2014/10/24

Djokovic Survives Mighty Challenge From Wawrinka to Advance to Quarterfinals

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By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 20, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – The Australian Open produced it’s greatest match of 2013 and one of the best in recent times as Novak Djokovic triumphed over Stanislas Wawrinka in a five hour and three minute thriller on Rod Laver Arena that ended just after 1.30am on Monday morning.

 

The 1-6, 7-5, 6-4,,6-7(5), 12-10 epic was an incredible demonstration of tennis at its best, Wawrinka playing the match of his life and blitzing forehand and backhand winners all over the court while Djokovic proved why he is number one in the world, fighting back from a set and 2-5 down to claw his way to victory.

 

“I’m very glad to be a winner of another marathon,” Djokovic said after the match. He won the 2012 final against Rafael Nadal in an epic five setter that lasted just shy of six hours and ended in the early hours of the Monday morning.

 

The match proved to be a war of attrition and it seemed unfair that either player should lose, having poured all of their sweat and tears into the battle. Djokovic said that matches like these are the ones tennis players live and train for and because they are physically and mentally draining players have to be prepared to push to the limits.

 

“I know I can recover. I know I have it in me. I wasn’t too much worried about the physical part. I was ready for it. I was ready to go the distance, and I’ve done so. Hopefully I can take that day off tomorrow and recover for quarters.”

 

Djokovic was asked where this match ranked between the other dramatic matches he’s played in.

 

“Well, it definitely ranks right at the top. One of the longest, most interesting, and most exciting matches I played in my career.”

 

“You know, he had many chances to be the winner of this match. He had a better start; he had a lot of break balls in the third; he was a break up; he was the one being aggressive, being in the court.”

 

“All the credit to him. I feel sorry that one of us had to lose. He definitely deserved to win.”

 

Wawrinka came out all guns blazing to begin the match and began smashing forehand and one handed backhand winners all over the court. The Swiss No. 2 shocked the crowd and his opponent as he completely dominated the first set and rushed to a 6-1 lead in just 25 minutes.

 

Wawrinka again dominated play and fired winners from everywhere in the second set, at one stage leading 5-2. He failed to serve out a two sets to love lead however and let the world number one back into the match, Djokovic rallying to claim the set 7-5.

 

“And even though when I was 6-1, 5-2 down, I believed that I can come back if I am two sets down. I’ve been in those situations before. I was just outplayed by my opponent. He was better on the court for first hour and a half, no question about it,” Djokovic said after the match. “In this circumstances when you’re not playing the way you want to play, you just try to fight and hope for the best.”

 

Djokovic’s confidence grew during the third set as he began to play aggressively and force Wawrinka into making errors. Djokovic had momentum on his side and claimed the third set 6-4 in 45 minutes.

 

The fourth set was a tighter affair culminated in a tie-break situation. Wawrinka managed to get the mini-break early on and closed out the set with a scintillating forehand drive winner down the line.

 

By the fifth set there was talk of the match being the best of the tournament and a lot of talk about the Swiss’ phenomenal one handed backhands, powerful serve and pounding forehands.

 

Wawrinka began to cramp coming into the fifth set but continued to play like he had nothing to lose. On many change of ends he was given massages on his thighs from the trainer to keep himself limber and able to continue to match it against the top player in the world.

 

The unluckiest moment came for the Swiss when he had break point opportunities in the ninth game of the set, Wawrinka deciding not to challenge on his forehand return being called long by the linesman in which television footage of hawkeye clearly showed that it was in. Had he challenged on the visibly questionable call he would have had the chance to serve out the match in the tenth game. Instead he played catch up the entire time as the set remained level with the Serbian serving first.

 

The players continued fighting strong as the match wore on and at 11-10 in the final set Djokovic had his first opportunities to close out the match. Wawrinka saved the first two attempts but the confidence that comes from winning three Australian Open crowns is what got Djokovic over the line in the end, the match won from a stellar Djokovic backhand cross court winner from the baseline.

 

To celebrate, Djokovic warmly embraced his opponent at the net then ripped off his shirt as he did in the 2012 final.

