February 24, 2017

2017 Australian Open – Day 8 Men’s Preview

 

2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 8 MEN’S NOTES

Monday 23 January

Dominic Thiem

Round of 16 Bottom Half

 

Featured matches

 

No. 3 Milos Raonic (CAN) v No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)

No. 6 Gael Monfils (FRA) v No. 9 Rafael Nadal (ESP)

No. 8 Dominic Thiem (AUT) v No. 11 David Goffin (BEL)

No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v (WC) Denis Istomin (UZB)

 

On court today…

 

  • Milos Raonic – the highest seed left in the draw following Andy Murray’s exit on Sunday – will look to secure his place in the quarterfinals here for a 3rd straight year when he takes on No. 13 seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Hisense Arena. The world No. 3 has won all 4 of their previous meetings, dropping just one set in the process, and will hope for another strong showing against the Spaniard as he targets a place in his 6th Grand Slam quarterfinal. Bautista Agut, who has lost all 6 of his previous appearances in the round of 16 at the majors, is aiming to breakthrough to the last 8 at a major for the first time today.

 

  • Gael Monfils and Rafael Nadal will meet for the 15th time, but only the 3rd time at a Grand Slam, when they go head-to-head in the night match on Rod Laver Arena. Nadal is eyeing a place in his 30th Grand Slam quarterfinal, which would see him close the gap on Ivan Lendl in 5th place on the list for most Grand Slam quarterfinals reached in the Open Era. Meanwhile, a second straight appearance in the last 8 here for Monfils, and a 9th Grand Slam quarterfinal overall, would see him move into joint 3rd place alongside Sebastien Grosjean and Henri Leconte on the list of most major quarterfinals reached by a Frenchman.

 

  • Novak Djokovic’s conqueror, Denis Istomin, will hope to continue his dream Australian Open when he bids for a place in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal against Grigor Dimitrov. The Uzbek is bidding to become just the 2nd wild card in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open after Tomas Smid in 1983, and would become the lowest-ranked man to reach the last 8 here since 1989 if he can upset the Bulgarian.

 

 3 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v NO. 13 ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT (ESP)

Head-to-head: Raonic leads 4-0

2014     Paris-1000                     Hard (I)             R16      Raonic              75 76(7)

2015     St. Petersburg               Hard (I)             SF        Raonic              62 76(2)

2015     Shanghai-1000              Hard (O)           R32      Raonic              64 67(3) 76(5)

2016     Queen’s                        Grass (O)          QF        Raonic              61 64

 

A 5th career meeting between the 2 players and their 4th on a hard court, but their 1st at a Grand Slam.

 

Bautista Agut has won just one set against Raonic – at 2015 Shanghai-1000.

 

RAONIC                                        v                                 BAUTISTA AGUT

 

26                                          Age                                          28

3                                    ATP Ranking                                   14

8                                          Titles                                          5

61-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                      34-17

22-6                         Australian Open Record                         11-5

264-121                              Career Record                              171-109

187-76                         Career Record – Hard                          113-72

5-1                                   2017 Record                                   7-0

5-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              7-0

8-5                           Career Five-Set Record                           7-3

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         1

164-102                      Career Tiebreak Record                         58-44

2-1                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            1-1

 

  • RAONIC is bidding to reach the quarterfinals here for the 3rd straight year.

 

  • Raonic is bidding to reach his 6th Grand Slam quarterfinal and extend his record for the most Grand Slam quarterfinals reached by a Canadian player – man or woman – in history:

 

Player Grand Slam quarterfinals reached
Milos Raonic 5 (Australian Open 2015-16, 2014 Roland Garros, 2014, 2016 Wimbledon)
Carling Bassett-Seguso 4 (1983 Australian Open, 1984, 1986 Roland Garros, 1984 US Open)
Eugenie Bouchard 4 (2014-15 Australian Open, 2014 Roland Garros, 2014 Wimbledon)
Robert Powell 3 (1908, 1910, 1912 Wimbledon)

 

  • Raonic is bidding to record his 5th victory over a Top 20 opponent at the Australian Open. 4 of his 7 Grand Slam wins against Top 20 players have come here – against No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny in 2011, No. 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber in 2013, No. 14 Feliciano Lopez in 2015 and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in 2016. He has a 7-12 win-loss record against Top 20 players at the majors overall.

 

  • Raonic advanced to the round of 16 here for the 5th time after defeating Dustin Brown 63 64 62, Gilles Muller 63 64 76(4) and No. 25 seed Gilles Simon 62 76(5) 36 63 in the opening 3 rounds. This is his 7th Australian Open appearance and his 24th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • If he wins today, Raonic will face either No. 6 Gael Monfils or No. 9 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. He is level with Monfils at 3-3, but trails Nadal 2-6 in their previous meetings.

 

  • Last year here as No. 13 seed Raonic recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the semifinals (l. Andy Murray). He was the first Canadian man – and only the 2nd Canadian player after Eugenie Bouchard – in history to reach the semifinals here.

 

  • Raonic recorded his best Grand Slam result at 2016 Wimbledon when, as No. 6 seed, he became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final, falling to Murray 64 76(3) 76(2). Elsewhere at the Grand Slams last year, he reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Albert Ramos-Vinolas) but fell in the 2nd round at the US Open (l. Ryan Harrison).

 

  • Raonic won his 8th career title at 2016 Brisbane (d. Roger Federer) to maintain his record of winning at least one title every year since winning his first at 2011 San Jose. All 8 of his career titles have come on a hard court. Also in 2016, he finished runner-up at Indian Wells-1000 (l. Novak Djokovic) and fell to Murray in the final at both Queen’s and Wimbledon. He reached 5 further semifinals.

 

  • Raonic reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 on 21 November 2016 after reaching the semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he fell to Murray in the longest 3-set match in the tournament’s history at 3 hours 38 minutes. He plays here on the same ranking of No. 3.

 

  • Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open as top seed and defending champion at Brisbane, where he fell to Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

 

  • Raonic became the first Canadian to be seeded in the men’s singles at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era at 2011 Roland Garros. He plays here seeded No. 3 – his highest Grand Slam seeding.

 

  • Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.

 

  • Raonic started working with former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, who reached the semifinals here in 1992, ahead of the 2017 season. He is also coached by Riccardo Piatti.

 

  • BAUTISTA AGUT is bidding to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the first time.

 

  • Bautista Agut advanced to the round of 16 here for the 3rd time after defeating Guido Pella 63 61 61, Yoshihito Nishioka 62 63 63 and No. 21 seed David Ferrer 75 67(6) 76(3) 64 in the opening 3 rounds.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Bautista Agut has equalled his best Grand Slam performance. He has reached the round of 16 at a major on 6 other occasions – here in 2014 (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and 2016 (l. Tomas Berdych), at the US Open in 2014 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Novak Djokovic), at 2015 Wimbledon (l. Federer) and at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Djokovic). This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 18th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • If he wins today, Bautista Agut will play either No. 6 Gael Monfils or No. 9 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. He trails Monfils 0-3 and Nadal 0-1 in their previous meetings.

 

  • Bautista Agut warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 5th career singles title at Chennai (d. Daniil Medvedev). 3 of his 5 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Bautista Agut is bidding to defeat a Top 10 player at a Grand Slam for the 2nd time. His only win against a Top 10 player in 10 previous attempts at the majors came against No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro in the 2nd round here in 2014.

 

  • Bautista Agut has lost 7 of his last 8 Tour-level matches against Top 10 opposition. His only win in that time came against No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at 2016 Shanghai-1000.

 

  • Bautista Agut’s best results in 2016 were winning the titles at Auckland (d. Jack Sock) and Sofia (d. Viktor Troicki). He also finished runner-up at Winston-Salem (l. Pablo Carreno Busta) and in his first Masters-1000 final at Shanghai (l. Andy Murray), and reached the semifinals at St. Petersburg (l. Stan Wawrinka) and 5 further quarterfinals.

 

  • Bautista Agut reached a career-high ranking of No. 13 in October 2016 after reaching the final at Shanghai-1000. He plays here at No. 14, but seeded No. 13 – his joint-highest Grand Slam seeding. He was also seeded No. 13 here in 2015.

 

  • Bautista Agut has 7-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches. 6 of his 10 five-set matches have come at Melbourne Park. He has a 4-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches here.

 

  • Bautista Agut has played Davis Cup for Spain since 2014. Spain won promotion back into the World Group in 2016 after a two-year absence. They will play Croatia in the World Group first round in Osijek on 3-5 February.

 

  • Bautista Agut is coached by Tomas Carbonell and Pepe Vendrell.

 

6 GAEL MONFILS (FRA) v NO. 9 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP)

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 12-2

2005     AMS Monte Carlo          Clay (O)            R64      Nadal                63 62

2006     AMS Rome                   Clay (O)            SF        Nadal                62 62

2008     AMS Paris                    Hard (I)             R16      Nadal                63 62

2009     Doha                            Hard (O)           QF        Monfils             64 64

2009     Rotterdam                     Hard (I)             SF        Nadal                64 64

2009     US Open                      Hard (O)           R16      Nadal               67(3) 63 61 63

2010     Madrid-1000                  Clay (O)            QF        Nadal                61 63

2010     Tokyo                           Hard (O)           FR        Nadal                61 75

2011     Barcelona                     Clay (O)            QF        Nadal                62 62

2012     Doha                            Hard (O)           SF        Monfils             63 64

2014     Doha                            Hard (O)           FR        Nadal                61 67(5) 62

2014     Australian Open           Hard (O)           R32      Nadal               61 62 63

2015     Stuttgart                       Grass (O)          SF        Nadal                63 64

2016     Monte Carlo-1000          Clay (O)            FR        Nadal                75 57 60

 

A 15th career meeting between these 2 players, but only their 3rd at a Grand Slam event.

 

Monfils won just 6 games in their only previous meeting at the Australian Open in 2014.

 

Both of Monfils’ 2 wins against Nadal came on a Doha hard court – in 2009 and 2012. Nadal has won 6 of the 8 hard court meetings.

 

MONFILS                                       v                                         NADAL

 

30                                          Age                                          30

6                                    ATP Ranking                                    9

6                                          Titles                                         69

85-39                      Career Grand Slam Record                     206-31

24-11                        Australian Open Record                        48-10

394-221                              Career Record                              811-175

249-133                        Career Record – Hard                         386-118

3-0                                   2017 Record                                   5-1

3-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              5-1

15-12                         Career Five-Set Record                          18-8

2                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

159-110                      Career Tiebreak Record                       200-132

1-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-1

 

  • MONFILS is bidding to record his 250th Tour-level hard court match-win today. If he wins today, he would become the 12th active player to record 250 Tour-level hard court match-wins.

