2015/05/04

Novak Djokovic Defends Title at Paris Masters for 600th Win

Djokovic wins Bercy

(November 2, 2014) Novak Djokovic became the first player to defend the Paris Masters title with an easy 6-2, 6-3 win over Milos Raonic on Sunday.

The Serbian world No. 1’s victory secured his 20th ATP Masters 1000 title and 600th match win on the ATP World Tour. Djokovic is just the 23rd man to reach 600 win mark. It’s his first title victory as a father as his wife Jelena gave birth to son Stefan on October 22.

“This win is for my son, this is the first tournament I won since becoming a dad,” he said.

“I thought (Djokovic) played some great tennis,” Raonic said. “He neutralized my serve well. Even when I was able to open him on the backhand side, he was moving really well. He was always getting two hands on it.

“He was always playing deep. He didn’t really give me too many looks. Even on the break chances I had, he played them well. He just made life difficult for me today.”

 

“I played the best match of the entire week today when it was most needed,” said Djokovic. “I got a lot of returns back and just overall I’m extremely happy with the performance.”

The 27-year-old Djokovic, who strolled through the draw without losing a set is closer to solidifying a third year-end No. 1 ranking, extending his lead over No. 2 Roger Federer.

“I see it better now than one week ago, that’s for sure,” said Djokovic on the battle for year-end No. 1. ” It helps that I won the title in Paris-Bercy, that I’m playing well, and that I’m feeling good about myself on the court playing indoors. That encourages me, as I said before, prior to the last event of the year.”

Next stop for Djokovic will be the ATP Finals in London from November 9-16.

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Djokovic Wins Paris Masters, His 40th ATP World Tour Title

Djokovic winner

By Florian Heer

 

(November 3, 2013) PARIS – The last ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season featured two of the top three players at the top of the rankings as world No. 2 Novak Djokovic met defending champion David Ferrer for the 16th time. Before Sunday’s final the Serb led 10-5 head-to-head and also won the last four meetings.

 

Sunday’s encounter became and exciting and highly entertaining one with long rallies, particularly at the beginning of the match. Ferrer gained his first break point after 18 minutes in the fifth game and capitalized on it through a beautiful drop shot after one of the week’s longest rallies – 36 shots. The Spaniard saved break points in the following and confirmed the lead. Djokovic was breathing heavily after six games already and it was the Serb, who paid the physical price for the tough rallies in the beginning of the match. From then on, however, Djokovic successfully tried to shorten the rallies. In a very efficient way, the 2009 Paris champion won four games in a row to take the opening frame after 53 minutes.

 

Ferrer grabbed the momentum back with a break in the opening game of the second set, which would become a copy of the first set. Again in the tenth game, the Spaniard couldn’t serve out  the set and Djokovic came back from 3-5 down to even at 5-5 in first place and eventually take the break in the twelfth game and therewith the match. After one hour and 52 minutes of a hard fight, Ferrer seemed to be tired and the “Djoker” took the encounter winning 7-5, 7-5. The Serb gained his sixth title of the season, the 40th in his career, and keeps his hopes alive for finishing No.1 by winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next week.  “It’s always a pleasure to play against David,” Djokovic told the crowd at the fully packed Palais Omnisports in Bercy in his best French. “Today I was really lucky in the crucial parts of the match. The crowd was really great this week, without the supporters this would not have been possible. I worked really hard to play well here and I’m so happy to gain the title,” the Serb said.

 

“I am definitely playing the best tennis this year now. I’m playing on a very high level and have lots of confidence in myself, in my game.

“I knew that coming into the match I’m going to have to work for my points. He’s a great competitor, one of the most respected guys on tour because he works hard and he’s very humble and he’s a very nice person.

“It was very physical, trust me. But in the last few games of both sets it was mental in the end, just trying to show your opponent that you’re there, that you want to attack, that you want to take your opportunities.

“From tomorrow I’m going to start thinking about London. From tonight, actually. Because on Tuesday night I play Federer already, a huge challenge for me.”

 

“I think it was a really good match, really good rallies,“ Ferrer said. „I played maybe better than yesterday, and I lost.

“I am happy with my game, because the last few tournaments I [played well] and I am happy with myself. Now I want to relax and be with my team, and tomorrow I travel to London for the last tournament of the season.”

 

In the morning the two top-seeded doubles teams consisting of Bob & Mike Bryan as well as Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, met for the title. In the opening set it was Soares of the Austrian-Brazilian-combination, who lost his serve twice and in the second, it was Peya. Consequently the US-American twins captured their 11th title of the season winning 6-3, 6-3 in one hour.

 

“It was great week for us,“ Bob Bryan said. “We’re very happy with our performance against a team that has had a fantastic year and who is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. Hopefully this bodes well for the last tournament of the season.

