Tag Archive | "Djokovic"

Djokovic Withstands Murray for A Fifth Miami Open Trophy

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Djokovic Withstands Murray for A Fifth Miami Open Trophy


IMG_8889_DjokovicThe 30th edition of the men’s final at the Miami Open was contested between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Yet again, Djokovic outlasted Murray 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 to bank his fifth title in South Florida.

In January at the Australian Open final, Djokovic manhandled his counterpart 6-0 in the fourth set to claim the trophy. The second Masters 1000 of the year was a chance for Murray to apply the brakes on a seven match skid against Djokovic against, he had an 8-17 record. Moreover, since his triumph in the 2013 Wimbledon final, Murray is 0-11 versus the combination of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

With a forehand crosscourt winner, Murray manufactured a break point in the opening game. Although Djokovic held, for the Brit, this was a positive development. The next time Murray had break point, he struck an overhead winner for a 2-1 lead.

But, Murray’s advantage was short-lived. The Brit failed to consolidate ahead 40-30. As Djokovic misfired on three backhands in the seventh game, Murray broke at love for 4-3. Swiftly, it was Djokovic’s turn at triple break point and he leveled the set. With no further break points on offer, the opening set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Murray‘s caution at this juncture resulted in miscues. Courtesy of that generosity, Djokovic stormed to a 4-0 edge and ultimately with ease secured the first set.

In the third game of the second set, Djokovic had opportunities to tighten the rope around Murray’s neck with four break points. However, by serving well, the Brit recovered and kept the score in his favor for 2-1.

With the score 4 all and 40-30, Murray was given a time violation warning. This could have derailed him. Yet, the two time Miami Open champion overcame that distraction to hold for 5-4.

Soon, Murray blazed a forehand crosscourt winner off an overhead from Djokovic for 0-40. Then, with the Brit crushing a second serve backhand return crosscourt for a winner, a decisive set was needed to determine the victor.

The bipartisan crowd could hardly contain its glee as cries of “come on Nole or come on Murray” reverberated throughout the stadium. The public was salivating at the prospect of these two warriors dueling to the death.

The last couple of years, Djokovic has mastered the art of wrestling momentum away from his rivals. Once again, Murray learned there was no mercy for miscues.

In an opening game where Murray had game point, Djokovic capitalized on his opponent‘s sleuth of errors to come away with the break. After the Serb consolidated for 2-0, Murray double faulted to stare at 0-40. Despite getting to deuce, Murray could not overcome three more break points. Hard to phantom, but in a 48 minute set, Murray failed to post a single game.

Although the forecast was 75 and partly cloudy, it felt closer to 90 on the court. According to Murray, “I struggled physically, I played well for a couple of sets. I wasn’t getting in the right positions to hit the ball in the last set”.

Djokovic agreed “brutal conditions for both of us. First set was really up and down. We tried to stay mentally tough, hang in there, battle and wear down the other player physically. There were lots of long rallies. I was expecting that coming into the match. It wasn’t really great tennis, a lot of unforced errors. But in these conditions you just want to extend the punching exchange and wait for the opportunities.”

Despite residing and training part of the year in South Florida , Murray could not find his legs to make that last push “here more than most places, it’s draining because of the humidity. . .Part of being a professional athlete is dealing with those different conditions and making adjustments.”

Murray doesn’t attribute his flaming out to his past medical issues “I’ve trained as hard as I can. Maybe I could have hydrated a little bit better. He was stronger than me at the end.”

At one end of the court, in the opening set, the sun was a factor which perhaps killed Murray‘s chances “I would say until the end of the first set, it wasn’t an advantage serving… It’s one thing hitting the first serve significantly slower, but looking at bright light, the first shot of the rally when it comes back, your site is a bit off.”

Despite the outcome, Murray believes there are encouraging lessons to take away compared to Indian Wells “I made the match harder for him, I did many things better. I was going for my shots a bit more. I played a good match tactically.”

Djokovic has dominated his rival of late. Still, he expressed “I’m aware of his qualities and the tennis he can play, the shots, the talent he possesses. He’s also a multiple Grand Slam winner and knows how to perform on the big stage. He deserves respect and to be in the finals of big events. We play similar styles of game so we push each other. It’s like playing cat and mouse trying to outplay and outsmart him in certain types of point.”

Consequently, Djokovic is a tough puzzle for Murray to crack because he is an enhanced prototype. As Murray put it “he serves well, he moves exceptionally well. He’s in great shape and he hits the ball well off both sides. That’s why he’s the number one player in the world. In a couple of matches we’ve played this year, I felt like I’ve been able to hang with him, but not quite for long enough unfortunately.”