 

Before this match Wawrinka’s defining moment had been his doubles Gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with countryman Roger Federer. Wawrinka acknowledged the crowd who gave him a standing ovation at the conclusion of the match and cheered loudly for him as he left emotionally and physically wrecked from the court.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Players React to Lance Armstrong in Notes and Quotes

Players at the Australian Open were asked about Lance Amstrong in the January 18, 2013 news conferences.

 

Q.  There was a lot of talk today about the Lance Armstrong interview.  Did you catch any of it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I saw a little bit of it, yeah.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts on his admission today, how he justified it as not cheating?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it’s just a really sad story, sad for that sport itself.  I’m happy that our sport is as clean as it can be and that we’re constantly tested.  You know, we give whereabouts of where we are every single day of the year.  Hopefully not on birthdays and Christmas Eve, that would be pretty tough.

Although they did show up on my birthday and I was very disappointed.  They did a couple of years ago.  I said, Unless you bring flowers, I’m okay with it.  But they came empty‑handed (laughter).

So as long as we’re getting tested, whatever it takes, urine, blood, we’re all here to make the sport as clean as it can be.

 

Q.  Do you feel tennis is pretty clean at this moment?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I do very much.  For the amount of times that we get tested throughout the year and as random as they are, definitely.

 

 

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti doping.  I was actually doing my pre season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  How comfortable are you that drug testing in tennis is rigorous enough?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, in tennis, you know, at least from my perspective, it’s really good.  Anti doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are.

But on the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to test you.  And you know it is the same for the other players.  At least from that point of view it’s fair.  And I have nothing against, you know, the anti doping federation, association, testing me 10, 20, 30 times a year.

I think as long as I know as many numbers of testing for the other players, I’ll be happy.

 

Q.  How about blood testing?  The ITF records tell us in the whole of 2011 there was only 18 blood tests taken of the top players.  How often would you or Andy or Roger or Rafa be blood tested?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months.  It was more regularly in last two, three years ago.  I don’t know the reason why they stopped it.

As I said, I mean, as long as it’s fair, it’s clean, we’re trying to protect the identity of this sport.  I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports.

So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing.

 

Q.  Would you disagree with Darren Cahill who said today that he believes the Anti Doping Program in tennis is inadequate and it’s been going backwards in recent years?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What is the reason for that?

 

Q.  That’s his opinion.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I mean, I don’t know.  There has to be a reason why he said that, backstory.

I know Darren.  He’s a great guy, somebody that knows tennis really well, so must be something why he said that.

But in my opinion, yeah, there has been a complaints from players in few years, last few years, about this whereabouts system.  Why do we need to write where we are every single day of our 365 days when most of the time we’re spending on the courts and so forth.

Maybe that is something that is, you know, questionable.  But on the other hand as many urine, as many blood sample tests they take, the better.  Then you’re aware that it’s a clean sport and everybody has the same treatment.

 

Q.  I think part of the issue is out of competition blood testing is expensive to carry out.  Do you think the ITF should make it more of a priority to spend more money on that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, it’s a question for them, I guess.  From my point, I mean, I was more than clear.  I have nothing against the blood tests, you know.

Even though I prefer urine more.  I don’t like the needles too much.  But, of course, I mean, you know, the money in that direction should be invested because, you know, it’s always let’s say a safeguard for our sport that they’re investing money in our sport that is going to protect our sport and players.

 

Q.  A lot of cycling fans have lost a lot of faith in that sport now.  Do you think tennis fans should be confidant that nothing like this…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I lost a lot of faith in cycling.  I used to watch it.  All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong.  Yeah, I don’t want to say all.  I really don’t know.  There has been so much controversy about that sport.

I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.

But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time.  I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles.  Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.  As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.

 

Q.  Do you think tennis fans should have faith that that won’t happen the same way?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The results are showing that.  In last few years there maybe has been one or two cases, but those players were more or less outside of the hundred.  We are keeping this sport clean.  We are working towards it.  There is awareness with the players and with the officials.  As long as is like that, we are in a good road.

