Tennis News

From around the world

Djokovic Left Speechless After Passing Idol Sampras' Slam Mark

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Djokovic Left Speechless After Passing Idol Sampras’ Slam Mark

World No. 1 wins 15th major to move into third on the all-time list

In 1993, Novak Djokovic was in Kopaonik, a city in the mountains of southern Serbia. Nobody in his family had ever touched a tennis racquet. But he remembers at six years old watching Pete Sampras clinch his first Wimbledon title.

Tennis might not have been in Djokovic’s blood, but witnessing that moment planted a dream in his mind. How cool would it be to do that one day?

Sampras tallied 14 Grand Slam titles, making him the all-time leader in major trophies when he retired in 2002. But seventeen years later, Djokovic’s dream has become more than a reality. The Serbian dominated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the Australian Open final on Sunday evening to claim his 15th Slam victory, surpassing Sampras to move into third on the all-time list.

You May Also Like: Djokovic Masterclass Seals Record Seventh Australian Open Crown

“It was definitely a sign of destiny to start playing tennis, to aspire to be as good as Pete,” Djokovic said, reflecting on watching the American as a child. “To surpass him with Grand Slam titles, I’m speechless.”

But that’s not the only history the World No. 1 made with his stunning performance against the second seed. Djokovic now stands alone in the record books with seven Australian Open victories, breaking a tie with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson. After the match, Djokovic met with a host of Aussie legends — Emerson, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Frank Sedgman — who congratulated him on his triumph.


“Mr. Emerson said he’s pissed with me because I broke his record,” Djokovic said, cracking a smile. “It was the most beautiful, most expensive photo of the night, without a doubt, standing with those four legends… I’ll definitely cherish that forever.”

It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, Djokovic was at perhaps his lowest low. A vexing right elbow injury forced the right-hander to undergo surgery after a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open. And by May, he owned just a 6-6 record for the season, at one point losing three matches in a row. That was something he had not done in more than a decade.

But ironically, Djokovic’s breakthrough came against Nadal in a five-set classic in the Wimbledon semi-finals. That, as he has said, was the turning point. Djokovic would emerge victorious at SW19, complete his Career Golden Masters in Cincinnati, lift the US Open trophy and now he has returned to the Melbourne pedestal.

Djokovic is very much back on top of the tennis world. And on Monday, he will hold a 2,635-point lead over No. 2 Nadal in the ATP Rankings. One can argue this Australian Open was his most impressive performance during his comeback. The final was his 22nd FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal that lasted at least three completed sets. And of all those clashes, this was the shortest. Djokovic struck just nine unforced errors under the utmost pressure to defeat Nadal in just two hours and four minutes. The Spaniard had not lost a set entering the championship match.

Watch ATP Uncovered: Sampras On Djokovic

“It ranks right at the top. Under the circumstances, playing against Nadal, such an important match, yeah, I mean, it’s amazing,” Djokovic said. “I always believe I can play this way, visualise myself playing this way. At this level, as I said, under the circumstances, it was truly a perfect match.”

For now, Djokovic will relish the moment. But while the Serbian admits they remain far away, Nadal’s 17 Grand Slams and Federer’s 20 are well within reach. 

“I am aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special. Of course, it motivates me. Playing Grand Slams, the biggest ATP events, is my utmost priority in this season and in seasons to come,” Djokovic said.

“I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game and maintaining the overall well-being that I have mentally, physically, emotionally, so I will be able to compete at such a high level for the years to come, and have a shot at eventually getting closer to Roger’s record.” 


Last year, Djokovic left Melbourne after a shocking loss. This time, he departs after an exhilarating victory.

“I wasn’t playing well, I wasn’t feeling good on the court, I was questioning everything, I was doubting whether I will be able to play everyone on this level because I didn’t know to what extent the operation of my elbow would affect my game.

“It was a huge learning curve for me, just the whole process was very special. I embraced the journey. I am very grateful to go through it. I would never change anything if I could turn back the time because things are just the way they should be.”

At the end of the day, this was all once just a dream. Djokovic was a little boy in Serbia, with no tennis ties in his family, watching Sampras on television. Now Djokovic is the star that children throughout the world are watching through their screens, dreaming of becoming like him one day.

“I just have to be conscious of that and understand that I’m blessed.”