As far as his recent successes, the world number one expressed “I could not ask for a better start to the season winning three big titles. I’m probably playing the tennis of my life, feeling confident and physically fit. Hopefully, I’m able to use this for the clay court coming up. I’m aware that this cannot go on forever. I’m going to try to stay as long as I can on top and fight for the biggest titles”

At 27, both players have had triumphant careers. But, with his win at the Australian Open, Djokovic became the first player since 1968 to collect five prizes Down Under. Today, with his 22nd masters shield, he accomplished for a third time the Indian Wells-Miami Open double, something that had never been done. Moreover, Djokovic is one Masters 1000 title away from tying Federer in the number two spot.

On the historical perspective, Djokovic commented “it’s nice and flattering to hear that I have achieved another record. Any achievement that goes into the history books I’m hugely proud of and appreciate because I work hard for it and I do cherish it. It allows me to motivate myself even more.” Next year, at the Miami Open, the bar for Djokovic will be equalizing Andre Agassi’s record with a sixth title.

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Murray Tops Berdych to Advance to Miami Open Final

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Murray Tops Berdych to Advance to Miami Open Final


Tennis - 2015 ATP World Tour 1000 - Miami Open - Key Biscayne, USA - Day 7 - Sunday 29 March 2015Two-time Miami Open champion Andy Murray has advanced to his fourth Miami Open final.

The third seed took out Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 to book a spot in Sunday’s finals. Murray will face the winner of the second semifinal match between 2014 Miami Open defending champion Novak Djokovic and John Isner. Murray last claimed the Miami title in 2013.

“I felt like I served well,” Murray said after the match. “It was tricky from one end of the court. We’re basically serving right into the sun at that time of day, so I had to take a little bit off the serve. On the second serve it was very tough to see.”

With regard to his previous matches against Berdych, Murray commented “I’ve played him on the clay obviously I found it tricky against him. We played a couple times when the conditions have been extremely heavy. He’s a big, big guy. When the conditions are like that, he can still generate a lot of force, a lot of power. But, you know, when I’ve played him on some of the quicker surfaces, I feel like I’ve been able to hit through the court and make him move a lot.”

Early in the tournament Murray claimed his 500 career match win when he bounced Kevin Anderson in the fourth round.

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Djokovic and Nishikori March on to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open

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Djokovic and Nishikori March on to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open


Djokoivc_MO_RFIn search of his third double-double, the combination of Indian Wells and Miami Open trophies, Novak Djokovic took another step forward today in beating Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5 to move into the round of 16.

There is not much to discuss about an opening set, where the world number one posted a bagel against his peer. After Djokovic seized seven successive games, Darcis at last made his presence felt in the second set.

The 31 year old qualifier, in his maiden third round at the Miami Open, overcame three break points before holding serve for 2 all. As Djokovic continued to push, Darcis again was made to work to level the score in the sixth game.

The possibility of a third set became imminent as the Belge broke for 5-4 and had the opportunity to steal a set. However, the four time champion was in no mood for a decisive set. Djokovic took the next three games to dash any of his rival’s hopes.

Djokovic acknowledged that the second set was a tad hairy “the drop of the intensity and the fact that I didn’t use the opportunities early [on] resulted in a close second set. He’s got a lot of variety, especially from the backhand side, he slices pretty well. I was handling it really good, then started to make some unforced errors, complicated my own life. But at the end of the day, it’s a win.”

All players go through periods of self doubt as Rafael Nadal confessed when he loss to Fernando Verdasco. Djokovic admits that he is not the exception “more or less every single match you go through these moments. We are all humans and go through emotional ups and downs depending on the quality and intensity of the match. I understand what [Nadal] is talking about because I’m playing for many years at this high level and I know [the] pressure and expectations [that go along]. It’s normal to have periods of crisis, feel more doubt than confidence in important moments and you lose a couple of matches. I’m sure Nadal is somebody who knows exactly how to deal with this particular situation and how to get better.”

Next, Djokovic takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov. A quarterfinalist in 2014, the Ukranian defeated Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets.

Looking ahead, Djokovic cited “he’s feeling good. He likes this surface, a bit slower court with higher bounce. He has a very quick dynamic motion on the serve and can serve very big for somebody of his height. I know what to expect. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but end it in a bit different way.”

In the opening match of the grandstand, Kei Nishikori needed only 63 minutes to send off Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-2. Also in action was Spaniard David Ferrer. The 2013 finalist took care of Lukas Rosol 6-4, 7-5 and will duke it out with Gilles Simon for a berth in the quarterfinals. Milos Raonic outlasted Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 5-7, 7-6. Raonic will find John Isner across the net. The American ousted Grigor Dimitrov the ninth seed with a 7-6, 6-2 triumph.

