Weather Aids Djokovic To Final

It was a different day and a different player. No wind. And Novak Djokovic was up to the task.

His match with Spain’s David Ferrer was stopped on Saturday with Ferrer up 5-2. There were weather concerns in the Flushing area and the wind was awful.

The match re-started on Saturday at 11 am under perfect conditions and Djokovic was perfect. After Ferrer won the first game to take the first set, 6-2 Djokovic got into high gear. He rolled 6-1 in the second set and won the third 6-4, at one point winning 12 out of 14 points. The fourth was no different with Djokovic closing out Ferrer 6-2.

Ferrer was not despondent in his press conference. He noted that the top four in the game are much better than the next level of which he is a part.He applauded Djokovic’s performance.

Djokovic was thrilled after the match and rated his Monday final with Andy Murray as even.

Murray beat Tomas Berdych on Saturday in bad conditions.

Murray enters the final with a mark of 0-4 in finals. He is now coached by Ivan Lendl who was also 0-4 in finals when he won the French Open in 1984.

Djokovic is one of the best returners ever in tennis. Murray needs to have his serve in top flight form to win.

Djokovic holds an 8-6 lead over Murray, but in their last match-up Murray prevailed at the Olympics.

 

Murray’s Biggest Challenge Comes Next

Some players may feel there’s a higher power helping them.

And it very well could be the case.

But if God is too busy, Andy Murray can rest assured he has Sean Connery on his side.

The Oscar winning actor had an unexpected cameo during his post match presser after the Scotsman beat Tomas Berdych in four sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 to reach the Open Finals for the second time of his career.

The match was marred by high winds which made play very difficult for both sides.

You can’t really sort of allow yourself to enjoy it because anything can happen,” he said. “The match turns around so quickly.  He serve‑volleyed a couple times, came to the net more, and played a couple of good points.

“All of a sudden, you know, you’re back tied at 3‑All when you’ve been in total control for two hours of the match.  You can’t allow yourself to lose focus.  If you do, it can get away from you quickly.”

But Murray survived and he will face the winner of the David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic match with Ferrer up 5-2 in the first set before it was called due to a pending storm.

Murray, though, may have a good chance to win it all. He has been playing his best tennis this year, going to the Wimbledon final and then winning the London Olympics.  He lost to Djokovic in the 2011 Australian Open finals, but the other three Slams he went to, Roger Federer was standing in his way and the Maestro was sent home by Berdych earlier this week.

“I think, you know, my results in the slams over the last couple of years have been very good,” he said. “And obviously this year in the major tournaments, you know, along with the Olympics, it’s been my best year.  Never made two Grand Slam finals in a year, so that’s obviously a good sign that I’m playing better and still learning.

“And the Olympics was the biggest win of my career by far.  You know, it meant a lot to me, too.  Whatever happens in the final, it’s been a great year.  But, you know, all I want to make sure I do in the final is that I give 110%.

I know how hard these opportunities are to come by, and, you know, I will give it everything.”

And he knows the road will be hard no matter who is facing on Monday. Both Djokovic and Ferrer are very tough competitors.

But neither are lopsided with Djokovic holding a 8-6 edge over Murray, while the Scotsman is leading 6-5 over Ferrer.

David makes it very, very hard.  He makes it very physical.  He’s in great shape.  He’s playing the best tennis of his career this year,” he said. “I have played him many times, and, you know, unbelievably tough match with him at Wimbledon.  I lost to him at the French Open; the previous year I played him in the Aussie Open, as well.  That was also a brutal match.  It was very, very tough.”

I handled a big match against (Djokovic) well in Australia this year,” he said of his other possible opponent. “ It was a great match.  I think both of us played very well.  It came down to a couple of points. I know how much the Olympics meant to all of the players, and winning against him in the Olympic semifinal, you know, was a big win for me.  I know how tough it is to beat the top, top players in big matches.”

But Murray will have the rest as he the Men’s Final was moved to Monday. And with the momentum, the Scotsman certainly has a chance to get the monkey off his back and win a Slam.

So hopes Sir Sean Connery.  

 

Murray Qualifies for ATP World Finals

LONDON — 2012 Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray will return to London this November to compete at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, held at The O2 from 5-12 November.

Murray’s win over Marin Cilic on Wednesday to reach the US Open semi-finals guaranteed the Brit his place among the world’s top eight players at the season-ending tournament in London. It will be the first time that Murray returns to compete in the UK following his remarkable gold medal run at the Olympic Games in August.