 

  • Monfils is bidding to reach the quarterfinals here for the 2nd straight year and become the 5th Frenchman in history to reach multiple Australian Open quarterfinals. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5 quarterfinals), Sebastien Grosjean (4), Guy Forget (2) and Yannick Noah (2) are the only Frenchmen to reach multiple quarterfinals here.

 

  • Monfils is bidding to reach his 9th Grand Slam quarterfinal and equal Sebastien Grosjean and Henri Leconte in joint-3rd place on the list for most Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances by a Frenchman in the Open Era.

Most Grand Slam quarterfinals reached by a Frenchman (Open Era)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 15
Yannick Noah 10
Sebastien Grosjean

Henri Leconte

Gael Monfils??

9

9

9??

 

  • Monfils is looking to record his 25th match-win at the Australian Open and equal Sebastien Grosjean in 2nd place on the list for most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman in the Open Era.

 

                  Most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman (Open Era)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 34
Sebastien Grosjean 25
Gael Monfils 24
Fabrice Santoro

Richard Gasquet

Gilles Simon

22

22

22

Figures correct through the 2017 AO 3rd round and also include Tsonga’s round of 16 win on Sunday

 

  • Monfils is one of 2 Frenchmen through to the round of 16 here along with Tsonga. The last time 2 Frenchmen reached the quarterfinals here was in 2013, when Tsonga and Jeremy Chardy reached the last 8.

 

  • Monfils is bidding to defeat a Top 10 player at the Australian Open for the first time. The highest-ranked player he has defeated here is No. 11 Marcos Baghdatis in 2007.

 

  • Monfils is bidding to end a 5-match losing streak against Top 10 opposition. His last win over a Top 10 player came against No. 7 Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals at 2016 Toronto-1000.

 

  • If Monfils wins today he will play either No. 3 seed Milos Raonic or No. 13 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals. He is level with Raonic at 3-3 but leads Bautista Agut 3-0 in their previous meetings.

 

  • Monfils advanced to the round of 16 for the 3rd time after defeating Jiri Vesely 62 63 62, Alexandr Dolgopolov 63 64 16 60 and No. 32 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 63 76(1) 64 in the opening 3 rounds. This is his 12th appearance at the Australian Open and his 40th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Monfils’ 1st round victory here was his first Tour-level match win since he defeated Kevin Anderson in the 2nd round at 2016 Shanghai-1000 (l. David Goffin). He had previously not played a Tour-level match prior to his opening match here since withdrawing with a rib injury after losing his opening 2 round robin matches at the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

  • Last year here Monfils reached the quarterfinals for the first time on his 11th Australian Open appearance, moving him into joint-2nd place with Mark Woodforde on the Open Era list for the most attempts before reaching the last 8 here. He fell to Milos Raonic 63 36 63 64.

 

  • Monfils’ best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2008 Roland Garros, where ranked No. 59 he lost to Roger Federer 62 57 63 75, and at the 2016 US Open (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2016, Monfils withdrew from Roland Garros with a virus and fell to Jeremy Chardy in 5 sets in the 1st round at Wimbledon. He has a 15-12 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 3-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Monfils’ 2016 highlight was winning his 6th career title at Washington (d. Ivo Karlovic). He also finished runner-up at both Rotterdam (l. Martin Klizan) and Monte Carlo-1000 (l. today’s opponent) and reached 3 further semifinals.

 

  • Monfils reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 on 7 November 2016 and ended the year inside the Top 10 for the first time. He plays here ranked No. 6.

 

  • Monfils is a 2-time Davis Cup finalist, having helped France to the finals in 2010 (l. Serbia) and 2014
    (l. Switzerland). France will play Japan in the World Group first round in Tokyo on 3-5 February.

 

  • Monfils narrowly missed out on achieving the Junior Grand Slam in 2004 after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. His preparation for the junior US Open that year was hampered by a knee injury and he lost in the 3rd round to Viktor Troicki. He was named 2004 ITF Junior Boys’ World Champion. He is the only former junior Australian Open champion to reach the round of 16 from the 7 who started the men’s main draw here.

 

  • Monfils is coached by former world No. 39 Mikael Tillstrom, who reached the quarterfinals here in 1996.

 

  • 2009 Australian Open champion NADAL is bidding to reach the quarterfinals here for the 9th time and join Novak Djokovic in joint-3rd place on the Open Era list for most Australian Open quarterfinal appearances

                                    Most Australian Open quarterfinal appearances (Open Era)

Player No. of appearances
Roger Federer 13??*
Stefan Edberg 10
Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal

9

9??

Ivan Lendl

John Newcombe

8

8

Active players in bold. *Written prior to Federer’s round of 16 match with Nishikori

 

  • Nadal is bidding to reach his 30th Grand Slam quarterfinal and take sole ownership of 6th place on the list for most Grand Slam quarterfinals reached in the Open Era ahead of Pete Sampras.

Most Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances (Open Era)

Player No. of appearances
Roger Federer 49??*
Jimmy Connors 41
Novak Djokovic 37
Andre Agassi 36
Ivan Lendl 34
Rafael Nadal 30??
Pete Sampras 29
Andy Murray 28

       *Written prior to Federer’s round of 16 match with Nishikori

 

  • Nadal is bidding to record his 49th Australian Open match-win and take sole ownership of 4th place ahead of Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and Andy Murray on the Open Era list for the most Australian Open match-wins.

Most Australian Open match-wins (Open Era)

Player Win-loss
Roger Federer 83-13*
Novak Djokovic 58-7
Stefan Edberg 56-10
Andre Agassi

Ivan Lendl

Andy Murray

Rafael Nadal

48-5

48-10

48-12

48-10

Active players in bold. *Written prior to the conclusion of the Federer v Nishikori round of 16 match

 

  • Nadal is bidding to end a 4-match losing streak against Top 10 players. He has not defeated a Top 10 opponent since defeating No. 6 Kei Nishikori to win the title at 2016 Barcelona.

 

  • Nadal is bidding to defeat a Top 10 player at a Grand Slam for the first time since he defeated No. 2 Novak Djokovic to win the title at 2014 Roland Garros. He has lost both of his last 2 meetings with Top 10 players at the majors – falling to No. 7 Tomas Berdych at the 2015 Australian Open and No. 1 Djokovic at 2015 Roland Garros.

 

  • Nadal advanced to the round of 16 here for the 10th time after defeating Florian Mayer 63 64 64, Marcos Baghdatis 63 61 63 and No. 24 seed Alexander Zverev 46 63 67(5) 63 62 in the opening 3 rounds.

 

  • By defeating Zverev in 5-sets in the 3rd round here, Nadal ended a 3-match losing streak in 5-set matches and improved his 5-set record to 18-8. He has a 6-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Melbourne Park.

 

  • If Nadal wins today he will play either No. 3 seed Milos Raonic or No. 13 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals. He leads Raonic 6-2 and Bautista Agut 1-0 in their previous meetings.

 

  • Nadal is bidding to win his 2nd Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions [see Preview page 3].
  • Last year here Nadal lost in the 1st round for the first time in his career, falling to Fernando Verdasco in 5 sets. It was just the 2nd time that he had lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam, having also lost his opening match at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Steve Darcis).

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Nadal reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Lucas Pouille), but gave a walkover in the 3rd round at Roland Garros and missed Wimbledon due to a left wrist injury. This is his 12th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 47th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Away from the majors, Nadal’s best results in 2016 came during the clay court season when he won back-to-back titles at Monte Carlo-1000 (d. Gael Monfils) and Barcelona (d. Kei Nishikori). It was his 9th title at both events, and took his career total to 69 titles. Nadal also reached the final at Doha (l. Djokovic) and the semifinals at 5 other tournaments.

 

  • Also in 2016, Nadal won his 2nd gold medal at the Olympic Tennis Event after clinching the men’s doubles title alongside Marc Lopez at Rio 2016. He narrowly missed out on a medal in singles, falling to Nishikori 62 67(1) 63 in the bronze medal play-off.

 

  • Nadal is looking to win his 15th Grand Slam title and close the gap on Roger Federer in the list of all-time Grand Slam title holders. He is currently joint-2nd with Pete Sampras on the list behind Federer (17). He is one of the 4 Grand Slam champions through to the round of 16 from the 6 who started this year’s men’s main draw.

 

  • Nadal’s best performance at the Australian Open is winning the title in 2009 (d. Federer). He also reached the final in 2012, losing to Djokovic in the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at 5 hours, 53 minutes, and in 2014 (l. Stan Wawrinka).

 

  • Nadal is aiming to win his first hard court tournament in over 3 years. He has not won a hard court tournament since defeating today’s opponent to win 2014 Doha. His total of 16 hard court titles is the 4th highest among active players (behind Federer, Djokovic and Murray).

 

  • Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane (l. Raonic). It was his first tournament since October, when he lost to Viktor Troicki at Shanghai-1000, after he pulled out of Basel, Paris-1000 and the ATP World Tour Finals with a wrist injury.

 

  • Nadal has been coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, for his entire career. He added former Australian Open finalist Carlos Moya to his team ahead of the 2017 season. His fitness trainer is Rafael Maymo.

 

 

 

 8 DOMINIC THIEM (AUT) v NO. 11 DAVID GOFFIN (BEL)

Head-to-head: Goffin leads 4-3

2014     Acapulco Qualifying       Hard (O)           QF        Goffin               36 61 76(1)

2014     Queen’s                        Grass (O)          R64      Goffin               64 62

2014     Kitzbuhel                       Clay (O)            FR        Goffin               46 61 63

2014     Basel                            Hard (I)             R32      Goffin               76(4) 63

2015     Marseille                       Hard (I)             R16      Thiem               5-1 retired (back pain)

2015     Gstaad                         Clay (O)            FR        Thiem               75 62

2016     Australian Open           Hard (O)           R32      Goffin               61 36 76(2) 75

2016     Roland Garros             Clay (O)           QF        Thiem              46 76(7) 64 61

 

An 8th Tour-level meeting for the pair and their 3rd at a Grand Slam. Goffin won their first meeting at a major in the 3rd round here last year, but Thiem won their quarterfinal meeting at Roland Garros later in the year.

 

Goffin leads the head-to-head 2-1 in Tour-level hard court matches. They have also contested two Tour-level finals, with Goffin recovering from a set down to win his first Tour-level title at 2014 Kitzbuhel, and Thiem defeating Goffin for his 3rd career title at 2015 Gstaad.

 

Goffin has never defeated a Top 10 player at a Grand Slam before – his best Grand Slam win came against Thiem, then ranked at No. 20, here last year.

