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Preview: Djokovic, Tsitsipas & The Biggest Mountain At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2021

After two emotional, career-redefining semi-final victories – and two dramatic, action-packed weeks in Paris – it will be 18-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic taking on Greece’s first major finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas for the Coupe des Mousquetaires crown at Roland Garros.

Fifth seed Tsitsipas broke new ground on the terre battue after fighting for three hours and 37 minutes against Alexander Zverev, claiming a hard-fought win in five sets 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 to reach his first Grand Slam final. But while Djokovic played fewer sets, he undoubtedly had the bigger mountain to climb in order to defeat 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal.

It was kind of like climbing Mt. Everest, the 2016 champion said afterward. Djokovic’s four-set comeback became an instant classic after he rallied to win in four hours and 22 minutes 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 to hand Nadal his third defeat in 108 matches at Stade Roland-Garros.

“Each time you step on the court with him, you know that you have to kind of climb Mt. Everest to win against this guy here,” Djokovic said. “I won only once in our eight matches that we ever played in Chatrier here in Roland Garros. I tried to take some positives and some cues from that match in 2015 that I won against him to implement tonight, which worked out very nicely.

“It’s just one of these matches that I really will remember for a very long time.”

By advancing to the final, Djokovic also claimed sole ownership of the second place on the all-time list for most Grand Slam men’s singles finals reached, ahead of Nadal.

Most Grand Slam Men’s Singles Final Appearances (all-time)

Player No. of Appearances
 Roger Federer   31
 Novak Djokovic  29
 Rafael Nadal  28
 Ivan Lendl  19
 Pete Sampras  18

After a draining semi-final epic, how much does Djokovic have left in the tank? The toll of taking down Nadal on his home turf has spelled a bad omen for the few who have accomplished it: no one who has defeated Nadal at Roland Garros has gone on to win the title. 

It’s a fact Djokovic himself knows all too well: after achieving the feat in the 2015 quarter-finals, he went on to lose to Stan Wawrinka in the championship match. And Robin Soderling, who defeated Nadal in 2009, was also eventually halted in the final by Roger Federer.

“It’s not the first time that I play an epic semifinal in a Grand Slam and then I have to come back in less than 48 hours and play [a] final,” Djokovic assured. “My recovery abilities are pretty good, I must say, throughout my career. 

“Obviously my physiotherapist will try to do everything possible so I can be fresh. Because I played enough tennis, I don’t need to train too much. It’s really now just about taking things slowly until the day of the final.”

If Djokovic can find a way to hit the reset button and lift his second Roland Garros trophy, the ramifications could be huge – for Djokovic, for the Big Three’s rivalry, and for the fate of the year-end No. 1 FedEx Ranking. 

A triumph on Sunday would lift Djokovic to 19 Grand Slam titles and make him the first man in the Open Era – and only the third in history – to win every major title twice. Aussies Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only two men in the sport who have won each Grand Slam twice.

Not only would that write another stunning chapter in the tennis history books, it also means that by Wimbledon, Djokovic could be closing in on title No. 20 and locking in a three-way tie for the all-time record for most Grand Slam singles titles with Nadal and Federer.  

Read More: Djokovic Dethrones Nadal After Roland Garros Epic

Djokovic, who extended his stay at No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings this fortnight, can also eye a major move in the race for year-end No. 1 – which will be based solely on FedEx ATP Race To Turin points this year. Tsitsipas and Djokovic sit in first and second position, respectively, but that could potentially change as Sunday’s winner will be the Race leader. 

Should Tsitsipas win, his lead over Djokovic and the rest of the field will grow by 800 points, putting him 990 points clear of the second position. But should Djokovic win, he would be in pole position for a record-breaking seventh Year-End No. 1 finish – ending his tie with Pete Sampras, who finished at the top of the Rankings for six years in a row between 1993-98. 

Conventional wisdom says the Serbian’s long experience in championship matches will give him the edge over Tsitsipas. After all, the 18-time Grand Slam champion has already competed in 28 major finals, while this will be Tsitsipas’ – and Greece’s – first shot at major glory.

Most Grand Slam men’s singles final appearances (active players)

Player  No. of Appearances
 Federer   31 
 Djokovic  29 
 Nadal  28 
 Murray  11
 Wawrinka, Thiem   4
 Cilic  3
 Anderson, del Potro, Medvedev   2

 Nishikori, Raonic,
 Tsonga, Tsitsipas, Zverev 


Djokovic also leads the ATP Head2Head against Tsitsipas by a healthy 5-2 margin. But the signs have been coming together for Tsitsipas, even as he trails in their 3-0 clay-court Head2Head.  