Murray, who also reached this year’s Wimbledon final, has thrived whilst competing in London in 2012, and can now look ahead to taking on the world’s best in November at The O2. The Brit also captured the title at the Brisbane International in Australia in January, as well as reaching finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai and the Sony Open Tennis in Miami.

“It’s great to have qualified again for London. I’ve played some of my best tennis this year on home soil, so hopefully I can also have a good run at The O2 in November. The atmosphere and the support I’ve had there has always been incredible,” said the Brit.

Murray is the fourth singles player to qualify for the season-ending finale, joining Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the player field in London. Four singles spots still remain up for grabs, with the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych all in contention to join the top four in London.

Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “My congratulations go to Andy on qualifying for the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Andy has put together another stellar season on the ATP World Tour and truly deserves his place among the top eight in London. His qualification is wonderful news for tennis fans in the UK who will get another chance to show their support for Andy in November following his outstanding performances at Wimbledon and the Olympics this past summer.”

The season-ending event once again looks set to provide a thrilling finale to what has already been a remarkable season on the  ATP World Tour, with the year-end World No.1 South African Airways ATP Ranking  potentially coming down to the wire at the last event of the season in London.

With tickets still available for the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, don’t miss your chance to witness the world’s top eight singles players and doubles teams competing for the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament. For more information, visit: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

Djokovic’s Choice Of Racquet Is The Perfect Stocking Stuffer For Your Tennis Player

Novak Djokovic really improved his game this year and become the World’s No. 1 Player.

How did he do it you might ask. Practice? Conditioning?

Why play with a new and improved racquet, of course.

Djokovic played 2011 with the second generation HEAD YouTek Speed racquet in his hand. Something that may have helped give him the edge.

“The name is Speed, and the racquet gives me a lot of speed in this aggressive game,” Djokovic said. We have been working hard on the racquet in order to improve it as much as possible.”

HEAD’s YouTek™ concept aims to provide tennis players with the perfect racquets for their individual game. The new YouTek™ IG Speed is specially designed for the needs of players like Novak Djokovic. Innegra™ promises to bring racquet innovation to another level. Extremely tough and light, Innegra™ has the lowest density of any existing fiber and, combined with carbon fiber, forms an ultra-tough hybrid-composite structure. The result: improved stability and increased shock absorption. Racquet vibration from ball impact is reduced by up to 17 percent, yielding unmatched control and precision.

There are five different YouTek 300 racquets out on the market for various types of performance.

YouTek IG Speed MP: The Speed MP is the perfect combination of power and control for heavy hitters with a long fast swing style. It is available in three models, accommodating a wide range of players. You’ll never want to put this racquet down!

– YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20 ($199.95): The MP 18/20 is Novak Djokovic’s Weapon of Choice

– YouTek IG Speed MP 16/19 ($199.95): The MP 16/19 has a more open string pattern and a slightly longer length for added reach.

– YouTek IG Speed 300 ($199.95): The MP 300 is a slightly more powerful version with added maneuverability

YouTek IG Speed Elite ($189.95): A Tour Light version providing complete tour performance with greater maneuverability. The slightly wider beam gives it even more power.

YouTek IG Speed Lite ($189.95): This is the lightest racquet in the Speed series. A great tweener providing the perfect combination of power, manoeuvrability, control and feel. It’s the excellent tour racquet for players with a moderate swing style.

The racquets are available at all major retail locations. Pick one up for your tennis pro.

For more information visit www.head.com/tennis.

Djokovic Determined After First Round Win

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In his postgame interview after his first round drubbing of Conor Niland, 6-0 5-1 (Withdrew), Novak Djokovic was posed this question:

Speaking of entertainment, for years you were trying to pass Roger and Rafa.  In terms of entertainment, Rafa is almost like a rock star.  He’s so appealing.  And Roger is beautiful and perfect and graceful.  How do you think you’re taken and received here in North America?

To that the No. 1 seed responded: “What about me?”

Well some people call him the space cowboy and some the gangster of love.

To the rest of us he’s The Djoker and he very well can be on his first US Open title.

Actually, Djokovic is having a very good year, winning both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, while getting to the Semifinals of the French Open. If he continues on his torrid pace and takes the crown in Flushing Meadows, it may go down as the best year for a player in history.

 

Sounds big,” he laughed when asked the question. “No, this year has been tremendous, best so far in my career, and there has been a lot of talks about history making and this incredible run.

“No doubt I’m extremely honored and privileged to be part of the elite of the players that have made, you know, the history of the sport in some ways.