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Novak Djokovic Holds Press Conference at Miami Open

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Novak Djokovic Holds Press Conference at Miami Open


Four time Miami Open champion Novak Djokovic met with the press in Miami after his doubles match with fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

Djokovic responded to questions regarding his past wins on the ATP tour, social media, and his support for Tipsarevic while he has recovered from injuries.

Here is the complete interview :

Q. You have won Miami back to back twice already. What’s the key for this quick turnaround?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I started the season very well with winning Grand Slam, and that definitely helps my confidence level. I finished the 2014 season in a great form winning Paris and London back to back and then winning Australia and playing finals Dubai, Davis Cup, and then Indian Wells. Of course I’m at a great place now. I try to enjoy and take the best out of the feeling that I have on the court right now. Hopefully I can have another great week in Miami. The record that I had in last, you know, eight, nine years I have been coming back to Miami and playing the tournament is really good. Some of my best tennis I have played here in these courts. That can hopefully help me to get far in the tournament. We are here in United States for, you know, some of the biggest events we have in sport, Indian Wells and Miami for four weeks, playing best of three, and it’s well spread. It does help you to recover and get ready for the next matches. You don’t get too exhausted physically because the schedule is such that it allows you to have fun to recover and have time for the next one.

Q. You know, Wimbledon has famous Kipling line of if you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters the same. Do you follow something the same? Is that how you keep your mindset, coming off a big win, as well?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, you mentioned one very wise saying that you see just before you walk out on Centre Court. There is a lot of wisdom in that. Of course that’s easier said than done sometimes, but I guess you become wiser as you grow and as you become older, as well.
Playing more matches and spending more time in the highest level in tennis allows you to understand, you know, how you need to approach and have the healthy approach to every tournament. Back in 2011 when I had the best season so far in my career and became No. 1 of the world, I was so much blown away and so happy by those terrific achievements that, you know, it was difficult for me the year after to kind of face all those challenges, to defend points, and was a little bit carried away by a lot of distractions, I would say, you know, off the court. But it allowed me  those kind of experiences allowed me to grow and to become stronger mentally, you know, as a tennis player and as a person, and to find the right balance between the private and professional life, to enjoy the life that I have, to really embrace everything that life is presenting to me. But yet again, stay professional discipline, committed to the sport that I love. So I think right now I found the right balance, and I’m at the peak of my career and my abilities. Hopefully I can maintain that for the time to come.

Q. (Indiscernible.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, let’s say I prefer the medium speed of the court. I think that it all depends if you’re playing during the day or the night. The conditions change. Of course the night, during the night, the ball travels through the air a bit slower and the balls get a bit bigger. Also, as you mentioned, because of the humidity it’s tough to physically stay out there and, you know, fight for every point.
So you kind of have to be prepared that you have to face a certain kind of challenges. Swirly conditions today; wind, for example, that changes directions all the time. But it’s the same for you and your opponent. It’s just that, you know, you need to be tough and approach it in a right way. The experience of playing this tournament so many times helps me to approach it in that way and not get distracted by these conditions. Of course it is frustrating when you’re on the court, but more importantly is to stay concentrated.

Q. (Question regarding social media.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the best thing about the social media and social platforms is the fact that you can interact with the people that follow and you support you. You know, there are many people around the world that actually, you know, watch tennis. It’s a very global sport. They support you and really express their love and appreciation for what you do. So this is one of the ways to give them back, not just on the court by playing good tennis, but also you interact with them and feed them with some video or picture content that would give them a different look at your personality. Not just what they see on the TV when you’re playing tennis, but something else, to present yourself as a person.
Everything has its borders, obviously, but I try to, you know, kind of post  most of the content I post is something that is fun, something that is different. You know, sometimes I have to show them that I’m working in the gym or on the tennis court, that I am preparing myself.
But mostly some other fun stuff for people that I get to meet along the way.

Q. And the bad side? Do you get mean messages?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I do. Of course, in the ideal world everybody with love you, but it’s not like that. I respect everybody’s opinion and freedom to say whatever they think. Actually, it’s good to read criticism in some ways, because you can have a different angle of observing yourself, as well, different perspectives. That’s how I see it.

Q. (Indiscernible.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s difficult to compare any of those seasons with this season, as well. Every season brings something new, new challenges. Right now I’m a complete person and really fulfilled in every aspect of my life. Became a husband and a father in last 10 months, and that’s a very important milestone for me that has definitely contributed in a positive way to my tennis, as well. I’m not taking things for granted. I am very grateful for the opportunity to play the sport that I love, and still kind of fulfill my parental duties and, you know, be, I would say, accomplished as a husband and a father. I cannot complain. It’s a great place in my life where I am at the moment, and trying to take the best out of it.