Source link

Brain Game: As Nadal Looked Right, Djokovic Attacked Left

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Brain Game: As Nadal Looked Right, Djokovic Attacked Left

Serbian broke down one of Rafa’s best assets

Unleash on the strength. Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Australian Open Sunday evening by doing exactly what conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t do – play to your opponent’s best shot.

It should be a misprint, but Nadal, who had won 59 per cent of his baseline points coming into the final, only won 29.5 per cent (26/88) of his baseline points against the Super Serbian. Djokovic completely dismantled Nadal’s baseline game by going hard after his forehand.

Nadal had hit 100 forehand winners and 116 forehand errors to the final, but that ratio didn’t hold true against the World No. 1 on Sunday night at Melbourne Park. Nadal struck 11 forehand winners in the final, but committed 28 forehand errors as Djokovic constantly played wide through the Ad court to attack Nadal’s running forehand.

You May Also Like: Social Media Reacts To Djokovic’s Record 7th Australian Open Title

The theory is simple. Nadal is the best player in the world at running around his backhand in the Deuce court and upgrading to a more potent forehand. With Nadal always looking to protect to the right, Djokovic attacked to the left.

Superb from the Serbian. The first step was to break the forehand down. Then it was to double down on an overloaded backhand. Nadal had 33 backhand winners in six matches to the final, but struck just three against Djokovic while committing 21 errors.

Step two accomplished. It’s exactly the same demolition sequence at every level of our sport. Break down the forehand, then the backhand, and the serve will quickly become overheated.

Nadal made just 64 per cent first serves in the final, compared to 69 per cent leading into it. Nadal had won 81 per cent of first-serve points to the final, but that fell off a cliff to just 51 per cent against Djokovic.

If you can break down the forehand, the backhand, and then the serve, the match sits on a platter for the taking. Everywhere Nadal turned, he found a Serbian brick wall. The Spaniard was -14 in short rallies of zero-to-four shots against Djokovic, and -15 in the longer rallies of nine-plus.

Short didn’t work, and neither did long. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he had nowhere to turn to to formulate a winning plan.

Rally Length – 2019 Australian Open Final
0-4 Shots = Djokovic 49 / Nadal 35 (Djokovic +14)
5-8 Shots = Djokovic 18 / Nadal 11 (Djokovic +7)
9+ Shots = Djokovic 22 / Nadal 7 (Djokovic +15)

The average rally length for the final was 5.03 shots, with Djokovic taking the honours everywhere you looked. He faced only one break point in the final, which he saved, while Nadal faced eight, losing five of them.

What bites hard for the Spaniard is that he made four first serves on the five break break points he lost, highlighting how Djokovic consistently turned defence into offence in the final.

Nadal had been dominant against second serves to the final, including winning a dominant 70 per cent against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals. That number fell off a cliff in the final, as the Spaniard won only three of 19 second-serve points against Djokovic.

It’s now three Slams in a row, and the clock is still running.

Editor’s Note: Craig O’Shannessy is a member of Novak Djokovic‘s coaching team.

Source link

In pictures: Djokovic's record seven Melbourne titles

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

After Novak Djokovic claims a historic seventh title at the Australian Open, BBC Sport takes a look at his successes over the years.

The Serb’s 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory over great rival Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s Melbourne showpiece took him clear of six-time men’s winners Roy Emerson and Roger Federer.

He has equalled the overall Open era record for Australian Open singles titles, with American Serena Williams having won the women’s title seven times.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic claimed his 15th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Sunday

Source link

Nadal Positive After Djokovic Final Loss In Melbourne

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Nadal Positive After Djokovic Final Loss In Melbourne

Spaniard reflects on final run at the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal may have fallen short in his bid to become the first man to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice in the Open Era, but the Spaniard remained upbeat after his straight-sets loss to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.

The 2009 champion had advanced to his fifth Australian Open championship match (1-4) in fine form, winning each of his six previous matches in straight sets to advance to his seventh Grand Slam final without dropping a set. But the 17-time Grand Slam winner proved no match for Djokovic, who captured a record-breaking seventh Australian Open crown after two hours and four minutes.

“I had a great two weeks, being honest, I can’t be sad,” said Nadal. “[It would] be not fair to be sad. I played against a player that today was better than me. [There is] no doubt about that. That’s all… [These] have been two positive weeks.