“But my main focus is really on the court.  I need to take one match at a time.  That’s the only way I can really perform well.”

For any athlete, especially one like Djokovic, staying healthy is the most important aspect to winning. After Wimbledon, the 24 year had shoulder problems, which caused him to sit out the rest of the summer after the Cincinnati Open.

“Well, the shoulder in Cincinnati didn’t feel good obviously, and throughout the whole week I was carrying the, you know, kind of pain and discomfort in my shoulder,” Djokovic said. “But after Cincinnati I took some time off, and I did everything in order to recover the shoulder.  Today I didn’t feel any pain.  I served well and I played well, so I have no concern.”

Yet the rest of the field may have some concerns, especially with this champion stepping up his game. Although an American audience will root for Mardy Fish or Andy Roddick to advance, the tennis watching world probably is pulling for a Djokovic to take on Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.

Yet, that’s still pretty far off in the future, as it’s a long two weeks. The Dark Knight will wait for the Djoker. Up until then Flushing Meadows will enjoy this young attacker, who is enjoying a resurgence after ticking off the crowd with some on the court comments a few years ago, making him an arch villain.

“Well, you know, it’s equally important, of course, to play well on the court and to do your job to win, you know,” he said. “As much as you’re successful and as much as you win, you get more attention from the media and from the people, and you get more respect, obviously, from your colleagues.

“But I think it’s really important as well to carry yourself off the court in a good way.  I have been learning that throughout my whole career, and last couple of years I have experienced some good and bad situations on and off the court.

“But I accepted that all as a big lesson in my life and, you know, something that can serve me well for my future.  You know, I’m aware of the responsibility that I have as a present No. 1 to, you know, represent the sport as well in some ways off the court.

“So I need to do that in a best possible way.  You know, I’m trying.  You tell me, how am I doing?”

Pretty well, Novak. Pretty well.

 

 

 

Australian Open Men’s Finals Presentation

Below is the finals presentation for Novak Djokovic after he beat Andy Murray in the 2011 Australian Open Finals, 6-4 6-3 6-3 to win his second Grand Slam title.

Djokovic won the crown after being both Roger Federer and Andy Murray in straight sets.

Djokovic On Track To Be Next Great

To some he’s the Djoker, the tennis player with a sense of humor. It doesn’t matter to him if his humor offends, as it’s his way of blowing off steam.

But for many years, Novak Djokovic was the best of the rest. The top player in the world not named Federer or Nadal. Now, though that has changed.

After his complete demolition of No. 5 seed Andy Murray, 6-4 6-2 6-3, to win the 2011 Australian Open, Djokovic vaulted himself up into the land of Federer and Nadal with his second OZ Open win and that makes it twice in four years.

“This was a great match,” Djokovic said. “From the start to the last point, I did what I intended of doing tactically, what I talked with my coach, what I prepared for. Physically I was very fit. I had two days between the semifinals and finals match, which was important at this stage of the tournament.

“Because I was aware of the fact that I am going to yeah, bring it to me. That will have long rallies and I will have a player who doesn’t miss a lot, a very talented player who is one of the best returners in the game.

“And, yeah, you know, I had to step in. That was the key. When I had the chance to step in and try to move him around the court, that’s what I did. Probably the turning point was the last game of the first set where we had some incredible exchange from the baseline, long rallies, and some passing shots that turned the match around.”

For all his talent, the knock on Djokovic was that he suffered from some mental mistakes, which would keep him for vaulting over players like Federer and Nadal. But something seemed to click late last year, which made him mentally tougher and kept his emotions in check.

“Something switched in my head, because I am very emotional on and off the court,” he said. “I show my emotions. This is the way I am. Everybody’s different.

“The things off court were not working for me, you know. It reflected on my game, on my professional tennis career. But then, you know, I settled some things in my head. It was all on me. You know, I had to try to find the best possible solution and try to get back on the right track.

“It’s been a big mental struggle, because I was trying to separate my, of course, professional life from my more private life.

“But, you know, if somebody’s emotional we’re all humans. It’s not possible. If something isn’t working off court, then it’s going to reflect on the court. I managed to solve that problems.

“This is all part of life. Of course, everybody’s facing difficult situations in their lives. To overcome the crisis and to stand up and try to still dedicate yourself to the sport was a big success for me as a person.”