Q. After so many years you stay on the top of tennis, how can you handle the fame, but on the same time, to be a humble person that you are? Can you send some words for the people who follow your career? And in Miami, people love you.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you. I love them, too. I do feel that it’s multicultural, very international city, Miami. There is a lot of Latin people. I feel over the years I have had a very nice relationship with the people from Latin America. Hopefully they will keep on supporting me. It’s very much necessary here. And referring to your first part of the question, as I said before, I really appreciate the fact that I’m playing tennis. Probably the childhood that I had, the circumstances in life that I had to face and overcome to be where I am at this moment allowed me to observe things in life in a different way, in a more humble way, I would say. The fact that I come from a very small country, the fact that I overcame some challenges that seemed impossible at the time with the war and sanctions and all these things and arrived to where I am, that has shaped me as a person and my character, and helps me now to have this kind of approach that I believe is the right one.

Q. Can you just talk about the emotions you’re going through in supporting Janko over these years.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. It’s incredibly sad story with him in last 17 months. I know him for such a long time. We are great friends. His last official match that he played was in October 2013, and ever since then he was suffering from injuries. Mostly from the heel that he had to operate I think two or three times. Along the way he also hurt some other muscles and joints. Just a very dreadful time for him. I tried to, as a friend and as a colleague, be close to him, to give him support, to let him know that I’m there and I wish him to have a speedy recovery and to come back as quick as possible. So the opportunity to play today with him was very special for me, really, as a friend, and I cared very much to win this match today. I got very tight in the supertiebreaker, I have to say, because it was a very tough match. We lost to two of the great, very good doubles players. But we talked after the match, and he appreciated the fact that he can actually play. Just feel that match play, you know, have that sensation of how it feels and what takes to be on the court. 17 months is a long time for injuries, and he’s also not young. You know, he’s now 31 this year. But he’s eager to play. He’s motivated. He right now has been practicing for a couple of weeks 100%, and he decided actually it’s better to skip this tournament in singles because he needed a little bit more time to get into it. Hopefully this doubles match today can help him. When he plays now in Houston after Miami he can perform his best. He can relax. He has the quality to go back to where he was. You know, that’s top 10. I really wish him that.

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2015 Miami Open Player Field Announced

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2015 Miami Open Player Field Announced


IMG_8310_DjkokovicThe 2015 Miami Open is set to take place from March 23 – April 5. Today, the tournament announced the field of players that will be taking to the courts at the Crandon Park Tennis Center.

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams will both be returning to Miami to defend their titles from 2014. From the ATP, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro are also on the acceptance list. From the WTA, Maria Sharapova is still looking to claim her first Miami title. Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are also on the roster. A complete rundown of the acceptance list is provided in the tournament’s press release below.

Miami Open Field Once Again Unrivaled on Tour Calendar

The hottest ticket in tennis returns to Miami featuring the best players in the world

MIAMI, Fl. (www.miamiopen.com) – The Miami Open may have a new name, but the Grand Slam-quality player field it delivers each spring remains the same. The event received its 2015 official acceptance lists from the ATP and WTA tours and, once again, the line-up is unrivaled among tour events.

With 74 of the top 75 ranked men, including all of the top 50, and each of the top 75 ranked women, the Miami Open player field ranks best on the tennis calendar. The 15 combined Grand Slam Champions, seven men and eight women, scheduled to compete at this year’s tournament are more than any other event on the tours outside of the Grand Slams. Whether you are looking to see a future Hall of Famer, a multiple Grand Slam champion, or a rising star, all will be on display at the Crandon Park Tennis Center during the event’s two weeks, March 23- April 5.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL LISTINGS

Tickets to the 2015 Miami Open are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or online at www.miamiopen.com. An exhilarating two weeks of tennis, fashion, food and fun conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, April 4 and the men’s final on Sunday, April 5.

Individual session tickets start at just $31 and packages begin at only $136. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of the most glamorous event on both tours.

The 2015 ATP acceptance list features World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, the defending Miami Open champion and reigning Australian Open champ; 17-time Grand Slam champion, Roger Federer; 14-time Grand Slam winner, Rafael Nadal; two-time Grand Slam and Olympic Gold Medalist, Andy Murray; and former US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro.

The women’s field for 2015 is fierce, featuring 19-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who is the defending Miami Open winner and became the winningest player, male or female, in tournament history when she captured her seventh Miami Open title last year. Seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, five-time Grand Slam champion and reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka and defending Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova are also entered to compete.