Both of their most recent clay-court meetings have been lengthy battles, including their clash in the quarter-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia last month. Djokovic had to rally from a set down as Tsitsipas served for the match at 5-4 in the third set en route to a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win. At Roland Garros last year, Tsitsipas willed himself to a higher level after dropping the first two sets against Djokovic, pushing his opponent to the limit in their 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 battle. 

Regardless of the tale of the tape, Tsitsipas won’t be the same player that Djokovic faced less than a year ago at this venue – and Djokovic knows it. 

“I know what I need to do. Obviously Tsitsipas, [his] first time in the finals of a Grand Slam. For him it’s a great achievement, but I’m sure he doesn’t want to stop there,” Djokovic said. “He’s in great form. He leads [the] Race rankings, this year. He’s had his best results overall. I think he matured as a player a lot. Clay [is] arguably his best surface.

“We played an epic five-setter last year in the semis here. I know it’s going to be another tough one. I’m hoping I can recharge my batteries as much as I can because I’m going to need some power and energy for that one.”


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A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)

While Djokovic recharges, Tsitsipas will try to recenter himself after pulling off the biggest victory of his career to reach the championship match a Grand Slam for the first time. The normally passionate Greek player has been totally serene throughout the fortnight – but after his mammoth five-setter against Zverev, he let the emotions flow out as he reflected on his historic achievement. 

“All I can think of is my roots,” said Tsitsipas, as tears welled in his eyes during an on-court interview. “I come from a really small place outside of Athens. My dream was to play here and I would never have thought I would achieve it…”

“It was nerve-wracking, so intense, I stayed alive. I went out there and fought. This win means a lot, it’s the most important one of my career so far.”

In his post-match press conference, Tsitsipas elaborated: “It’s reflecting back to the past. Roland Garros has been a historical tournament. It has been an event that I’ve been watching since I was little. My coach, it has been his favourite tournament. I grew up with him. It’s a tournament that we always followed, we always watched. I was mostly emotional for putting myself in that position… For sure that’s the first step. I haven’t finalised it yet.”

That ‘yet’ and that ‘so far’ in his responses are indicative of Tsitsipas’ change in mentality, which has been evident throughout the fortnight and beyond as the Greek player racked up victory after victory. 

In Paris, Tsitsipas stayed calm as he scaled his own ‘mountains’ – whether down a set and break points to 31st seed John Isner in the third round, or after losing the third and fourth sets to a zoned-in Zverev in the semi-finals. His never-say-die mentality and calm execution have led him to a tour-leading 39 victories on the season, including 22 clay-court wins.

Read More: Tsitsipas Reaches First Major Final, Beats Zverev In Five Sets

“I’m someone who fights. I was not willing to give up yet,” Tsitsipas said of his semi-final recovery. “I think I did [a] few things right that worked in my favor. I was still alive. I was still able to come back to the match. 

“I was trying to be in a good relationship with myself and get encouraged and push forward for something good to happen. I knew I was not done at that point, I had more to give… All I had to do was put in the concentration.”

Stefanos Tsistipas, Novak Djokovic
Tsitsipas and Djokovic faced off at last year’s Roland Garros, with the World No. 1 claiming a five-set victory. Photo Credit: Thomas Samson/Getty Images

But can Tsitsipas stay focussed against the World No. 1, across five grueling sets, to claim the biggest win of his career – for the second match in a row? The Greek will be bidding for only his second in against a World No. 1 in 10 attempts. Thankfully for Tsitsipas, that one previous win came against Djokovic himself, at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Shanghai back in 2019. 

Back then, Tsitsipas had just turned 21 and was in the midst of his breakthrough season, during which he won the Nitto ATP Finals and rose to a career-high World No. 5 ranking. Now approaching 23, Tsitsipas is sending the message that he’s firmly settled into his place in the sport’s upper echelons. 

Tsitsipas has already guaranteed himself a new career-high of World No. 4 by breaking his three-match semi-final losing streak and advancing to the championship match. He could go as high as No. 3 with a win over Djokovic, overtaking Nadal in the FedEx ATP Rankings.  


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At 22 years 305 days, Tsitsipas is also one win away from becoming the youngest Grand Slam singles men’s champion since Juan Martin del Potro (20 years, 355 days) won the 2009 US Open, and the youngest Roland Garros men’s champion since Nadal (20 years, 5 days) won the title here in 2008. 

But age, rankings, records and statistics… Those are just numbers to Tsitsipas, who vowed to play every point with everything he’s got when he faces Djokovic on Chatrier.

“I’ve never believed, have never really thought at what age that achievement might come, but I’m really happy with myself,” Tsitsipas reflected. “I think I’ve shown good discipline so far. I’ve been progressive. 

“I’m looking forward on leaving my entire body on the court.”

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Herbert/Mahut Win Roland Garros Men's Doubles Title

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2021

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut fought back from a set and a break down at 4-5 to overcome Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev and claim their second Roland Garros title on Saturday.