“The only thing, probably, that I need is time and more matches. My feeling was I have been always in offensive positions during [these] two weeks, during six matches. Today, I knew that would not happen. Of course, he played better than during the rest of the tournament… Playing that well, it is so difficult for everybody… when he plays that level, it is so difficult to fight for victories against him.”

Nadal was full of praise for the World No. 1, who commited just nine unforced errors throughout the match to lift his third straight Grand Slam trophy. Djokovic now owns a 28-25 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the Spaniard, who was aiming to close the gap on Roger Federer in the all-time list for most Grand Slam titles. Last year at Melbourne Park, Federer lifted his 20th major trophy with a five-set win over Marin Cilic.

“Of course, he played fantastic,” said Nadal. “At the same time, it is true that when he is playing that way, I think I need something else. I was not able to have that extra thing tonight.

“It was unbelievable the way that he played, no doubt about that. But at the same time it is true that probably physically I was not able. I played fantastic tennis during both weeks, but probably playing that well, I didn’t suffer much during both weeks. Five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else.”

You May Also Like: Djokovic Masterclass Seals Record Seventh Australian Open Crown

The Australian Open marked Nadal’s long-awaited return to tour-level action, following knee and abdomen injuries, as well as ankle surgery, after his US Open semi-final retirement against Juan Martin del Potro in September 2018. Nadal had originally planned to open his 2019 ATP Tour season at the Brisbane International, but a left thigh strain forced the 32-year-old to withdraw from the tournament and arrive in Melbourne with no tour-level match practice.

“I practised well, very well I think, but because of the things that happened to me in terms of surgery… I was not able to work that much [on my] defensive game,” said Nadal. “I worked a lot on the offensive game, but not that much on the defensive game.

“To play against a player like him, playing the way he played tonight, I needed that defensive game to finally have the chance to be offensive. When he was hitting, it is true that maybe it was difficult to beat him even if I was at my 100 per cent. But, probably, it will be a little bit more [of a] fight.”

With the past five months taken into consideration, Nadal will now look ahead to the rest of the 2019 ATP Tour season with a positive outlook on his ability to compete for the biggest titles in the sport. The former World No. 1 will take some time to consider his schedule in the coming months, with plans in place to return to action at the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco.

“From my side [I am] very happy, [I have a] big personal satisfaction about the two weeks, you can’t imagine… I have been going through very tough moments… Even if tonight was not my day, because the opponent played too good, and I was not ready to face that level tonight. But I believe that I can be ready in a couple of months if I am able to keep practising and to keep competing at that level.”

Source link

Social Media Reacts To Djokovic's Record 7th Australian Open Title

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Social Media Reacts To Djokovic’s Record 7th Australian Open Title

Stars commend Djokovic on his victory at Melbourne Park

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made history on Sunday, defeating Rafael Nadal in straight sets to win his record seventh Australian Open title. The Serbian previously shared the tournament record for most trophies with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson. It is also Djokovic’s 15th Grand Slam victory, passing Pete Sampras for third on the all-time list. Fellow players, athletes and others took to social media to congratulate the top seed on his triumph.

You May Also Like: Djokovic Masterclass Seals Record Seventh Australian Open Crown

Source link

Djokovic thrashes Nadal to win record seventh Australian Open title

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Novak Djokovic won a record seventh Australian Open title and a third successive Grand Slam as he swept aside Rafael Nadal in Melbourne.

The Serb broke the Spaniard’s serve five times – and was rarely troubled on his own – in a 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory.

Second seed Nadal, 32, looked rattled by the world number one’s intensity and made 28 unforced errors.

Djokovic, 31, won in two hours and four minutes to move clear of six-time men’s winners Roy Emerson and Roger Federer.

A forehand winner down the line brought up two championship points, Djokovic taking the second when Nadal clubbed a backhand long.

Djokovic fell to his knees after sealing another triumph on Rod Laver Arena, smacking the court with both hands and screaming towards the sky.

The reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion claimed his 15th Grand Slam title, moving him outright third ahead of American Pete Sampras in the all-time list, closing in on Switzerland’s Federer (20) and Nadal (17).

Djokovic has now won 13 of his past 16 meetings with Nadal, who has not beaten the Serb on a hard court since the US Open final in 2013.

He leads 28-25 in their record 53 meetings between two male players.