Fans will also see last year’s break out stars Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion, and Marin Cilic, the surprise winner at the US Open as they make a run for the Miami Open title. On the women’s side rising stars Eugenie Bouchard, a 2014 Wimbledon finalist, and American Madison Keys, who made her first semi-finals appearance at a Grand Slam at this year’s Australian Open, will also be in action.

The Miami Open is more than just a tennis event. Located in one of the world’s most beautiful vacation destinations with a diverse fan base and exquisite dining and luxury shopping offerings, the Miami Open has an energy and excitement that is uniquely Miami.

Qualifying rounds will be played March 23-24 and will determine 12 additional slots in each singles draw. The Miami Open will also award wildcards to five men and eight women. The main draw begins on Tuesday, March 24 as the women take the court, followed by the first round of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 25.

About the Miami Open presented by Itaú

The 2015 Miami Open will be played March 23-April 5 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. The tournament is widely regarded as the most glamorous on the ATP and WTA calendars because of its exotic Miami location, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and restaurants, beautiful weather and beaches, and its celebrity appeal. For ticket information, call +1.305.442.3367 or visit www.miamiopen.com.

About Itaú

Itau is the largest Latin America privately owned bank, with approximately 95,000 employees and operations in 20 countries throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Itaú’s relationship with sport goes back to the 1970s, when Itaú first sponsored the Itaú Tennis Cup in Brazil in 1970. Itaú has been a sponsor of the Miami Open for the last six years, and also sponsors the Rio Open, the only combined ATP/WTA event in South America. Itaú also supports the Brazilian Women’s Tennis Circuit, only female professional tournament in South America, certified by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the Tennis Institute Training Center, responsible for the development of young, new talent.

About IMG

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 25 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; strategic partnerships with sponsors and brands; and marquee assets across sports, entertainment, events, music and fashion.

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Djokovic Captures Year End Championship by Default

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Djokovic Captures Year End Championship by Default


International Tennis - Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - O2 Arena - London - Day 8 - Sunday 16th November 2014
The much anticipated tussle for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals trophy between the world’s top two players, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, was scrubbed due to injury. Djokovic took home a third consecutive title, his fourth overall, as Federer forfeited the match.

Approximately an hour prior to start time, a packed arena listened to Federer apologizing for his decision not to take the court. The six time year end championship titlist was forced to pull out of today’s contest because of a back problem which surfaced in the semifinals. This was only the third time since turning pro in 1998 that Federer has pulled out of a tournament he began playing and never before in a final. The withdraws from the other matches were also provoked by an unfit back.

The full stadium settled for exhibition matches which organizers scrambled to put together at the ultimate minute. Brit Andy Murray, who was ousted in the round robin round, came to the rescue by playing a set against Djokovic which the latter won. It was followed by a doubles competition featuring John McEnroe and Murray versus Pat Cash and Tim Henman.

What a difference less than twenty four hours make! On Saturday, spectators were treated to two tantalizing matches. The drama between Federer and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka alone was worth the price of admission.

After losing the first set 4-6, Federer scrapped through the second set, breaking Wawrinka at 6-5 to push the match to a deciding set. Subsequent to breaking Federer in the opening game, Wawrinka maintained the advantage and served for his first year end final at 5-4.

With Wawrinka squandering two match points, the third set victor was determined by a tiebreaker. Once again, Federer overcame two match points prior to coming out on top.

Djokovic was also challenged in his semifinal match by Kei Nishikori, the man who shocked him in the semifinals at the U.S. Open this year. After being absent in the opening set and Djokovic seizing it 6-1, Nishikori persevered and took the second 6-3.

However, there would be no full comeback for the Japanese as Djokovic regained the reigns in the third set. The Serb dominated 6-0 to punch his ticket into the last ATP match of 2014.

With today’s triumph, Djokovic became the first player since Ivan Lendl 1985-87 to lift this trophy three years in a row.

Although the ATP season is now concluded, for Federer there is still the matter of the Davis Cup. In just a few days, Switzerland will battle France in the final. 1992 was the only other occasion that Switzerland reached this stage of the competition. That year, the United States captured the win. Consequently, should Federer hoist this distinguishing prize, he will further cement his iconic status in the sport. After all, both Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, his two biggest rivals, have at least one Davis Cup title. Then, the only milestone for the Swiss to conquer would be singles Olympic Gold.

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Djokovic downs Nadal for fourth Sony Open title in Miami

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Djokovic downs Nadal for fourth Sony Open title in Miami



IMG_8540_DjokovicMiami, Ricky Dimon
The fourth time was not the charm for Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, made his fourth time look easy.