The home favourites, who were backed heavily on Court Philippe-Chatrier, won 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes as they became the first all-French team to triumph at the clay-court Grand Slam twice. It is their fifth Grand Slam title overall, with the team having won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open titles once.

After an even start, the Kazakhstanis, who were aiming to become the first male players from their country to win a Grand Slam title in any discipline, won three games in a row from 2-2, breaking the 2018 Roland Garros champions twice to move 5-2 ahead. Although the French tandem did close to 4-5, Bublik and Golubev held serve to clinch the set as they won 80 per cent (16/20) of their first service points.

Despite being broken at the start of the second, the Kazakhstanis continued to return well, claiming 40 per cent (8/20) of points on Herbert and Mahut’s first-serve, as they won four of the next five games to lead 5-4. However, the pair, who were competing in their second Grand Slam together after reaching the third round at the Australian Open in February (l. to Arevalo/Middelkoop), could not close out from deuce while serving. Herbert and Mahut then dominated the tie-break to force the match into a decider.

From there, the experience of the French pair showed, as they saved both break points they faced before taking their opportunity to move 4-3 ahead in the decider. Herbert and Mahut, who dominated around the net during the contest, went on to close out the victory on serve for their 18th title together.

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A Deep Dive Into Djokovic And Tsitsipas' Rivalry

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2021

On Sunday in Paris, Novak Djokovic will look to raise his 19th Grand Slam title when he takes on first-time major finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Roland Garros final.

Djokovic enters the showdown on the heels of an impressive four-set win over 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, while Tsitsipas managed to subdue Alexander Zverev in five sets. Both Djokovic and Tsitsipas have been playing some of their best clay-court tennis this season and, if their history is any indication, Sunday’s final should be a highly competitive one.

World No. 1 Djokovic sits atop the FedEx ATP Rankings and, with a win, can take first place from Tsitsipas in the calendar-year FedEx ATP Race To Turin, which this year will determine the coveted year-end World No. 1 title after the Nitto ATP Finals.

Sunday will mark Djokovic’s sixth Roland Garros final. He won the title in 2016 and if he can triumph again Sunday he will become the first man in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam twice. (He has won the Australian Open nine times, Wimbledon five times and the US Open three times.)

Djokovic leads their ATP Head2Head Series 5-2, with his two losses coming on hard courts in Toronto in 2018 and in Shanghai in 2019. Djokovic has won all three of their clay-court meetings and they’ve played best-of-five sets just once, at Roland Garros last year.

Below, reflects on four of their seven meetings that have gone the distance.

National Bank Open Presented by Rogers 2018: Tstisipas def. Djokovic 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3
The summer of 2018 was Tsitsipas’ breakthrough when he established himself as a true threat at the top echelon of the game. At the time, the Greek was on the cusp of leaving his teens and ranked No. 27 in the world.

His third-round win over Djokovic in Toronto was a huge turning point and it proved to the world that Tsitsipas had the skillset to beat anyone. He’d go all the way to the final of the ATP Masters 1000 that year (l. to Nadal). Closing out the season by winning the NextGen ATP Finals trophy in Milan further set Tstisipas up for bigger and better things in 2019.

Rolex Shanghai Masters 2019: Tstisipas def. Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
While Djokovic was ranked No. 1 at the time, Tstisipas was playing some of his best tennis ever in the fall of 2019. The comeback win over the Serbian in quarter-finals of Shanghai would clinch Tsitsipas’ place in the Nitto ATP Finals in London and mark Tsitsipas’ first win over a World No. 1.

A few weeks later, Tsitsipas would surprise many by winning the season finale for his biggest title yet. He’d finish the year inside of the Top 10 for the first time.

Roland Garros 2020: Djokovic def. Tstisipas, 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1

In the semi-finals of Roland Garros in October, Djokovic had full control over Tsitsipas by leading two sets to love and holding a match point in the third set. Instead of running away with the win, the 34-year-old let the Greek back in the match.

Initially, the Serbian’s defense and court coverage was too much for Tsitsipas, who was pressured to go for riskier shots. Instead of slipping away in the third set, Tsitsipas dug in and began firing more consistently, particularly off his backhand wing, to get himself back in the match. Despite the drama, Djokovic never looked like he was down and stayed calm to run away with the fifth set. He would hit 56 winners for his 37th win in 38 matches. 

It was just Tsitsipas’ second major semi-final appearance, while a fatigued Djokovic would come up flat against Nadal in the final, losing in straight sets.

Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2021: Djokovic def. Tstitsipas 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
This year’s clay-court swing has been Tsitsipas’ best showing ever. The World No. 5 picked up his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and added a second clay crown in Lyon, leading the tour with 39 wins in 2021.