 

THIEM                                         v                                        GOFFIN

 

23                                          Age                                          26

8                                    ATP Ranking                                   11

7                                          Titles                                          2

23-12                      Career Grand Slam Record                      28-18

6-3                          Australian Open Record                          7-3

127-84                               Career Record                              146-105

59-51                          Career Record – Hard                           95-65

5-2                                   2017 Record                                   4-1

5-2                              2017 Record – Hard                              4-1

3-2                           Career Five-Set Record                           8-4

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         1

52-51                        Career Tiebreak Record                         40-46

1-2                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            1-1

 

  • THIEM is bidding to become the first Austrian man to reach the quarterfinals here since Stefan Koubek in 2002. Just 3 Austrian men in history have reached the last 8 here – Peter Feigl (1978), Thomas Muster (1989, 1994, 1997) and Koubek (2002).

 

  • Thiem is also bidding to become just the 2nd Austrian man in history to reach multiple Grand Slam quarterfinals after Muster, who reached a total of 9 Grand Slam quarterfinals between 1989 and 1998.

 

  • Thiem is looking to defeat a Top 20 player at a Grand Slam for the 3rd time. He has never defeated a player ranked as high as No. 11 today’s opponent at a Grand Slam, with his career-best win at a major coming against No. 12 Ernests Gulbis in 5 sets at the 2014 US Open. He has a 2-6 win-loss record against Top 20 opposition at the majors overall.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Thiem has recorded his best Australian Open performance. His previous best performance here was reaching the 3rd round as No. 19 seed last year, falling to today’s opponent. This is his 4th straight Australian Open and his 13th consecutive Grand Slam.

 

  • Thiem defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 46 64 64 63, Jordan Thompson 62 61 67(6) 64 and Benoit Paire 61 46 64 64 in the opening 3 rounds

 

  • If he wins today, Thiem will play either No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov or wild card Denis Istomin in the quarterfinals. He is level with Dimitrov at 1-1 but leads Istomin 2-0 in their previous meetings.
  • Thiem recorded his best Grand Slam performance by reaching the semifinals at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Novak Djokovic). He became the 3rd Austrian man in history to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Muster and Jurgen Melzer. He also broke into the Top 10 for the first time at No. 7.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2016, Thiem reached the round of 16 at the US Open, where he retired with a right knee injury while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 63 3-2, but fell in the 2nd round at Wimbledon (l. Jiri Vesely).

 

  • Thiem won 4 titles in 2016 – at Buenos Aires (d. Almagro), Acapulco (d. Bernard Tomic), Nice (d. Alexander Zverev) and Stuttgart (d. Philipp Kohlschreiber). He was the only player other than Andy Murray to win titles on clay, grass and hard court in 2016. He qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time, defeating Gael Monfils in the group stage but losing to Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

 

  • Thiem warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at both Brisbane (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and Sydney (l. Daniel Evans) after receiving 1st round byes.

 

  • Thiem has never lost a 5-set match on a hard court. He has a 3-0 win-loss record in 5-set matches played on a hard court, and a 3-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall. He won both of the 5-set matches he contested in 2016, defeating Gastao Elias in the first rubber of Austria’s Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I 2nd round tie against Portugal and John Millman in the 1st round at the US Open.

 

  • Thiem is seeded No. 8 here – his joint-highest seeding at a Grand Slam. He was also seeded No. 8 at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

 

  • Thiem has played Davis Cup for Austria since 2014. Austria has been given a first round bye in Europe/Africa Zone Group I this year and will play the winner of the tie between Belarus and Romania in the 2nd round on 7-9 April.

 

  • Thiem is a former junior world No. 2. He reached the boys’ singles final at Roland Garros as No. 14 seed in 2011, losing to Bjorn Fratangelo 36 63 86 and won the 2011 Orange Bowl (d. Patrick Ofner).

 

  • Thiem is coached by Gunter Bresnik.

 

  • GOFFIN is bidding to become the first Belgian man to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

 

  • Goffin is looking to become only the 2nd Belgian man to reach the quarterfinals at 2 different Grand Slam events after Jean Washer (1924 Wimbledon, 1925-26 Roland Garros). He is also looking to become the 5th Belgian man to reach multiple Grand Slam quarterfinals:

 

Belgian men to reach quarterfinals at a Grand Slam (all-time)

Paul de Borman 1904 Wimbledon
Willie de Warzee 1904, 1908 Wimbledon
Jean Washer 1924 Wimbledon, 1925-26 Roland Garros
Jacques Brichant 1956-59 Roland Garros
Philippe Washer 1957 Roland Garros
Filip Dewulf 1997-98 Roland Garros
Xavier Malisse 2002 Wimbledon
David Goffin 2016 Roland Garros, 2017 Australian Open??

 

  • Goffin is bidding to reach the quarterfinals and equal his best Grand Slam result. He reached the quarterfinals at 2016 Roland Garros (l. today’s opponent), becoming just the 2nd Belgian man to reach the last 8 at Roland Garros after Filip Dewulf (1997-98) and only the 3rd Belgian man in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal after Dewulf and Xavier Malisse (2002 Wimbledon). He rose to a career-high ranking of No. 11 as a result – and plays here on the same ranking.

 

  • If he wins today, Goffin will record his 8th Australian Open match-win and tie Malisse and Christophe Rochus at the top of the list for the most Australian Open match-wins by a Belgian man in history:

 

                                               

 

        Australian Open match-wins by Belgian men (all-time)

Player Win-loss at Australian Open
Xavier Malisse

Christophe Rochus

8-12

8-10

David Goffin

Olivier Rochus

7-3

7-11

 

  • Goffin is looking to defeat a Top 10 player at a Grand Slam for the first time on his 10th attempt. The highest-ranked player he has defeated at a major is No. 20 today’s opponent in the 3rd round here last year. Overall, he has a 4-32 win-loss record against Top 10 opposition.

 

  • If he wins today, Goffin will play either No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov or wild card Denis Istomin in the quarterfinals. He trails Dimitrov 0-1 but won his only previous meeting with Istomin at 2016 Wimbledon.

 

  • Goffin progressed to the round of 16 here after defeating qualifiers Reilly Opelka 64 46 62 46 64 and Radek Stepanek 64 60 63, and No. 20 seed Ivo Karlovic 63 62 64 in the opening 3 rounds.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Goffin has become the first Belgian man to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open on multiple occasions. Xavier Daufresne (1994), Christophe Rochus (2000) and Olivier Rochus (2005) are the only other Belgian men to have reached the last 16 at Melbourne Park.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Goffin has equalled his best Australian Open result, having also reached the round of 16 here in 2016 (l. Roger Federer). This is his 4th Australian Open appearance and his 19th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • By defeating Opelka in 5 sets in the 1st round here, Goffin improved his 5-set win-loss record to 8-4. He has won 6 of his last 7 five-set matches, with his only defeat in a 5-set match in that time coming against Milos Raonic in the round of 16 at 2016 Wimbledon. He has a 1-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, as well as reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, Goffin reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, but lost in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Jared Donaldson).

 

  • Goffin’s best results in 2016 are finishing runner-up at Tokyo (l. Nick Kyrgios) and reaching 4 further semifinals, including at back-to-back Masters-1000 events at Indian Wells (l. Raonic) and Miami (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Goffin warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (d. Robin Haase, Fernando Verdasco). He also played at the Kooyong Exhbition Event – defeating Bernard Tomic 62 64 and winning a single set against Ivo Karlovic 76.

 

  • Goffin has played Davis Cup for Belgium since 2012. He helped Belgium reach its first Davis Cup Final since 1904 in 2015, which they lost 3-1 to Great Britain in Ghent. Belgium will play Germany in the World Group first round in Frankfurt on 3-5 February.

 

  • Goffin was taught to play tennis by his father, who is a tennis coach at the Barchon Club in Liege.

 

  • Goffin is coached by Thierry Van Cleemput and trains with the Belgian Tennis Federation in Mons.

 

 15 GRIGOR DIMITROV (BUL) v (WC) DENIS ISTOMIN (UZB)

Tour-level head-to-head: Dimitrov leads 1-0

2009     Besancon Challenger (FRA)       Hard (I)             R32      Istomin             36 62 76(3)

2014     Shanghai-1000                          Hard (O)           R64      Dimitrov            63 63

 

A 2nd Tour-level meeting between the 2 players, who also met on the Challenger circuit 8 years ago.

 

Dimitrov has never lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 at a Grand Slam. The lowest-ranked player to defeat him at a major is No. 95 Joao Sousa at the 2013 US Open.

 

DIMITROV                                      v                                        ISTOMIN

 

25                                          Age                                          30

15                                   ATP Ranking                                  117

5                                          Titles                                          1

36-25                      Career Grand Slam Record                      33-34

14-6                         Australian Open Record                        10-10

224-142                              Career Record                              197-209

137-91                         Career Record – Hard                         111-127

8-0                                   2017 Record                                   3-0

8-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              3-0

5-5                           Career Five-Set Record                          14-7

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

92-76                        Career Tiebreak Record                        101-86

2-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            2-0

 

  • DIMITROV is bidding to reach the quarterfinals here for the 2nd time and equal his best Australian Open result.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best Australian Open result is reaching the quarterfinals here as No. 22 seed in 2014 (l. Rafael Nadal). Last year here he fell to Roger Federer in the 3rd round. This is his 7th consecutive Australian Open appearance and his 26th major overall.

 

  • Dimitrov advanced to the round of 16 here for the 3rd time after defeating wild card Christopher O’Connell 76(2) 63 63, Hyeon Chung 16 64 64 64 and Richard Gasquet 63 62 64 in the opening 3 rounds.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2014 Wimbledon. He defeated defending champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals before losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. He broke into the Top 10 for the first time afterwards at No. 9.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Dimitrov reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Andy Murray) and the 3rd round at both the Australian Open (l. Federer) and Wimbledon (l. Steve Johnson). He fell to Viktor Troicki in 5 sets in the 1st round at Roland Garros. He has a 5-5 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 2-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best results in 2016 were runner-up finishes at Sydney (l. Troicki), Istanbul (l. Diego Schwartzman) and Beijing (l. Murray). He reached 4 further semifinals – at Delray Beach, Cincinnati-1000, Chengdu and Stockholm.

 

  • Dimitrov has won all 3 of his previous meetings with wild cards at the majors – defeating Lucas Pouille at 2013 Roland Garros, Ryan Harrison at the 2014 US Open and O’Connell in the 1st round here.

 

  • Dimitrov reached a career-high ranking of No. 8 in August 2014. He dropped as low as No. 40 on 18 July 2016 – his lowest ranking since February 2013 – but has since climbed back up the rankings and plays here at No. 15.