 

Q.  Would you be in favor of like a biological passport program that they’re instituting in cycling for tennis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, you know, we can discuss about the options for a while.  But generally I believe that the present regulations about anti doping tests in tennis are good, in my views.  I don’t think there should be any major changes because, as you know, it’s official.  We have to write where we are every day of our lives so they have an opportunity to test us every day of 365 days in a year.

I think that doesn’t give anybody a chance to do something that is unsportsmanlike.

 

 

 

Q.  The Lance Armstrong interview today, I was wondering what your thoughts are on drug testing in tennis?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  I’m not going to say nothing because I didn’t see nothing about that.  I want to see before to speak.

I don’t know what happened.

Q.  My question is what about the authorities in tennis are doing.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  You need to ask to someone better than me because I not going to say nothing.  Sorry.  It’s a very important things, and I not going to talk.

I thinks our sport is clear, is fair, and I won’t believe that is the only thing I can say.

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance‑enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti‑doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti‑doping.  I was actually doing my pre‑season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  On a non‑tennis note, did you watch any of Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  No, I didn’t.

Q.  Is it something that players are talking about, his confession to doping?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I think everyone is pretty much focused on the tennis.  Maybe other players are talking about it.  I have no idea.

Q.  Do you have any reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I can’t talk about anything I don’t know anything about, so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.  I’m not an expert on that stuff.  That’s all I can say.

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Djokovic Wins 17th Straight in Melbourne; Comments on Lance Armstrong

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(January 18, 2013) Novak Djokovic won his 17th straight match at the Australian Open, defeating Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in the third round on Friday.

Djokovic is the two-time defending champion at Melbourne Park is looking to become the first man in the Open Era began in 1968 to win three in a row.

The match with Stepanek  which took 2 hours and 22 minutes was an entertaining one with the Czech constantly making dashes to the net and keeping up with pace of Djokovic’s shots.

“I wasn’t expecting an easy match coming into the third round and playing a seeded player, “Djokovic said.  “Top 30 in the world.  Somebody that has a lot of experience playing on the tour.

“He loves the big stage.  You saw how much fun he had.  I also had a lot of fun playing.  It was a very entertaining match.  As I said on the court, he’s very skillful, comes to the net, never gives you the same ball twice.  That’s something that makes him a different player from most of the guys.”

With Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey airing in the United States on Thursday night, Armstong admitted to doping  and Djokovic was asked his opinion about the cyclist.

“He cheated the sport,” said the Serb.  “He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story.  I think they should take all his titles away because it’s not fair towards any sportsman, any athlete.  It’s just not the way to be successful.  So I think he should suffer for his lies all these years.’

“I lost a lot of faith in cycling, “ Djokovic continued.  “I used to watch it.  All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong.  Yeah, I don’t want to say all.  I really don’t know.  There has been so much controversy about that sport.

“I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.

“But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time.  I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles.  Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.  As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.”

Djokovic was also asked about tennis’ anti-doping measures:

Well, in tennis, you know, at least from my perspective, it’s really good.  Anti doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are.

But on the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to test you.  And you know it is the same for the other players.  At least from that point of view it’s fair.  And I have nothing against, you know, the anti doping federation, association, testing me 10, 20, 30 times a year.

I think as long as I know as many numbers of testing for the other players, I’ll be happy.

I wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months.  It was more regularly in last two, three years ago.  I don’t know the reason why they stopped it.

As I said, I mean, as long as it’s fair, it’s clean, we’re trying to protect the identity of this sport.  I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports.

So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing.

 

But in my opinion, yeah, there has been a complaints from players in few years, last few years, about this whereabouts system.  Why do we need to write where we are every single day of our 365 days when most of the time we’re spending on the courts and so forth.

Maybe that is something that is, you know, questionable.  But on the other hand as many urine, as many blood sample tests they take, the better.  Then you’re aware that it’s a clean sport and everybody has the same treatment.

Djokovic will play the winner of the Sam Querrey – Stan Wawrinka match in the fourth round.

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