Djokovic captured his fourth title at the Sony Open Tennis tournament and dropped Nadal to 0-4 for his career in Miami finals with a 6-3, 6-3 rout on Sunday afternoon. The Serb saved the only break point he faced the entire way in the very first game of the match before cruising in one hour and 23 minutes.

After missing his chance at 30-40 in the opening game, Nadal was rarely competitive. He dropped serve at 2-3 in the first set and Djokovic was off to the races. Miami’s No. 2 seed lost a combined two points in his next two service games to bag the opener. It was all but over when Djokovic broke right away to begin the second with a crushing backhand winner.

For good measure, Djokovic capped off the match in style with his third break of the day. The two competitors saved their best point for last, with Nadal serving at 3-5, 15-40. A furious rally ended when Djokovic answered a backhand volley by the Spaniard with a forehand into the open court.

“This tournament has been perfect from the beginning to the end,” Djokovic reflected. “The matches that I have played I played really well, and I elevated my game as the tournament progressed. The best performance of the tournament came in the right moment on Sunday against the biggest rival.”

“Just the fact that I’m playing against Nadal and playing in the finals, fighting for (the) trophy is already a huge motivation and responsibility to try to perform my best and to kind of be at the right intensity and right focus. I didn’t have any letdowns throughout the whole match. I was in a very high level; serve, backhand, cross-court, forehand…. I have done everything right and I’m thrilled with my performance.”

Nadal did not have to offer much analysis of his own game, because his opponent was simply too good.

“Easy to analyze,” the world No. 1 assured. “[Djokovic] was better than me. That’s it. Some matches are more difficult to say. This one was not that difficult in general. He was better than me in everything.

“Today I felt that he played great, but I feel that he doesn’t need to hit a great shot to be an advantage on the point. So playing against him is the worst thing that can happen for me, because in general, talking about the first two shots, he has a better return than my one, he has a better serve than my one. In this surface especially.”

The surface now changes to clay after a week of Davis Cup quarterfinal action. Nadal and Djokovic are expected back on court for the Monte-Carlo Masters next month.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Controversy, drama result in Djokovic vs. Nishikori semifinal at Sony Open

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Controversy, drama result in Djokovic vs. Nishikori semifinal at Sony Open


IMG_7552_Djokovic

Miami, Ricky Dimon
After a wild Wednesday at the Sony Open Tennis tournament in Miami, the first men’s singles semifinal is set. It will not be a rematch of the Indian Wells final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Instead, Djokovic will be going up against Kei Nishikori.

Djokovic beat Andy Murray 7-5, 6-3 before Nishikori upset Federer 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Despite the straightforward scoreline compared to that of the nightcap, even Djokovic’s quarterfinal win was not without some dramatic moments. With Murray serving at 5-5 in the first set, Djokovic appeared to reach over the net to put away a volley for a 0-15 lead. The Serb even admitted it, but chair umpire Damian Steiner said that the racket had made contact with the ball prior to crossing the net. Obviously disgusted although keeping his outward emotions mostly in check, Murray promptly dropped serve at love to end the set. That meant that Murray, who had earned a break point at 5-5, lost the final seven points of the opening frame.

“Look, I’m going to be completely honest with you,” Djokovic told the press. “I did pass the net with my racket and I told Andy that. I told him that I did not touch the net. My bad. I thought that it’s allowed, to cross on his side without touching the net. That’s why I thought I won the point.

“I did not know that the rule is that I’m not allowed to cross the net. That’s all I can say. At that point I told him, ‘I crossed the net.’ But I thought that it’s allowed without touching the net.”

“From where I was standing, it was a very hard thing to see, but it’s a lot easier if you’re looking straight across the net to see whether someone is over or not,” Murray explained. “For me, it’s impossible to tell from where I was, but I knew it was close. So that’s why I went and asked Novak, and he told me he was over the net. That was it.”

What the second semifinal lacked in controversy, it made up for in competitiveness. An in-form Federer seemed to be on his way to another dominant victory in Miami with a set and a break lead in hand, but Nishikori had other ideas. Japan’s top player had saved four match points to outlast David Ferrer in a third-set tiebreaker the previous day, so he was not about to go down without a fight.

Nishikori broke back then wrapped up each of the final two sets with breaks–at 6-5 in the second and 5-4 in the third. He now leads the head-to-head series against Federer 2-1.

“It’s really a pleasure to beat him and I’m happy to be in the semifinals,” Nishikori said. “I was down a break in the second set but I was returning well. I was serving well, especially in the third set, so that’s why I was holding my serve [easily]…. I thought I really played well. I was hitting both deep and striking well.”