 

  • Dimitrov warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 5th career title – and first since 2014 Queen’s – at Brisbane (d. Kei Nishikori). 3 of his 5 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Dimitrov finished 2008 as 3 in the ITF Junior Rankings after winning the boys’ singles titles at Wimbledon (d. Henri Kontinen) and the US Open (d. Devin Britton).

 

  • Dimitrov has played Davis Cup for Bulgaria since 2008. He has a 16-1 singles win-loss record in Davis Cup and a 20-4 overall win-loss record. Bulgaria will host – and compete in – the Europe/Africa Zone Group III event in Sozopol in April.

 

  • Dimitrov was part of the ITF 14 & Under European Team in Europe in 2004-05 and the ITF 16 & Under European A Team in Europe in 2006, funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

 

  • Dimitrov started working with Dani Vallverdu, former coach to Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, in July 2016. His physio is Azdine Bousnana.

 

  • Wild card ISTOMIN is bidding to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the first time.

 

  • Ranked No. 117, Istomin is bidding to become the lowest-ranked man to reach the quarterfinals here since No. 300 Goran Ivanisevic in 1989. If he wins today, we would become the first player ranked outside the Top 100 to reach the quarterfinals in Melbourne since No. 105 Mikael Tillstrom in 1996.

 

  • Istomin is bidding to become just the 2nd wild card in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open after Tomas Smid in 1983. By reaching the round of 16 here, he has became the 7th man in the Open Era to reach the round of 16 as a wild card at the Australian Open and the first since Lleyton Hewitt in 2012. Juan Martin del Potro was the last wild card to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam – at the 2016 US Open.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Istomin has equalled his best Grand Slam result. He also reached the round of 16 at 2012 Wimbledon (l. Mikhail Youzhny) and at the 2013 US Open (l. Andy Murray). He is the only Uzbek player (man or woman) to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Istomin advanced to the round of 16 here for the first time after defeating qualifier Ivan Dodig 61 64 36 75 for his first Australian Open match-win since 2014, No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic 76(8) 57 26 76(5) 64 and No. 30 seed Pablo Carreno Busta 64 46 64 46 62.

 

  • Istomin’s 2nd round win over Djokovic saw him become the lowest-ranked player to defeat a No. 2 seed at the Australian Open. It was just his 2nd victory over a Top 10 opponent in 34 attempts and his first win over a Top 10 player at a major.

 

  • Istomin’s 5-set wins over Djokovic and Carreno Busta here improved his win-loss record in 5-set matches to 14-7. They were his first 5-set match-wins at the Australian Open, having lost both of his previous 2 five-set matches here to Andreas Seppi in 2013 and 2015.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Istomin has recorded his best Australian Open result. His previous best result here is reaching the 3rd round in 2010 and 2014, losing to Djokovic on both occasions. He is contesting his 11th Australian Open and his 35th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Istomin is bidding to record 4 consecutive match-wins at a Tour-level event for the 4th time in his career. He also achieved the feat in finishing runner-up at both 2010 New Haven (l. Sergiy Stakhovsky) and 2012 San Jose (l. Milos Raonic), and in winning his first career title at 2015 Nottingham (d. Sam Querrey).

 

  • If he wins today, Istomin will play either No. 8 Dominic Thiem or No. 11 David Goffin in the quarterfinals. He trails Thiem 0-2 and Goffin 0-1 in their previous meetings.

 

  • Istomin earned a wild card into the 2017 Australian Open after defeating Duck Hee Lee to win the Asia Pacific wild card play-off in December 2016. He had saved 4 match points against Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the semifinals.

 

  • By reaching the round of 16 here, Istomin has recorded 3 straight Tour-level match-wins for the first time since he won the title at 2015 Nottingham.

 

  • Istomin’s best results in 2016 were reaching 2nd round at Miami-1000 (l. Andy Murray), where he ended a 7-match Tour-level losing streak, Marrakech (l. Pablo Carreno Busta), Madrid-1000 (l. Tomas Berdych) and Geneva (l. David Ferrer).

 

  • Also in 2016, Istomin finished runner-up at Challengers in Tashkent (UZB) (l. Konstantin Kravchuk) and Astana (KAZ) (l. Yoshihito Nishioka).

 

  • Istomin dropped out of the Top 100 for the first time since January 2010 after losing in the 1st round as defending champion at 2016 Nottingham. He dropped as low as No. 144 in October – his lowest ranking since July 2008 – but plays here ranked No. 117.

 

  • Last year here Istomin fell to Bernard Tomic in the 1st round. He also fell in the 1st round at both Roland Garros (l. Juan Monaco) and the US Open (l. Rafael Nadal).

 

  • Istomin warmed up for the Australian Open at the Bangkok Challenger (THA), where he fell to Christian Garin in the 2nd round.

 

  • Istomin broke his leg in a car accident in 2001 while travelling to a Futures event in Tashkent. He spent 3 months in hospital and did not touch a racket in 2 years, with doctors doubting he would ever play competitive tennis again.

 

  • Istomin has received support from the Grand Slam Development Fund, receiving travel grants in 2004.

 

  • Istomin is coached by his mother Klaudiya Istomina.
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2017 Australian Open – Day 6 Men’s Preview

2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 6 MEN’S NOTES

Saturday 21 January

3rd Round Bottom Half

 

Gael Monfils

Featured matches

 

No. 3 Milos Raonic (CAN) v No. 25 Gilles Simon (FRA)

No. 6 Gael Monfils (FRA) v No. 32 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

No. 8 Dominic Thiem (AUT) v Benoit Paire (FRA)

No. 9 Rafael Nadal (ESP) v No. 24 Alexander Zverev (GER)

No. 11 David Goffin (BEL) v No. 20 Ivo Karlovic (CRO)

No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) v No. 21 David Ferrer (ESP)

No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v No. 18 Richard Gasquet (FRA)

No. 30 Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) v (WC) Denis Istomin (UZB)

 

On court today…

 

  • Denis Istomin will be looking to continue the momentum from his upset victory over 6-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic when he takes on No. 30 seed Pablo Carreno Busta today. Istomin is aiming to record 3 consecutive Tour-level match-wins for the first time since he won his first career title at 2015 Nottingham.

 

  • Alexander Zverev will hope to join older brother Mischa, who defeated Malek Jaziri on Friday, in the round of 16 when he takes on Rafael Nadal on Rod Laver Arena. If he defeats the 2009 champion – which would be his 4th consecutive win against a Top 10 opponent – the Zverevs would become just the 3rd pair of brothers to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam in the Open Era, after Gene and Sandy Mayer at 1979 Wimbledon, and Emilio and Javier Sanchez at the 1991 US Open.

 

  • Zverev is also one of 3 Germans to reach the 3rd round here along with brother Mischa and Philipp Kohlschreiber, who takes on No. 6 seed Gael Monfils on Margaret Court Arena. It is the first time as many as 3 German men have reached the 3rd round at the Australian Open since 2010, when Kohlschreiber, Tommy Haas and Florian Mayer reached this stage. The last time Germany had multiple representation in the round of 16 at the Australian Open was in 2006 (Haas and Nicolas Kiefer).

 

  • Eight of the 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round here are in action today. This is the most 30-somethings through to this stage at the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

 3 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v NO. 25 GILLES SIMON (FRA)

Head-to-head: Raonic leads 3-1

2011     Estoril                           Clay (O)            QF        Raonic              76(4) 46 63

2014     Roland Garros             Clay (O)           R32      Raonic             46 63 26 62 75

2014     Tokyo                           Hard (O)           SF        Raonic              61 64

2015     Queen’s                        Grass (O)          QF        Simon               46 63 75

 

A 5th career meeting between the 2 players, and their 2nd at a Grand Slam. Raonic won their only Grand Slam meeting at 2014 Roland Garros and their only hard court meeting at 2014 Tokyo, but Simon won their most recent clash at 2015 Queen’s.

 

                           RAONIC                                        v                                         SIMON

 

26                                          Age                                          32

3                                    ATP Ranking                                   25

8                                          Titles                                         12

60-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                      74-42

21-6                         Australian Open Record                        22-10

263-121                              Career Record                              407-283

186-76                         Career Record – Hard                         241-161

4-1                                   2017 Record                                   2-1

4-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              2-1

8-5                           Career Five-Set Record                         19-12

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         2

163-102                      Career Tiebreak Record                       130-136

1-1                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-2

 

  • RAONIC is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 5th time. This is his 7th Australian Open appearance and his 24th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Raonic advanced to the 3rd round here after defeating Dustin Brown 63 64 62 and Gilles Muller 63 64 76(4) in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Last year here as No. 13 seed Raonic recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the semifinals (l. Andy Murray). He was the first Canadian man – and only the 2nd Canadian player after Eugenie Bouchard – in history to reach the semifinals here.

 

  • Raonic recorded his best Grand Slam result at 2016 Wimbledon when, as No. 6 seed, he became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final, falling to Murray 64 76(3) 76(2). Elsewhere at the Grand Slams last year, he reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Albert Ramos-Vinolas) but fell in the 2nd round at the US Open (l. Ryan Harrison).

 

  • Raonic won his 8th career title at 2016 Brisbane (d. Roger Federer) to maintain his record of winning at least one title every year since winning his first at 2011 San Jose. All 8 of his career titles have come on a hard court. Also in 2016, he finished runner-up at Indian Wells-1000 (l. Novak Djokovic) and fell to Murray in the final at both Queen’s and Wimbledon. He reached 5 further semifinals.

 

  • Raonic reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 on 21 November 2016 after reaching the semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he fell to Murray in the longest 3-set match in the tournament’s history at 3 hours 38 minutes. He plays here on the same ranking of No. 3.

 

  • Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open as top seed and defending champion at Brisbane, where he fell to Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

 

  • Raonic became the first Canadian to be seeded in the men’s singles at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era at 2011 Roland Garros. He plays here seeded No. 3 – his highest Grand Slam seeding.

 

  • Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.

 

  • Raonic started working with former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, who reached the semifinals here in 1992, ahead of the 2017 season. He is also coached by Riccardo Piatti.

 

  • SIMON is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for 4th time. He is contesting his 11th Australian Open and his 43rd Grand Slam.

 

  • Simon advanced to the 3rd round after defeating wild card Michael Mmoh 61 63 63 in the 1st round and Rogerio Dutra Silva 64 61 61 in the 2nd round.

 

  • Simon is looking to record his 23rd match-win at the Australian Open and surpass Fabrice Santoro in joint 4th place on the list for most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman in the Open Era. Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils, who are also through to the 3rd round here, are also attempting to climb the list.