Djokovic continued his fine record of going on to win the tournament every time he has reached the semi-finals, while Nadal lost for a fourth time in the Melbourne showpiece.

The result meant the 2009 winner was unable to become the first man in the Open era to win all the Grand Slams at least twice.

More to follow.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Follow the Australian Open on BBC TV, radio and online
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Source link

Live Updates: Djokovic vs. Nadal

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Live Updates: Djokovic vs. Nadal provides live updates of the 2019 Australian Open final

Seven years ago, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal battled for five hours and 53 minutes on Rod Laver Arena in the Australian Open final. That clash remains the longest Grand Slam final in history, as well as the longest match of both players’ careers. There were 369 points played, 11 breaks of serve, classic rallies and barely a blink of an eye.

But there wasn’t only one winner. Djokovic may have emerged victorious from the match, lifting his third of what is now six Norman Brookes Challenge Cups in his trophy case. Nadal showed his fighting spirit and champion’s grit, leaving everything on the court as he always does. But tennis was the true winner that day. And the same should be the case on Sunday, as the pair faces off in what promises to be another all-time classic.

“These are the kind of matches that you live for, finals of Slams, playing the greatest rivals at their best,” Djokovic said. “What more can you ask for? This is where you want to be.”

Djokovic is trying to win his record seventh Australian Open title (tied w/Federer & Emerson with six) and claim his third consecutive major for the third time. The Serbian can also break a tie with Pete Sampras for the third-most Slam titles all-time, as they both own 14. Nadal is trying to become the first player in the Open Era to clinch the career Grand Slam twice. He can also earn his 18th major crown to move within two titles of Roger Federer’s record 20.

“We push each other to the limit of our tennis level,” Nadal said. “Tomorrow is going to be another episode.

“I think I found solutions against Novak during all my career, and he found solutions against me. It’s always about moments. In his best moments, he’s so difficult to beat. In my best moments, I have been a tough opponent, too.”


While Djokovic and Nadal have met 52 times in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series — more than any other pair of players in history — the 2012 final was their lone match at the Australian Open. So with that epic in mind, there is plenty of anticipation as top-seeded Djokovic and 2009 champion Nadal get set for their eighth Grand Slam final match-up.

For the seventh time, Nadal is into a major championship match without dropping a set. On each of the previous six occasions, the Spaniard has gone on to lift the trophy.

Tennis Radio

That may be mildly surprising considering Nadal arrived at Melbourne Park without competing since last year’s US Open semi-final, in which he retired due to injury. The World No. 2’s longest match by time came in the third round, in which he beat #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes.

His most impressive performance, however, came in the semi-finals. Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas entered the last four straight off back-to-back wins against six-time Melbourne titlist Roger Federer and in-form Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. But Nadal lost just six games against the Greek to advance to his fifth final at the year’s first Grand Slam.

“He has played impressively well throughout the entire tournament. He hasn’t dropped a set. He looked as good as ever on the hard court throughout these few weeks,” Djokovic said. “I haven’t played bad myself [my] past couple matches. I think that this final comes at the right time for both of us. I’m sure we’re going to have a blast on the court.”


Djokovic had lost two sets heading into his semi-final against Pouille. But the Serbian took notice of Nadal’s performance on Thursday evening and produced his best effort of the fortnight on Friday, dropping just four games. It was just the seventh time in the Open Era that a man had lost four games or less in a major semi-final.

Was he trying to concede fewer games than Nadal?

“Yes. It was hard to do that, but somehow I managed [it],” Djokovic said, cracking a smile.

Read: 10 Fast Facts Ahead Of The Australian Open Final

As always, it will be fascinating to watch the baseline battles between the pair. Nadal, using his recently-tweaked serve with success during the tournament to take control earlier in rallies, will look to take a crack as early in points and as far inside the court as possible. On the other side, Djokovic will use his pretzel-like flexibility to neutralise those attacks and step into the court. It never gets tiresome to see cross-court rallies between Nadal’s forehand and Djokovic’s backhand, two of the best shots in the sport.

Take The ATP Djokovic-Nadal Rivalry Quiz

This time last year, Djokovic was struggling with a right elbow injury, one that forced him to undergo a procedure after the Australian Open. The Serbian would start 2018 with a 6-6 record. But after winning Wimbledon, completing his Career Golden Masters at Cincinnati and triumphing at the US Open, Djokovic now has a chance to win his third major in a row. And while it will surely be difficult against Nadal, he cherishes these moments. 