Despite all of that red-hot momentum, Djokovic managed to subdue him in Rome on his way to the final for his fourth win in a row over the Greek. Due to rain, their semi-final battle played out across two days, and Tsitsipas twice led by a break in the deciding set, even serving for the match at 5-4.

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Berrettini, Murray Seek To Make Their Mark At Queen’s Club; All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2021

The ATP Tour returns to London next week, with World No. 9 Matteo Berrettini making his debut at the cinch Championships, an ATP 500 grass-court tournament. The Italian, who reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic), faces compatriot Stefano Travaglia in the first round.

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray will be back in action after accepting a wild card into the event. Murray became the first player to win five Queen’s Club titles (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015-16), separating himself from the elite group of players who have won four Queen’s Club crowns, including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick. Murray will face top seed Berrettini in the second round if he overcomes Benoit Paire first.

The Brit, who last played singles in Rotterdam this March, will also be joined by second seed Denis Shapovalov, who begins against a qualifier. The 22-year-old Canadian is in the same half as #NextGenATP star Jannik Sinner, with the two projected to meet in the semi-finals. Sinner faces British wild card Jack Draper in the first round.
Also competing is reigning singles and doubles champion Feliciano Lopez, with the Spaniard starting against Filip Krajinovic, while two-time titlist Marin Cilic will play a qualifier.

Established: 1890

Tournament Dates: 14-20 June 2021

Tournament Director: Luiz Procopio Carvalho

Draw Ceremony Saturday, 12 June

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)

* Qualifying: Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 June at 11:00am
* Main draw: Monday 14 – Sunday 20 June at 12:00pm
* Doubles final: Sunday, 20 June at TBA
* Singles final: Sunday, 20 June at TBA

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

Tickets: More Information On Official Website
The Queen’s Club

Prize Money: €1,290,135 (Total Financial Commitment: €1,427,455)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown 

Honour Roll (Open Era)
Most Titles, Singles: Andy Murray (5)
Most Titles, Doubles: Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Mark Woodforde, Todd Woodbridge (5)
Oldest Champion: Feliciano Lopez, 37 in 2019
Youngest Champion: Boris Becker, 17, in 1985
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 1 Ivan Lendl in 1989-90, No. 1 Stefan Edberg in 1991, No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 113 Feliciano Lopez in 2019
Most Match Wins: John McEnroe (42)
Last Home Champion: Andy Murray in 2016

2019 Finals
Singles: Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2, 6-7(4,)7-6(2)  Read More
Doubles: Feliciano Lopez (ESP) / Andy Murray (GBR) d Rajeev Ram (USA) / Joe Salisbury (GBR) 7-6(6), 5-7, [10-5]  Read More


Hashtag: #cinchChampionships
Facebook: @QueensTennis
Twitter: @QueensTennis
Instagram: @cinchchampionships

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Felix Flies Into Stuttgart Final; Faces Cilic

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime’s love affair with the MercedesCup continued as he overcame Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5 to reach an eighth ATP Tour final and second consecutive title match in Stuttgart.

The third-seeded Canadian, who lost to Matteo Berrettini in the 2019 final, did not face a break point as he hit seven aces to advance in 80 minutes against the American. The #NextGenATP star has not lost a set this week on the grass in Stuttgart and is now 17-11 on the season.

In an opening set that went with serve, Auger-Aliassime converted his first break point to find the decisive break at 5-4 and clinch the set. The second set followed a similar pattern, with the 20-year-old winning 89% (16/18) of his first-service points before taking his one opportunity on Querrey’s serve at 6-5 to close out the match.


Auger-Aliassime will go in search of his first ATP title against Marin Cilic on Sunday. The Croatian, who is currently No. 47 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, won the opening set against Jurij Rodionov 6-3 before the Austrian wild card was forced to retire due to injury at 0-1 in the second set.

“I am feeling really good and very excited to be in the final after quite a period that I didn’t reach a final. I think this was a very positive week, I have played good tennis, served really well. Considering it is a shorter season, with one week less, for me, it was great to play this week. Losing in Paris to Roger Federer gave me more time to prepare for the grass,” Cilic said.

Cilic has had his son and wife with him this week in Germany and it is something that the former US Open champion has loved.

“I haven’t enjoyed being at a tournament this much in a long period of time, because it is the first time my son, wife and I are together at one tournament. The set up in Stuttgart is really nice, there is a lot of grass and open space around the hotel for my son to play and it is so much fun having them around,” Cilic said.

The World No. 142 Rodionov was bidding to become the lowest-ranked Stuttgart finalist since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990.

Cilic didn’t drop a first-service point (13/13) in the first set as he improved to a 33-26 record in semi-finals. The 32-year-old is looking to claim his first title since winning the cinch Championships in 2018. He leads Auger-Aliassime 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head Series with this their first meeting on grass.

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