 

                  Most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman (Open Era)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 33
Sebastien Grosjean 25
Gael Monfils 23
Fabrice Santoro

Richard Gasquet

Gilles Simon

22

22

22

                Figures correct through the 2017 AO 3rd round and include Tsonga’s 3rd round win on Friday

 

  • Last year here, Simon reached the round of 16, losing to Novak Djokovic in 5 sets. Simon has a 19-13 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 7-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Simon reached the 3rd round at Roland Garros (l. Viktor Troicki), but fell in the 2nd round at both Wimbledon (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and the US Open (l. Paolo Lorenzi).

 

  • Simon’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals here in 2009, when he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, and at 2015 Wimbledon, where he lost to Roger Federer. He is contesting his 11th Australian Open and his 43rd Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Simon’s 2016 highlights included reaching the semifinals at both Metz (l. Dominic Thiem) and Shanghai-1000 (l. Andy Murray), and the quarterfinals at Miami-1000 (l. David Goffin), Estoril (l. Pablo Carreno Busta), Nice (l. Alexander Zverev) and Stuttgart (l. Juan Martin del Porto).

 

  • Simon warmed up for the Australian Open at Brisbane, where he lost in the 1st round to Lucas Pouille.

 

  • Simon has won just one of his last 12 matches against Top 5 opposition. The only Top 5 player he has defeated in that time is No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the 3rd round at 2016 Shanghai-1000.

 

  • Simon has won just one match against a Top 5 opponent at a Grand Slam. He defeated No. 5 David Ferrer in the 3rd round at the 2014 US Open. Overall he has a 1-11 win-loss record against Top 5 players at the majors.

 

  • Simon is a former Top 10 player having reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 in January 2009. He plays here ranked No. 25. He has won 12 career singles titles and is the joint-3rd most successful Frenchman in the Open Era with Tsonga in terms of titles won (behind Yannick Noah with 23 and Gasquet with 14).

 

  • Simon is one of 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round This is the most through to this stage of the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

  • Simon is coached by Jan de Witt. His fitness trainer is Paul Quetin.

 

 

 

 

6 GAEL MONFILS (FRA) v NO. 32 PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER (GER)

Head-to-head: Monfils leads 12-2

2008     Vienna                          Hard (I)             SF        Monfils             64 57 76(2)

2009     Metz                             Hard (I)             FR        Monfils             76(1) 36 62

2010     Davis Cup (WG-1R)       Hard (I)             R1        Monfils             61 64 76(5)

2011     Halle                             Grass (O)          SF        Kohlschreiber    63 63

2011     Davis Cup (WG-QF)      Clay (O)            R2        Monfils             76(3) 76(5) 64

2011     Cincinnati-1000              Hard (O)           R16      Monfils             62 62

2012     Madrid-1000                  Clay (O)            R64      Monfils             75 67(2) 63

2012     Metz                             Hard (I)             QF        Monfils             67(3) 64 64

2013     Doha                            Hard (O)           R16      Monfils             64 26 64

2013     Stuttgart                       Clay (O)            QF        Kohlschreiber    64 64

2015     Davis Cup (WG-1R)       Hard (I)             R2        Monfils             64 75 76(4)

2015     Stuttgart                       Grass (O)          QF        Monfils             75 36 63

2015     Umag                           Clay (O)            QF        Monfils             46 76(5) 64

2016     Rotterdam                     Hard (I)             SF        Monfils             63 62

 

A 15th career meeting for the pair – but their first at a Grand Slam. They have, however, played best-of-5-set matches on 3 previous occasions, with Monfils winning all 3 of their Davis Cup encounters in 2010, 2011 and 2015 in straight sets.

 

Kohlschreiber is bidding to end a 4-match losing streak against Monfils, having not defeated the Frenchman since their quarterfinal meeting at 2013 Stuttgart. Monfils has won all 8 of their previous meetings on a hard court.

 

Monfils and Simon are 2 of the 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round here. This is the most through to this stage of the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

                          MONFILS                                       v                                KOHLSCHREIBER

 

30                                          Age                                          33

6                                    ATP Ranking                                   33

6                                          Titles                                          7

84-39                      Career Grand Slam Record                      62-49

23-11                        Australian Open Record                        20-11

393-221                              Career Record                              396-304

248-133                        Career Record – Hard                         195-161

2-0                                   2017 Record                                   5-1

2-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              5-1

15-12                         Career Five-Set Record                         16-10

2                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         2

158-110                      Career Tiebreak Record                       161-153

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            2-2

 

  • MONFILS is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 3rd time. This is his 12th appearance at the Australian Open and his 40th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Monfils is looking to record his 24th match-win at the Australian Open and close the gap on Sebastien Grosjean in 2nd place on the list for most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman in the Open Era. Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon, who are also through to the 3rd round here, are also attempting to climb the list at the Australian Open this year.

 

                  Most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman (Open Era)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 33
Sebastien Grosjean 25
Gael Monfils 23
Fabrice Santoro

Richard Gasquet

Gilles Simon

22

22

22

Figures correct through the 2017 AO 3rd round and include Tsonga’s 3rd round win on Friday

 

  • Monfils advanced to the 3rd round after defeating Jiri Vesely 62 63 62 and Alexandr Dolgopolov 63 64 16 60 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Monfils’ 1st round victory here was his first Tour-level match win since he defeated Kevin Anderson in the 2nd round at 2016 Shanghai-1000 (l. David Goffin). He had previously not played a Tour-level match prior to his opening match here since withdrawing with a rib injury after losing his opening 2 round robin matches at the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

  • Last year here Monfils reached the quarterfinals for the first time on his 11th Australian Open appearance, moving him into joint-2nd place with Mark Woodforde on the Open Era list for the most attempts before reaching the last 8 here. He fell to Milos Raonic 63 36 63 64.

 

  • Monfils’ best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2008 Roland Garros, where ranked No. 59 he lost to Roger Federer 62 57 63 75, and at the 2016 US Open (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2016, Monfils withdrew from Roland Garros with a virus and fell to Jeremy Chardy in 5 sets in the 1st round at Wimbledon. He has a 15-12 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 3-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Monfils’ 2016 highlight was winning his 6th career title at Washington (d. Ivo Karlovic). He also finished runner-up at both Rotterdam (l. Martin Klizan) and Monte Carlo-1000 (l. Rafael Nadal) and reached 3 further semifinals.

 

  • Monfils reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 on 7 November 2016 and ended the year inside the Top 10 for the first time. He plays here ranked No. 6.

 

  • Monfils is a 2-time Davis Cup finalist, having helped France to the finals in 2010 (l. Serbia) and 2014
    (l. Switzerland). France will play Japan in the World Group first round in Tokyo on 3-5 February.

 

  • Monfils narrowly missed out on achieving the Junior Grand Slam in 2004 after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. His preparation for the junior US Open that year was hampered by a knee injury and he lost in the 3rd round to Viktor Troicki. He was named 2004 ITF Junior Boys’ World Champion. He is one of 6 former junior Australian Open champions to reach the 2nd round from the 7 who started the men’s main draw here.

 

  • Monfils is coached by former world No. 39 Mikael Tillstrom, who reached the quarterfinals here in 1996.
  • KOHLSCHREIBER is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 4th time and equal his best Australian Open result.

 

  • Kohlschreiber advanced to the 3rd round after defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili 64 36 76(2) 64 and Donald Young 75 63 60 in the opening 2 rounds here for the first Grand Slam match-wins since the 2015 US Open. This is his 12th Australian Open and his 50th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Kohlschreiber is one of 3 Germans through to the 3rd round here along with brothers Alexander and Mischa Zverev – the most at the Australian Open since 2010, when Tommy Haas, Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer reached this stage. The last time Germany had multiple representation in the round of 16 at the Australian Open was in 2006 (Haas and Nicolas Kiefer). There has never been as many as 3 German men in the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

 

  • Kohlschreiber’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the round of 16 on 3 previous occasions – on his debut in 2005 (l. Andy Roddick), in 2008 (l. Jarkko Nieminen) and in 2012 (l. Juan Martin del Potro).

 

  • Kohlschreiber broke through to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at 2012 Wimbledon (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga). It was his 33rd Grand Slam appearance which put him in 4th place for the most Grand Slam appearances before reaching his first quarterfinal at the majors.

 

  • Kohlschreiber’s 1st round victory here ended a 5-match losing streak at the Grand Slams. He fell in the 1st round at all 4 majors in 2016 – losing to Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open, Nicolas Almagro at Roland Garros, Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon and at the US Open, where he retired with a right foot injury while trailing Nicolas Mahut 63 75 1-0.

 

  • Away from the Grand Slams, Kohlschreiber’s best results in 2016 were winning his 3rd title at Munich (d. Dominic Thiem) and finishing runner-up at Stuttgart (l. Thiem). He also reached 3 semifinals – at Rotterdam (l. Gael Monfils), Barcelona (l. Rafael Nadal) and Moscow (l. Fabio Fognini) – and 4 further quarterfinals.

 

  • Kohlschreiber has won 7 career titles. Only one of his titles has come on hard court – 2008 Auckland (d. Juan Carlos Ferrero).

 

  • Prior to coming here, Kohlschreiber reached the quarterfinals at Sydney, where he gave a walkover with a back injury to Viktor Troicki. after a 2nd round defeat at Doha (l. Almagro).

 

  • Kohlschreiber is bidding to end an 8-match losing streak against Top 10 opposition at the Grand Slams. His last victory over a Top player at a major came in the 3rd round at the 2012 US Open, when he defeated No. 10 John Isner in 5 sets. Overall he has a 3-18 win-loss record against Top 10 players at the Grand Slams.

 

  • Kohlschreiber is a former Top 20 player. He reached a career-best ranking of No. 16 in July 2012 and finished that year ranked at No. 20 – the only time, to date, that he has ended a year in the world’s Top 20. He plays here at No. 33.

 

  • Kohlschreiber is coached by Stephan Fehske.

 

 

 

 8 DOMINIC THIEM (AUT) v BENOIT PAIRE (FRA)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

THIEM                                         v                                         PAIRE

 

23                                          Age                                          27

8                                    ATP Ranking                                   47

7                                          Titles                                          1

22-12                      Career Grand Slam Record                      25-24

5-3                          Australian Open Record                          5-5

126-84                               Career Record                              127-140

58-51                          Career Record – Hard                           66-77

4-2                                   2017 Record                                   5-2

4-2                              2017 Record – Hard                              5-2

3-2                           Career Five-Set Record                           9-4

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         1

52-51                        Career Tiebreak Record                         58-63

1-2                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            2-1

 

  • THIEM is bidding to become the first Austrian to reach the round of 16 here since Jurgen Melzer in 2011.