“This city has been good to us during our careers. We appreciate the support from the Parisian crowd and today’s atmosphere was fantastic for doubles. We’ll travel onto London tonight and we look forward to playing at The O2, another venue where the spotlight shines brightly on our sport.”

 

“An extraordinary tournament with all the best players at the top of the game led to a fantastic week,” the tournament director Guy Forget concluded.

 

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Ferrer Defeats Qualifier Janowicz for Paris Masters Title

(November 4, 2012) World No. 5 David Ferrer won his first Masters 1000 of his career by defeating qualifier Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday for BNP Paribas Masters crown. This was the Spaniard’s fourth masters final.

Poland’s Janowicz, ranked 69th in the world coming into the tournament knocked out five of the top 20 players in the world including No. 3 Andy Murray to advance to the final. His ranking will move up to No. 26 in the world.

Ferrer now leads the tour this year in titles won with seven. Ferrer heads to London to play the ATP World Tour Finals next.

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Why Slowed Down Courts are Hurting Tennis

Britain’s Andy Murray returns the ball to Andy Roddick of the U.S. during the Paris Masters tennis tournament, November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen (FRANCE – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

By Tumaini Carayol

(November 8, 2011) PARIS – Over the last three months, we have watched as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have go on the warpath against the various tennis governing bodies. It all started at the US Open when Nadal, Murray and company were put on-court in New York while the conditions were still damp. Following that incident, the pair both threatened strike action as they listed off all the ATP, ITF and USTA’s policies they deemed detrimental to the tour and the players – from the length of the season to the amount of mandatory tournaments, and so on. Interestingly however, neither player mentioned perhaps tennis’ biggest issue in 2011 – surface homogenization and the slowing down of all playing surfaces in sight.

 

The slowing down of certain surfaces is hardly a new issue. For the past ten years, Wimbledon and other grass tournaments have all taken steps to reduce the speed of their courts. The ATP and WTA recognized the All England Club’s steps to slow down their treasured grass courts and followed suit, annexing the carpet surface to nothing but a memory of a distant past. None of the organizations have ever given a concrete reason for the dramatic change we have seen over the years and it has been left up to the masses to speculate – many believe it was to dilute the Federer and Williams dominance of the early-mid 2000s and/or in order to promote the defense-based baseline style of play that is all the rage in 2011.

 

This year in Paris, Bercy, the same has happened. In recent years Bercy has always been the anomaly in the ATP tour, with its super-fast indoor courts often producing surprise champions. But after last year saw Robin Soderling crowned as champion, the organizers made the deliberate decision to slow down the surface allegedly based on complaints from players that the courts were too fast. And not just a little bit either. In his pre-tournament news conference, second seeded Andy Murray described the courts as “very, very slow” with Fernando Verdasco later echoing those thoughts. Moreover, it’s also plain for spectators to see, with the ball bouncing high and moving painfully slowly through the Bercy courts.

 

Of course, many will automatically ask what the problem is. Since most of the players are said to have specifically asked for the courts to be slowed down, surely there’s nothing else to discuss, right? Wrong. Instead, the tour is becoming increasingly backwards as the ATP’s own decision to slow down the courts cripple their very sport.

 

First, there are issues from a purely entertainment and traditional point of view. What makes tennis so unique is the variety of surfaces and the way in which the surfaces compare and contrast against each other. It forces players to come up with different game-plans on different surfaces against different players and means that total domination is next to impossible due to the rigors and difficulty of adapting to each and every surface. Even Federer at his very best was routinely beaten by many a player on his least favorite surface. And it comes as no surprise that Novak Djokovic’s spectacular year – arguably one of the best and most consistent seasons in history – has come in 2011 as most major surfaces have become almost identical.

 

But it is far from just an aesthetic and cosmetic problem. Traditionally, clay is by far the most grueling and toughest surface on the body, and the faster surfaces have always provided a heavy contrast to the red dirt – allowing players to shorten points, attack and somewhat protect and preserve the body. The slowing down of the courts has taken this away, with most courts coming glorified clay court. It means that players are having to put their bodies under immense pressure day in and day out and it’s leading to increasingly more injuries. Again, it’s no surprise that after a long and grueling season, this US Open broke the record for most withdrawals and retirements in a single tournament.

 

Thus, that the players specifically demanded the court surface to be changed is where the biggest problem lies. While many are hailing Murray and Nadal’s decision to speak up against the ATP tour and calling for the players to bond together to have a bigger say in the goings-ons of their tour, the problem is that even those players don’t always make the decision that will best-benefit their bodies and their sport. With the grinding baseliner style of play dominating tennis in 2011, when given the choice – as they were here in Bercy – players will naturally pick the decision that will benefit their own games and tennis results over anything else. And backwards the tour goes.

Tumaini Carayol is in Paris/Bercy covering the BNP ParIbas Masters  for Tennis Panorama News. He is a  contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault. Follow his BNP Paribas Masters coverage here and on our twitter account @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter at @FootFault_.

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