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Federer, Djokovic, Murray off to winning start at Sony Open

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Federer, Djokovic, Murray off to winning start at Sony Open



IMG_6389_FedererMiami, FL Ricky Dimon
After skipping last year’s Sony Open Tennis tournament, Roger Federer kicked off his 2014 campaign on Friday afternoon with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over Ivo Karlovic. Federer lost a mere three points on serve in the entire match and he fired six aces to Karlovic’s 13 to advance in one hour and 14 minutes.

The 32-year-old Swiss dropped just one service point in the first set and one in the second prior to a tiebreaker. An error off the net cord, however, gave back a mini-break to Karlovic in surprising fashion. One more mini-break was all Federer would need, as he took care of his final two service points at 5-4 and 6-4.

“I think I was able to play a very clean match on my service games throughout,” the world No. 5 explained. “I was playing with margin, was able to move Ivo around, and I was able to maintain that throughout the match, which was key.”

Next up for Federer is qualifier Thiemo De Bakker, who upset Fernando Verdasco 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-2.

Novak Djokovic joined Federer in the third round following a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Jeremy Chardy. The Frenchman’s hopes were doomed by 51 percent serving and a failure to save any of the three break points he faced. Chardy also suffered a sprained ankle in the final game of the match when Djokovic served out his win at 5-3 in the second set.

“It’s obviously different conditions that I’m playing here in Miami from Indian Wells,” said the No. 2 seed, who is coming off a title at the BNP Paribas Open. “It’s more humid and it takes a little bit of time to get used to. So that’s why the first matches are always tricky. And especially when you have an opponent who goes for his shots as Jeremy did today.”

Andy Murray capped off the night on Stadium court by waking up from a slow start to storm past Matthew Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1. Murray, who recently made a news-worthy split from coach Ivan Lendl, won all six of his return games spanning the second and third sets. The sixth-ranked Scot dropped serve to trail 1-0 in the third before reeling of a second streak of six consecutive games in his favor.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Novak Djokovic Address the Press at the Sony Open

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Novak Djokovic Address the Press at the Sony Open


Three time Sony Open Tennis champion Novak Djokovic met with the press in Miami prior to his first round match on Friday.  Djokovic revealed that his coach Boris Becker will not be in Miami as he is undergoing surgery on both of his hips.

Djokovic responded to questions regarding the resurgence of Roger Federer, Andy Murray splitting with Ivan Lendl and the future of Juan Martin Del Potro.

Here is the complete interview :

Q.  Can you tell us a little bit about Boris.  We hear that he’s been unable to travel. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, he’s unable to travel.  He has surgery of his both hips today and tomorrow, so that’s unfortunate.  He couldn’t come.

Q.  But was that expected? 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, he was supposed to come here.  Basically in the finals of Indian Wells he called us and said that he had an emergency and he has to operate both hips.

Q.  How will this affect or will it affect you and Boris going forward?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, no, he’s going to be in MonteCarlo, and the schedule for the tournaments that he committed before the start of the season, he will be there, you know, unless his health doesn’t allow him.

Of course, in these particular situations you can’t do much about it.  If he has to operate his hips, he cannot move, cannot walk, unfortunately.  It’s been something that it’s kind of an issue that has been  issue he’s been carrying for many years already.

If he is able, he’s going to be in MonteCarlo already.  Everything stays the same.

Q.  People will look at what you did in Indian Wells and say, Well, you didn’t miss Boris much, but I guess what he has done in the buildup contributed to that success. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, absolutely.  Well, first of all, I mean, Boris is a head coach, and this was not only my own decision.  It was actually Marian’s proposal from the start, because as I was saying before, he has been on the tour as a player and coach 30 years.  It’s been a very long time for him.

He wanted to spend more time with his family, and it was time for me to kind of try to get somebody that is able to commit for more tournaments than Marian.

So when Marian was still around, as you see, it was planned for him to be in Indian Wells; now he’s in Miami because of this situation.  But they split tournaments.  I mean, Boris is supposed to travel to more tournaments.

They have a very good communication and relationship, and I’m happy with the way it all has started.  Obviously the start of the season I haven’t won Australian Open as it was the case in last, previous three years, but, you know, it’s a sport.

I feel that I’m playing good on the court.  It’s just a matter of time when things are going to click.  I’m glad that I already  they already have clicked in Indian Wells.  I have had a great two weeks, and the benefits and the effects of our incorporation, Boris and mine, hopefully we will see in the rest of the season.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Roger’s resurgence.  You just played him, and some people had already just not counted him out or were starting to write him off the Big 4 and all that.  Can you talk about him and just having played him.  What do you see in his game different, and that he’s sort of back?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  Well, I think he’s playing in a high level this year.  He’s back to his normal level, you know, the level that he had for seven, eight years while he was so dominant in men’s tennis.  Obviously last season he was not as good for his standards.