 

  • Thiem advanced to the 3rd round here for the 2nd straight year after defeating Jan-Lennard Struff 46 64 64 63 and Jordan Thompson 62 61 67(6) 64 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Thiem has equalled his best Australian Open performance. He also reached the 3rd round here last year as No. 19 seed, defeating Leonardo Mayer and Nicolas Almagro before falling to David Goffin. This is his 4th straight Australian Open and his 13th consecutive Grand Slam.

 

  • Thiem recorded his best Grand Slam performance by reaching the semifinals at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Novak Djokovic). He became the 3rd Austrian man in history to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Thomas Muster and Jurgen Melzer. He also broke into the Top 10 for the first time at No. 7.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2016, Thiem reached the round of 16 at the US Open, where he retired with a right knee injury while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 63 3-2, but fell in the 2nd round at Wimbledon (l. Jiri Vesely).

 

  • Thiem won 4 titles in 2016 – at Buenos Aires (d. Almagro), Acapulco (d. Bernard Tomic), Nice (d. Alexander Zverev) and Stuttgart (d. Philipp Kohlschreiber). He was the only player other than Andy Murray to win titles on clay, grass and hard court in 2016. He qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time, defeating Gael Monfils in the group stage but losing to Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

 

  • Thiem warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at both Brisbane (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and Sydney (l. Daniel Evans) after receiving 1st round byes.

 

  • Thiem has never lost a 5-set match on a hard court. He has a 3-0 win-loss record in 5-set matches played on a hard court, and a 3-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall. He won both of the 5-set matches he contested in 2016, defeating Gastao Elias in the first rubber of Austria’s Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I 2nd round tie against Portugal and John Millman in the 1st round at the US Open.

 

  • Thiem is seeded No. 8 here – his joint-highest seeding at a Grand Slam. He was also seeded No. 8 at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

 

  • Thiem has played Davis Cup for Austria since 2014. Austria has been given a first round bye in Europe/Africa Zone Group I this year and will play the winner of the tie between Belarus and Romania in the 2nd round on 7-9 April.

 

  • Thiem is a former junior world No. 2. He reached the boys’ singles final at Roland Garros as No. 14 seed in 2011, losing to Bjorn Fratangelo 36 63 86 and won the 2011 Orange Bowl (d. Patrick Ofner).

 

  • Thiem is coached by Gunter Bresnik.

 

  • PAIRE is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Paire advanced to the 3rd round after Tommy Haas retired with illness while trailing 76(2) 64 in the 1st round, before defeating Fabio Fognini 76(3) 46 63 36 63 in the 2nd. They were his first match-wins at the Australian Open since 2014.

 

  • By defeating Fognini in 5 sets in the 2nd round here, Paire improved his 5-set win-loss record to 9-4. He is on a 5-match winning streak in 5-set matches, having not lost a 5-set match since falling to Roberto Bautista Agut in the 2nd round at 2015 Wimbledon.

 

  • Paire’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the round of 16 at the 2015 US Open (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga). This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 25th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Paire has equalled his best Australian Open result. He also reached the 3rd round here in 2014 (l. Roberto Bautista Agut).

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Paire reached the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Teymuraz Gabashvili), Wimbledon (l. John Millman) and the US Open (l. Marcos Baghdatis). He fell in the 1st round at the Australian Open (l. Noah Rubin).

 

  • Prior to coming here, Paire reached the semifinals at Chennai (l. Bautista Agut) but fell in the 1st round at Sydney (l. Alex De Minaur).

 

  • Paire’s best results in 2016 were reaching 4 semifinals – at Chennai (l. Stan Wawrinka), Marseille (l. Marin Cilic), Barcelona (l. Kei Nishikori) and Estoril (l. Pablo Carreno Busta). He also reached the quarterfinals at Washington (l. Alexander Zverev).

 

  • Paire has lost 6 of his last 7 matches against Top 10 opposition. His only win over a Top 10 player in that time came against No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals at 2016 Marseille. He has a 5-22 win-loss record against Top 10 players overall.

 

  • Paire is one of 5 Frenchmen through to the 3rd round here from the 13 that started the men’s draw – the 2nd straight year 5 Frenchmen have advanced to this stage here. The all-time record for Frenchmen through to the round of 16 at the Australian Open is 4 – in 1965, 1973, 1998 and 2013. The highest number of Frenchman to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam event is 10 at 1946 Roland Garros.

 

  • Paire entered the men’s doubles event here with his fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu. The pair lost to Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan 63 60 in the 1st round.

 

  • Paire is coached by Thierry Champion.

 

 9 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) v NO. 24 ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 1-0

2016     Indian Wells-1000          Hard (O)           R16      Nadal                67(8) 60 75

 

NADAL                                         v                                        ZVEREV

 

30                                          Age                                          19

9                                    ATP Ranking                                   24

69                                         Titles                                          1

205-31                     Career Grand Slam Record                        8-6

47-10                        Australian Open Record                          2-1

810-175                              Career Record                                64-48

385-118                        Career Record – Hard                           32-26

4-1                                   2017 Record                                   2-0

4-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              2-0

17-8                          Career Five-Set Record                           3-2

3                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

200-131                      Career Tiebreak Record                         27-26

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • 2009 Australian Open champion NADAL is bidding to record his 48th Australian Open match-win and move into joint 4th-place on the Open Era list for the most Australian Open match-wins. Andy Murray recorded his 48th match-win here when he defeated Sam Querrey in the 3rd round on Friday.

 

Most Australian Open match-wins (Open Era)

Player Win-loss
Roger Federer 82-13
Novak Djokovic 58-7
Stefan Edberg 56-10
Andre Agassi

Ivan Lendl

Andy Murray

48-5

48-10

48-11

Rafael Nadal 47-10
Pete Sampras 45-9

Active players in bold. Figures include Murray’s 3rd round win against Querrey

 

  • Nadal is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 10th time. This is his 12th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 47th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Nadal advanced to the 3rd round after defeating Florian Mayer 63 64 64 and Marcos Baghdatis 63 61 63 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Nadal is bidding to win his 2nd Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions [see Preview page 3].
  • Last year here Nadal lost in the 1st round for the first time in his career, falling to Fernando Verdasco in 5 sets. It was just the 2nd time that he had lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam, having also lost his opening match at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Steve Darcis).

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Nadal reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Lucas Pouille), but gave a walkover in the 3rd round at Roland Garros and missed Wimbledon due to a left wrist injury.

 

  • Away from the majors, Nadal’s best results in 2016 came during the clay court season when we won back-to-back titles at Monte Carlo-1000 (d. Gael Monfils) and Barcelona (d. Kei Nishikori). It was his 9th title at both events, and took his career total to 69 titles. Nadal also reached the final at Doha (l. Novak Djokovic) and the semifinals at 5 other tournaments.

 

  • Also in 2016, Nadal won his 2nd gold medal at the Olympic Tennis Event after clinching the men’s doubles title alongside Marc Lopez at Rio 2016. He narrowly missed out on a medal in singles, falling to Kei Nishikori 62 67(1) 63 in the bronze medal play-off.

 

  • Nadal is looking to win his 15th Grand Slam title and close the gap on Roger Federer in the list of all-time Grand Slam title holders. He is currently joint-2nd with Pete Sampras on the list behind Federer (17). He is one of the 4 Grand Slam champions through to the 3rd round from the 6 who started this year’s men’s main draw.

 

  • Nadal’s best performance at the Australian Open is winning the title in 2009 (d. Federer). He also reached the final in 2012, losing to Djokovic in the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at 5 hours, 53 minutes, and in 2014 (l. Stan Wawrinka).

 

  • Nadal is aiming to win his first hard court tournament in over 3 years. He has not won a hard court tournament since defeating Monfils to win 2014 Doha. His total of 16 hard court titles is the 4th highest among active players (behind Federer, Djokovic and Murray).

 

  • Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic). It was his first tournament since October, when he lost to Viktor Troicki at Shanghai-1000, after he pulled out of Basel, Paris-1000 and the ATP World Tour Finals with a wrist injury.

 

  • Nadal is one of 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round This is the most through to this stage of the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

  • Nadal has been coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, for his entire career. He added former Australian Open finalist Carlos Moya to his team ahead of the 2017 season. His fitness trainer is Rafael Maymo.

 

  • ZVEREV is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time.

 

  • Aged 19 years 284 days, Zverev is looking to become the youngest man to reach the round of 16 here since Nick Kyrgios in 2015. Just five teenagers have reached the round of 16 here in the last decade – Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in 2007, Marin Cilic in 2008, Bernard Tomic in 2012 and Kyrgios in 2015.

 

  • Zverev’s brother, Mischa, is already through through to the round of 16 here. He defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, No. 19 seed John Isner and Malek Jaziri in the opening 3 rounds here. The Zverevs would be just the 3rd pair of brothers to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam in the Open Era – after Gene and Sandy Mayer at 1979 Wimbledon, and Emilio and Javier Sanchez at the 1991 US Open.

 

  • Zverev is one of 3 Germans through to the 3rd round here along with brother Mischa Zverev and Philipp Kohlschreiber – the most at the Australian Open since 2010, when Tommy Haas, Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer reached this stage. The last time Germany had multiple representation in the round of 16 at the Australian Open was in 2006 (Haas and Nicolas Kiefer). There has never been as many as 3 German men in the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

 

  • Zverev advanced to the 3rd round here after defeating Robin Haase 62 36 57 63 62 and qualifier Frances Tiafoe 62 63 64 in the opening 2 rounds for his first Australian Open match-wins. His 5-set victory over Haase in the 1st round improved his win-loss record in 5-set matches to 3-2.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Zverev has equalled his best Grand Slam result. He also reached the 3rd round on his debut at Roland Garros (l. Dominic Thiem) and on his 2nd appearance at Wimbledon (l. Tomas Berdych) in 2016. Also in 2016, he reached the 2nd round at the US Open (l. Daniel Evans). This is his 7th Grand Slam appearance.

 

  • Last year here on his Australian Open debut, Zverev fell to Andy Murray 61 62 63 in the 1st round. He failed to qualify here in 2015.

 

  • Zverev is bidding to extend his 3-match winning streak against Top 10 opposition. He has won 4 of his last 5 matches against Top 10 opponents, with his only defeat in that time coming against No. 9 Berdych at 2016 Wimbledon. He has a 4-9 win-loss record against Top 10 opposition overall.

 

  • Zverev’s best Tour-level result in 2016 was winning his first Tour-level title at St. Petersburg, where he defeated No. 9 Berdych in the semifinals and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the final to become the youngest Tour-level champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori at 2008 Delray Beach. He went on to defeat No. 10 Dominic Thiem in the 1st round of his next tournament at Beijing to become the first teenager to defeat three Top 10 players consecutively since Boris Becker defeated 4 in a row at the 1986 year-end championships.

