the world for the 390th week in his career. He stands a decent chance of concluding 2023 at the top. If he manages to realize that extraordinary feat, it would be the eighth time he has finished a season at No. 1. Pete Sampras ended six years (in a row) at the top while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal did it five times.

Djokovic has now appeared in 72 career Grand Slam tournaments, winning a third (24) of them. He has been to the final in half of those championships (36). He now is the only man ever to win three majors in four different years (2011, 2015, 2021 and 2023). He has been victorious in seven of the last ten majors he has played since the start of 2021. He has also won 12 of his 24 majors during his thirties, and has secured 96 tournaments titles altogether. He is the oldest man ever to win the U.S. Open, taking that distinction away from the evergreen Ken Rosewall, who was the champion at Forest Hills in 1970 at 35.

Despite his multitude of successes, the 36-year-old Djokovic somehow remains eager to accomplish more in the coming year and beyond. The guess here is that he will play through 2025, add at least three or four more majors to his shining collection, and keep soaring through history on a singular path. There will never definitively be a player who stands alone indisputably as the greatest of all time. That issue will always be passionately debated by those in the know, with differing views among the cognoscenti. But this much is certain: Novak Djokovic’s name will always be at the center of that conversation.

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‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing



Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open. 


Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.

“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”

The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou. 

On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match. 
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”

Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood. 

“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”

Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder. 

Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matches

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In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player. 

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level. 
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023. 

Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win. 

Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



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Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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