With Roger Federer now on the downside of his career and Rafael Nadal taking up the mantle of the world’s best player, Djokovic is gaining ground in becoming the yin to Nadal’s yang. All great champions have one. Nadal was Federer’s Andre Agassi was Pete Sampras, and so forth. And after straight sets wins over Federer and Murray in the Semifinals and Finals, Djokovic is approaching that level.

Yet, according to the 23 year-old, there is still a gap.

“Still Rafa and Roger are the two best players in the world,” Djokovic said. “No question about that. You can’t compare my success and Murray’s success to their success. They’re the two most dominant players in the game for a while. All the credit to them.

“It’s nice to see that there are some new players in the later stages of Grand Slams fighting for a title. That’s all I can say.”

And it’s nice to see the Serbian win this one. Djokovic will be trying to improve his standing on other surfaces as he never got past the Semifinals at Roland Garros or Wimbledon. Yet, the he seems to be ready for the challenge.

“I don’t want to stop here,” he said. Definitely I want to keep my body healthy, fit, and ready for some more challenges to come. I feel that I have a good game for all the surfaces. I have proven that in the past.”

Lineup For Indian Wells Announced

With the Australian Open concluding this weekend, the next major stop on the tennis calendar will be the BNP Paribas Open, the most-attended tennis tournament outside of the Grand Slams. Once again the tournament, to be held March 7-20 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will feature hundreds of the best players in the world, including the top three players on both tours – Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki (No. 1), Roger Federer and Vera Zvonareva (No. 2) and Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters (No. 3).

Nadal, who had an incredible season in 2010 capturing three of the four majors, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, will be in search of his third crown in Indian Wells (2007, 2009), and would join Jimmy Connors, Michael Chang and Federer as three-time winners of the BNP Paribas Open. Wozniacki became the 20th World No. 1 in WTA history last year, and captured six titles. A finalist at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open, she is seeking her first Grand Slam title this week at the Australian Open and is into the semifinals.

Federer, who is the only man to ever win the BNP Paribas Open three years in a row (2004-2006), bookended 2010 by winning the sixteenth major of his career in Australia in January and the ATP World Championships in the final week of the season. A win this week would continue to increase his all-time leading major title record. Zvonareva had a fantastic 2010 reaching the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, and climbing to an all-time high ranking of No. 2 in the world. The 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion has another shot at a major title this week at the Australian Open.

Djokovic had another strong campaign in 2010, and entrenched himself further into the Serbian history books  by helping his country capture its first ever Davis Cup title with a win over France in December. The 2008 BNP Paribas Open champion is trying to capture the second major of his career this week in Australia, with the first coming in 2008 in the land down under. Clijsters, who has three major titles, including the last two US Open’s, will look to become the only woman to ever win the BNP Paribas Open singles title three times (2005, 2003). She is currently in the hunt this weekend for her fourth Grand Slam title and her first at the Australian Open.

In addition to these six stars, the fields will feature a host of others who have captured titles in Indian Wells including the last six women to win the title – defending champion Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic (2008), Daniela Hantuchova (2007, 2002), Southern California resident Maria Sharapova (2006), Zvonareva and Clijsters. On the men’s side, defending champion Ivan Ljubicic and Lleyton Hewitt (2001-2002) join Nadal, Federer and Djokovic as former champions in the draw.

In addition to these champions, numerous other top ten stars such as Robin Soderling (No. 4), Andy Murray (No. 5), Tomas Berdych (No. 6), David Ferrer (No. 7), American Andy Roddick (No. 8), Fernando Verdasco (No. 9), Mikhail Youhzny (No. 10), Samantha Stosur (No. 6), Francesca Schiavone (No. 7) and World No. 9 Victoria Azarenka will also vie for the title. Other American stars that will compete include Mardy Fish, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sam Querrey, Melanie Oudin, John Isner and the World No. 1 doubles team, Mike and Bob Bryan, who will be seeking to capture one of the few titles that have eluded them in their record-setting career.

One of the new additions for the players and fans this year will be the addition of Hawkeye replay technology and video displays on all match courts. While most tournaments feature Hawkeye replay technology and video displays on one, two, or three courts, none have made it available on eight match courts.

The women’s qualifying draw will take place March 7-8 and the men’s qualifying rounds will be held March 8-9. There will be 48 players in each draw vying for 12 spots in the main draws. First-round play will begin Wednesday, March 9 for the women and Thursday, March 10 for the men. The men’s and women’s singles championship finals will be held on Sunday, March 20. For information or to buy tickets, visit www.bnpparibasopen.com, call the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 800-999-1585, or visit the box office, 78-200 Miles Avenue, Indian Wells, CA 92210.