 

  • Also in 2016, Zverev finished runner-up at Nice (l. Thiem) and Halle (l. Florian Mayer), where he defeated Roger Federer in the semifinals to become the youngest player to defeat the Swiss since today’s opponent at 2005 Roland Garros. He reached 4 further semifinals at Montpellier, Munich, Washington and Stockholm.

 

  • Zverev reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 on 17 October. At 19 years 6 months, he was the youngest man to reach the Top 20 since No. 13 Novak Djokovic in November 2006. He plays here at No. 24.

 

  • Zverev warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won 2 of his 3 matches – defeating Federer 76(1) 67(4) 76(4) and Daniel Evans 64 63 but losing to Richard Gasquet 75 63.

 

  • Zverev is a former junior world No. 1. He was named 2013 ITF Junior World Champion and went on to win the boys’ singles title at the 2014 Australian Open (d. Stefan Kozlov). He also finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at 2013 Roland Garros.

 

  • Zverev is one of 3 former junior Australian Open champions who have reached the 3rd round here from the 7 who started in the men’s main draw. Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era.

 

  • Zverev is coached by his father, Alexander Zverev Sr. His fitness trainer is Jez Green and his physio is Hugo Gravil.

 

 

 11 DAVID GOFFIN (BEL) v NO. 20 IVO KARLOVIC (CRO)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

A first Tour-level meeting for the 2 players, but they did come up against each other at the Kooyong Exhbition Event earlier this month, where Goffin defeated Karlovic in a single set, 76.

 

GOFFIN                                        v                                      KARLOVIC

 

26                                          Age                                          37

11                                   ATP Ranking                                   21

2                                          Titles                                          8

27-18                      Career Grand Slam Record                      46-49

6-3                          Australian Open Record                        12-13

145-105                              Career Record                              335-288

94-65                          Career Record – Hard                         215-181

3-1                                   2017 Record                                   4-1

3-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              4-1

8-4                           Career Five-Set Record                          8-15

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

40-46                        Career Tiebreak Record                       347-330

1-1                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            4-1

 

  • GOFFIN is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 2nd straight year and equal his best Australian Open result. He defeated qualifiers Reilly Opelka 64 46 62 46 64 and Radek Stepanek 64 60 63 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Goffin is bidding to become the first Belgian man to reach the round of 16 here on multiple occasions. Xavier Daufresne (1994), Christophe Rochus (2000) and Olivier Rochus (2005) are the only other Belgian men to have reached the last 16 at Melbourne Park.

 

  • Last year here, Goffin recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the round of 16 (l. Roger Federer). This is his 4th Australian Open appearance and his 19th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • By defeating Opelka in 5 sets in the 1st round here, Goffin improved his 5-set win-loss record to 8-4. He has won 6 of his last 7 five-set matches, with his only defeat in a 5-set match in that time coming against Milos Raonic at 2016 Wimbledon. He has a 1-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Goffin’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Dominic Thiem). He was just the 2nd Belgian man to reach the last 8 at Roland Garros after Filip Dewulf (1997-98) and only the 3rd Belgian man in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal after Dewulf and Xavier Malisse (2002 Wimbledon). He rose to a career-high ranking of No. 11 as a result – and plays here on the same ranking.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Goffin reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he fell to Milos Raonic in 5 sets, but lost in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Jared Donaldson).

 

  • Goffin’s best results in 2016 are finishing runner-up at Tokyo (l. Nick Kyrgios) and reaching 4 further semifinals, including at back-to-back Masters-1000 events at Indian Wells (l. Raonic) and Miami (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Goffin warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (d. Robin Haase,             Fernando Verdasco). He also played at the Kooyong Exhbition Event – defeating Bernard Tomic 62 64 and winning a single set against today’s opponent 76.

 

  • Goffin has played Davis Cup for Belgium since 2012. He helped Belgium reach its first Davis Cup Final since 1904 in 2015, which they lost 3-1 to Great Britain in Ghent. Belgium will play Germany in the World Group first round in Frankfurt on 3-5 February.

 

  • Goffin was taught to play tennis by his father, who is a tennis coach at the Barchon Club in Liege.

 

  • Goffin is coached by Thierry Van Cleemput and trains with the Belgian Tennis Federation in Mons.

 

  • Aged 37 years 336 days, KARLOVIC is the oldest man to reach the 3rd round at a Grand Slam since Jimmy Connors (aged 39 years 6 days) reached the semifinals as a wild card at the 1991 US Open. He is the oldest man to reach the 3rd round here since Bob Carmichael (38 years 183 days) and Ken Rosewall (44 years 62 days) reached that stage in 1978. [NB a 64-draw was used prior to 1982]

 

  • Karlovic is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 2nd time and equal his best Australian Open result. His best performance here is reaching the round of 16 in 2010 (l. Rafael Nadal).

 

  • Karlovic defeated Horacio Zeballos 67(6) 36 75 62 22-20 and wild card Andrew Whittington 64 64 64 in the opening 2 rounds

 

  • Karlovic’s victory over Zeballos in the 1st round was the 2nd longest match in Australian Open history in terms of time at 5 hours and 15 minutes. It was the longest 2nd longest 5th set in terms of games at a Grand Slam and the longest Australian Open men’s singles match in total number of games (84) since the introduction of the tiebreak in 1971. Karlovic served an Australian Open record of 75 aces during the match.

 

  • By defeating Zeballos in 5-sets in the 2nd round, Karlovic improved his win-loss record in 5-set matches to 8-15. It was his first 5-set match at the Australian Open since he fell to Ivan Dodig in 5-set here in 2011, and improved his 5-set win-loss record here to 2-3.

 

  • Karlovic’s best result at a Grand Slam is reaching the quarterfinals at 2009 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). He defeated No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 8 Fernando Verdasco on his way to the last 8 – 2 of his 9 career victories against Top 20 opposition at the Grand Slams. He has lost his last 3 meetings with Top 20 players at the majors, with his last win coming against Tsonga at 2015 Wimbledon.

 

  • Last year here Karlovic retired with a knee injury while trailing Federico Delbonis 76(4) 64 2-1 in the 1st round. This is his 14th Australian Open appearance and his 50th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Karlovic reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Kei Nishikori), the 3rd round at Roland Garros (l. Andy Murray) and the 2nd round at Wimbledon (l. Lukas Lacko).

 

  • Prior to coming here Karlovic reached the quarterfinals at Doha (l. Fernando Verdasco). He also played at the Kooyong Exhibition Event – defeating Gilles Simon 64 67 10-7 but losing a single set against today’s opponent.

 

  • Karlovic’s 2016 highlights were winning the titles at Newport (d. Gilles Muller) and Los Cabos (d. Feliciano Lopez). He also finished runner-up at Washington (l. Gael Monfils) and reached the semifinals at Istanbul, ’s-Hertogenbosch and Vienna.

 

  • 4 of Karlovic’s 8 career titles has come on hard courts. He is a former Top 20 player having reached a career high ranking of No. 14 in August 2008, but plays here at No. 21.

 

  • Karlovic is one of 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round This is the most through to this stage at the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

  • Karlovic played Davis Cup for Croatia from 2000-2012, before coming out of international retirement to play in the 2016 Davis Cup Final. He was the oldest man to play singles in a Davis Cup Final since Australian Norman Brookes (aged 43 years 48 days) in 1920, but lost both of his singles rubbers in the final, including the decisive 5th rubber to Federico Delbonis, as Argentina won 3-2 in Zagreb.

 

  • Karlovic is coached by Petar Popovic and his fitness trainer is Slaven Hrvoj.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 13 ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT (ESP) v NO. 21 DAVID FERRER (ESP)

Head-to-head: Ferrer leads 2-0

2013     Wimbledon       Grass (O)          R64      Ferrer    63 36 76(4) 75

2013     US Open          Hard (O)           R64      Ferrer    63 67(5) 61 62

 

A 3rd career meeting for the 2 players, who have only ever met at the Grand Slams.  Ferrer won both of the pair’s previous meetings in successive Grand Slam events at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2013.

 

This is just the 2nd all-Spanish 3rd round clash in the Open Era at the Australian Open after Felix Mantilla defeated Albert Costa in 5 sets at this stage in 2003, but the 27th all-Spanish clash in the men’s singles event at the Australian Open in the Open Era overall.

 

Bautista Agut and Ferrer are Davis Cup teammates. Spain will travel to Croatia in the 2017 Davis Cup World Group first round on 3-5 February.

 

BAUTISTA AGUT                                 v                                        FERRER

 

28                                          Age                                          34

14                                   ATP Ranking                                   23

5                                          Titles                                         26

33-17                      Career Grand Slam Record                     142-55

10-5                         Australian Open Record                        41-14

170-109                              Career Record                              696-335

112-72                         Career Record – Hard                         328-178

6-0                                   2017 Record                                   3-2

6-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              3-2

7-3                           Career Five-Set Record                         21-11

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         4

57-43                        Career Tiebreak Record                       155-144

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-1

 

  • BAUTISTA AGUT is bidding to reach the round of 16 here and equal his best Australian Open – and Grand Slam – performance.

 

  • Bautista Agut advanced to the 3rd round here for the 3rd time after defeating Guido Pella 63 61 61 and Yoshihito Nishioka 62 63 63 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Bautista Agut’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the round of 16 on 6 occasions – here in 2014 (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and 2016 (l. Tomas Berdych), at the US Open in 2014 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Novak Djokovic), at 2015 Wimbledon (l. Federer) and at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Djokovic). This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 18th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Bautista Agut warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 5th career singles title at Chennai (d. Daniil Medvedev). 3 of his 5 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Bautista Agut is bidding to end a 4-match losing streak against Top 30 opposition at the Grand Slams. His last win over a Top 30 player at a major came against No. 13 Marin Cilic here in 2016. He has a 4-14 win-loss record against Top 30 opposition at the majors overall, with his best win coming against No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro in the 2nd round here in 2014.

 

  • Bautista Agut’s best results in 2016 were winning the titles at Auckland (d. Jack Sock) and Sofia (d. Viktor Troicki). He also finished runner-up at Winston-Salem (l. Pablo Carreno Busta) and in his first Masters-1000 final at Shanghai (l. Andy Murray), and reached the semifinals at St. Petersburg (l. Stan Wawrinka) and 5 further quarterfinals.

 

  • Bautista Agut reached a career-high ranking of No. 13 in October 2016 after reaching the final at Shanghai-1000. He plays here at No. 14, but seeded No. 13 – his joint-highest Grand Slam seeding. He was also seeded No. 13 here in 2015.