“There’s so much at stake, it’s hard to pick one thing. Obviously making history of the sport that I love is an honour and is a privilege. It’s a huge motivation,” Djokovic said. “At the same time Nadal is across the net. We’re playing [the] final of a Grand Slam for the record seventh title here. If you don’t get motivated by all these things, then something is wrong.”

Source link

Herbert & Mahut win men's doubles to complete career Slam

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019
Australian Open 2019 men’s final
Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 27 January
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live commentary from 08:30 GMT, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website, and watch highlights on BBC TV and online at 14:20

France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the Australian Open men’s doubles title to complete a career Grand Slam.

The fifth seeds beat Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Australian John Peers 6-4 7-6 (7-1).

Hugues and Mahut won the men’s doubles together at the French Open in 2018, and claimed titles at Wimbledon in 2016 and the US Open in 2015.

They are the eighth team to complete the career Grand Slam.

  • ‘Robot’ Osaka had to ‘turn off feelings’ in win
  • Djokovic & Nadal renew ‘biggest rivalry’
  • Live scores, schedule and results

Source link

Rankings Update: Djokovic & Nadal Pulling Away From The Pack

  • Posted: Jan 27, 2019

Rankings Update: Djokovic & Nadal Pulling Away From The Pack

The Top 2 players in the ATP Rankings are pulling away from the rest of the field

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet in the final of a Grand Slam for the eighth time on Sunday (Nadal leads 4-3), with the Australian Open title on the line for the winner. But regardless of who emerges from Rod Laver Arena as the champion, the top two seeds will pull away from the pack on Monday when the new ATP Rankings are released.

Since Djokovic was ousted in the fourth round by Hyeon Chung and Nadal retired in the fifth set of his quarter-final against Marin Cilic in 2018, both players had ATP Ranking points to gain with a deep run in Melbourne this year. They have taken full advantage by battling to the championship match. Djokovic will remain World No. 1 on 28 January, and Nadal will stay at No. 2. But even if Nadal loses to Djokovic, the 17-time major champion will be 1,845 points ahead of World No. 3 Zverev.

The winner of the Australian Open receives 2,000 points, and the runner-up adds 1,200 to his tally. So if Nadal claims his second trophy in Melbourne (also 2009), he will have 9,120 points on Monday, placing him a whopping 2,645 points ahead of Zverev.

If Djokovic wins, not only will he and Nadal have a significant gap ahead of the field, but the Serbian will strengthen his advantage over Nadal. A record-breaking seventh Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for Djokovic will give him 10,955 points, which would mean a 2,635-point cushion over Nadal, who would have 8,320 points.

Djokovic & Nadal’s ATP Ranking Points On 28 January, Pending Australian Open Final

 Player  Champion  Finalist
 Novak Djokovic  10,955  10,155
 Rafael Nadal  9,120  8,320

What is even more important about that is Djokovic’s relative lack of points to defend in the coming months. The World No. 1 lost in the first round at Indian Wells and Miami — the first two ATP Masters 1000 events of the year — last season, giving him just 20 points. So any matches he wins at those two events will be a bonus.

Since Nadal did not compete at those prestigious tournaments last year, the Spaniard has zero points to defend there. That will give the left-handed 32-year-old a chance to add more of a cushion to his lead ahead of the rest of the ATP Tour before the clay-court season.

Nadal earned a 24-1 record with four titles from five European clay events in 2018, so he will have to defend 4,860 points during that stretch. Djokovic, on the other hand, only has 855 points to defend across those same five tournaments.

Take The ATP Djokovic-Nadal Rivalry Quiz

After that World No. 3 Zverev (6,475 points), No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro (5,060) — who is set to return from injury at the Delray Beach Open — and No. 5 Kevin Anderson (4,845) will fill out the Top 5. Six-time champion Roger Federer began the fortnight at World No. 3, but his fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas coupled with the 2,000 points he was defending as last year’s titlist, will see the Swiss drop to No. 6.

The other Top 10 player set for a significant drop is Marin Cilic, who will fall to No. 10. The Croat, who was defending 1,200 points after reaching the 2018 final, lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round.

Source link