You know, but this year he started strong.  He won the title in Dubai and played semis of Australian Open.  I can feel that he’s striking the ball very cleanly.  He’s very confident on the court and he has improved his backhand I think.

Maybe it’s the racquet or something else, but he definitely has more depth on that shot.  He’s going more for his topspins rather than slicing it.  You know, of course, with his immense experience and success that he had in his career, he’s never to be ruled out.

Doesn’t matter how old he is.  It’s just a number.  As he was saying, he feels good on the court.  He’s fit.  He’s definitely one of the best players in the world now.

Q.  Were you as surprised as we were about Andy Murray’s split with Ivan Lendl?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, to be honest, I was not surprised.  But, again, I didn’t know what to expect.  They worked for two years, and obviously it brought both of them, especially Andy, a lot of success on the court.  He won Olympic Games, won a few Grand Slams.  I think it was a very good decision from inside to be working with Ivan.

Now they split.  I mean, they obviously had a good reason for that.  I’m not the one who should judge.

Q.  Do you think their success was one of the reasons why there are suddenly so many names… 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Maybe.  But I was saying that that was not the motivation behind me hiring Boris Becker.  As I said before, it was a kind of a course in our relationship between Marian and myself where, you know, we came to the point where we had to think of an alternative option.  We had to think about somebody stepping into our team.

That was the main reason why we hired Boris.

Q.  How important is playing with this environment in Miami?  Different for all of you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It is different tournament.  It’s actually one of the nicest ones we have on tour.  It’s a lot of fun, a lot of entertainment, very international crowd.

I have had much success in this city before I won my first big title back in 2007.  I remember here was my first Masters 1000 event.  So I have really good memories.

I always look forward coming back to Miami this time of the year.  It’s nice weather.  As I said, a lot of fun on and off the court.

Q.  Now that a couple of days has passed since Indian Wells, how much of a boost is that for you confidencewise and a bit of a relief?  I know winning titles is nothing new to you, but an estrangement at the start of this year.  How much of a confidence boost is that for you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it is, in some kind, a relief for me, because I haven’t had a title this year up to Indian Wells.  Indian Wells final was the first final of the year.  I haven’t played many tournaments; I haven’t played many matches.

So I knew I’m playing well.  I had incredible end of 2013, so I did have confidence.  But I started a little bit doubting myself on the court.  You know, I was struggling a little bit with my, I would say, consistency and the concentration.  Throughout the tournament also I had ups and downs, but I managed to win four out of six matches in three sets.

Mentally it’s a very encouraging win that gives me confidence and that also, you know, is very special in a way.  This time of the year I needed it very much, and hopefully I can carry that into this week.

Q.  Juan Martin Del Potro, have you talked to him, about his future?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I talked to him a little bit a few days ago.  He was uncertain if he’s going to play or not.  Now he’s not playing, so, yeah, it’s really unfortunate.

I think it’s the other wrist, because he had problems with one wrist and now it’s the other one.  He’s a very tall, tall guy, and for him playing many tournaments in a high level week in and week out is very difficult.

His body is suffering, and it’s unfortunate that somebody of his quality is not performing here.  Also Indian Wells.  Tennis definitely misses him.  He’s always one of the contenders to win big titles.  He’s very entertaining to watch.  He’s a nice guy.

I wish him all the best and quick recovery.

Q.  We’re doing a story on fashion in tennis, and we have seen it transcend, you know, Agassi with the denim shorts.  You had the Darth Vader look.  A, what is your inspiration when you go into designing your own clothes?  And, B, how important is it for all of you guys to differentiate you guys with your style?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, well, you mentioned Andre Agassi.  I mean, he definitely revolutionalized the fashion in tennis.  He was the first one to dress differently and to have some kind of statement on the court.

Well, I have been through a process in my career, as well.  I had different dragons and wings on my shirts (smiling).

But I’m at a different stage right now.  Of course I’m very much involved in giving  trying to give my input as much as I can to design my own clothes.  I’m fortunate to have a really good team of people and designers from Uniqlo Company who represents me the last two years.

There is various, I will say, inspirations behind the certain designs for different periods of the year depending on color of the surface, depending on the time of the year, depending where we go, color of Serbian flags, so forth and so forth.

So there are different sources of inspiration we are trying to put into the design and kind of create something that looks nice on the court.

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