 

  • Bautista Agut has 7-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches. 6 of his 10 five-set matches have come at Melbourne Park. He has a 4-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches here.

 

  • Bautista Agut has played Davis Cup for Spain since 2014. Spain won promotion back into the World Group in 2016 after a two-year absence. They will play Croatia in the World Group first round in Osijek on 3-5 February.

 

  • Bautista Agut is coached by Tomas Carbonell and Pepe Vendrell.

 

  • FERRER is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 7th straight year.

 

  • Ferrer advanced to the 3rd round after defeating wild card Omar Jasika 63 60 62 and qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 26 64 64 62 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Ferrer has not lost before the round of 16 here since 2010, when as No. 17 seed he lost to Marcos Baghdatis in 5 sets. He has lost in the 3rd round here once before, when he lost to Marin Cilic as No. 11 seed in 2009. He is contesting his 15th successive Australian Open and his 56th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Ferrer is one of 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round This is the most through to this stage of the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

  • Ferrer sits in 9th place on the Open Era list for the most Australian Open match-wins with a 41-14 win-loss record here. He is looking to close the gap on Pete Sampras (45-9) in 8th place.

 

  • Ferrer has lost 6 of his last 7 matches against Top 20 opposition. His only win against a Top 20 player in that time came against No. 19 Pablo Cuevas at 2016 Beijing.

 

  • Ferrer’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the final as No. 4 seed at 2013 Roland Garros, where he lost in straight sets to Nadal. At 31 years 68 days, he was the 5th oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final.

 

  • Ferrer’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the semifinals as No. 7 seed in 2011 (l. Andy Murray) and as No. 4 seed in 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Last year here Ferrer reached the quarterfinals, losing to Murray. Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Ferrer reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Tomas Berdych), the 3rd round at the US Open (l. Juan Martin del Potro) and the 2nd round at Wimbledon (l. Nicolas Mahut).

 

  • Ferrer warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Brisbane (d. Bernard Tomic, Jordan Thompson) but lost to Robin Haase in his opening match at Auckland after receiving a 1st round bye.

 

  • Ferrer failed to reach a Tour-level final in 2016 – the first year he had not reached a final since 2004. His best results were reaching 6 semifinals – at Auckland (l. Jack Sock), Buenos Aires (l. Nicolas Almagro), Geneva (l. Marin Cilic), Bastad (l. Albert Ramos-Vinolas), Beijing (l. Murray) and Vienna (l. Murray).

 

  • Ferrer dropped out of the Top 10 for the first time since October 2010 after falling to Lucas Pouille in the 3rd round at 2016 Rome-1000. He ended 2016 at No. 21 in the rankings – the first year he had finished outside the Top 20 since 2004. He plays here seeded at No. 21 but ranked at No. 23.

 

  • Ferrer has a 27-4 singles win-loss record in Davis Cup. He helped Spain win promotion back into the World Group in 2016 after a two-year absence, winning both of his singles rubbers in a 5-0 victory over India in September’s World Group play-offs. They will play Croatia in the 2017 World Group first round in Osijek on 3-5 February.

 

  • Ferrer is coached by Francisco Fogues.

15 GRIGOR DIMITROV (BUL) v NO. 18 RICHARD GASQUET (FRA)

Head-to-head: Gasquet leads 5-1

2011     Dubai                          Hard (O)           R32      Gasquet            62 64

2012     Roland Garros            Clay (O)           R64      Gasquet           57 75 62 63

2012     Bangkok                       Hard (O)           R16      Gasquet            57 75 64

2013     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)            R32      Gasquet            64 64

2015     Wimbledon                  Grass (O)         R32      Gasquet           63 64 64

2016     Shanghai-1000              Hard (O)           R64      Dimitrov            64 64

 

Dimitrov is looking to record his 2nd career-win against Gasquet, having broken a 5-match losing streak against the Frenchman in their most recent meeting at Shanghai-1000 last year.

 

Gasquet has won both of the pair’s meetings at the Grand Slams – at 2012 Roland Garros and at 2015 Wimbledon.

 

Dimitrov has won 4 of his last 5 meetings against Top 20 opposition, with his only defeat in that time coming against Novak Djokovic at 2016 Paris-1000. He has a 4-12 win-loss record against Top 20 players at the Grand Slams.

 

Gasquet is bidding to end a 6-match losing streak against Top 20 opposition at Tour-level. He has not defeated a Top 20 player since defeating No. 19 Nick Kyrgios and No. 6 Kei Nishikori in back-to-back matches at 2016 Roland Garros. He has a 13-20 win-loss record against Top 20 players at the majors.

 

DIMITROV                                      v                                      GASQUET

 

25                                          Age                                          30

15                                   ATP Ranking                                   18

5                                          Titles                                         14

35-25                      Career Grand Slam Record                      97-47

13-6                         Australian Open Record                        22-12

223-142                              Career Record                              459-262

136-91                         Career Record – Hard                         272-159

7-0                                   2017 Record                                   2-0

7-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              2-0

5-5                           Career Five-Set Record                         11-13

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         2

92-76                        Career Tiebreak Record                       159-131

2-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • DIMITROV is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 3rd time.

 

  • Dimitrov advanced to the 3rd round after defeating wild card Christopher O’Connell 76(2) 63 63 in the 1st round on Tuesday and Hyeon Chung 16 64 64 64 in the 2nd round on Thursday.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best Australian Open result is reaching the quarterfinals here as No. 22 seed in 2014 (l. Rafael Nadal). Last year here he fell to Roger Federer in the 3rd round. This is his 7th consecutive Australian Open appearance and his 26th major overall.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2014 Wimbledon. He defeated defending champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals before losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. He broke into the Top 10 for the first time afterwards at No. 9.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Dimitrov reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Andy Murray) and the 3rd round at both the Australian Open (l. Federer) and Wimbledon (l. Steve Johnson). He fell to Viktor Troicki in 5 sets in the 1st round at Roland Garros. He has a 5-5 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 2-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best results in 2016 were runner-up finishes at Sydney (l. Troicki), Istanbul (l. Diego Schwartzman) and Beijing (l. Murray). He reached 4 further semifinals – at Delray Beach, Cincinnati-1000, Chengdu and Stockholm.
  • Dimitrov reached a career-high ranking of No. 8 in August 2014. He dropped as low as No. 40 on 18 July 2016 – his lowest ranking since February 2013 – but has since climbed back up the rankings and plays here at No. 15.

 

  • Dimitrov warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 5th career title – and first since 2014 Queen’s – at Brisbane (d. Kei Nishikori). 3 of his 5 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Dimitrov finished 2008 as 3 in the ITF Junior Rankings after winning the boys’ singles titles at Wimbledon (d. Henri Kontinen) and the US Open (d. Devin Britton).

 

  • Dimitrov has played Davis Cup for Bulgaria since 2008. He has a 16-1 singles win-loss record in Davis Cup and a 20-4 overall win-loss record. Bulgaria will host – and compete in – the Europe/Africa Zone Group III event in Sozopol in April.

 

  • Dimitrov was part of the ITF 14 & Under European Team in Europe in 2004-05 and the ITF 16 & Under European A Team in Europe in 2006, funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

 

  • Dimitrov started working with Dani Vallverdu, former coach to Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, in July 2016. His physio is Azdine Bousnana.

 

  • GASQUET is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 5th time and equal his best Australian Open result.

 

  • Gasquet is looking to record his 23rd match-win at the Australian Open and surpass Fabrice Santoro in joint-4th place on the list for most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman in the Open Era. Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, who are also through to the 3rd round here, are also attempting to climb the list.

 

                  Most Australian Open match-wins by a Frenchman (Open Era)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 33
Sebastien Grosjean 25
Gael Monfils 23
Richard Gasquet

Fabrice Santoro

Gilles Simon

22

22

22

                Figures correct through the 2017 AO 3rd round and include Tsonga’s 3rd round win on Friday

 

  • Gasquet advanced to the 3rd round after defeating qualifier Blake Mott 64 64 62 in the 1st round on Tuesday and Carlos Berlocq 61 61 61 in the 2nd round on Thursday.

 

  • Gasquet’s best Australian Open result is reaching the round of 16 on 4 occasions – in 2007 (l. Tommy Robredo), 2008 (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), 2012 (l. David Ferrer) and 2013 (l. Tsonga). This is his 13th Australian Open appearance and his 49th Grand Slam appearance overall.

 

  • Gasquet’s Grand Slam highlight is reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2007 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Novak Djokovic), and at the 2013 US Open (l. Rafael Nadal).

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Gasquet reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Andy Murray), where he claimed the record for the most attempts before reaching the last 8 in Paris by reaching the quarterfinals for the first time on his 13th appearance. He reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he retired with a back injury while trailing Tsonga 4-2 in the opening set, but fell in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Kyle Edmund). He missed the Australian Open with a back injury.

 

  • Gasquet’s best results in 2016 are winning the titles at Montpellier (d. Paul-Henri Mathieu) and Antwerp (d. Diego Schwartzman). He also finished runner-up at Shenzhen (l. Tomas Berdych). 8 of his 14 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Gasquet warmed up for this year’s Australian Open by winning the Hopman Cup for France alongside Kristina Mladenovic. He won 3 of his 4 singles matches in Perth, defeating Alexander Zverev, Daniel Evans and Jack Sock but losing to Federer.

 

  • Gasquet is one of 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round This is the most through to this stage of the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

  • Gasquet has played Davis Cup for France since 2005, compiling a 15-11 overall win-loss record and helping his nation reach the Final in 2014 (l. Switzerland). France will travel to Japan in the 2017 World Group first round in Tokyo on 3-5 February.

 

  • Gasquet was named ITF Junior World Champion in 2002 after winning the boys’ singles at Roland Garros (d. Laurent Recourderc) and the US Open (d. Marcos Baghdatis). He reached the semifinals of the 2002 Australian Open boys’ singles, losing to Todd Reid.

 

  • Gasquet is coached by Sergi Bruguera, who reached the round of 16 here in 1993, and Thierry Champion.

 

 

30 PABLO CARRENO BUSTA (ESP) v (WC) DENIS ISTOMIN (UZB)

Head-to-head: Carreno Busta leads 2-0

2016     Marrakech         Clay (O)            R16      Carreno Busta   63 76(5)

2016     Barcelona         Clay (O)            R64      Carreno Busta   75 75

 

A 3rd career meeting for these 2 players, but their first at a Grand Slam and first on a hard court.

 

CARRENO BUSTA                                v                                        ISTOMIN

 

25                                          Age                                          30

31                                   ATP Ranking                                  117

2                                          Titles                                          1

9-13                       Career Grand Slam Record                      32-34

2-3                          Australian Open Record                         9-10

78-85                                Career Record                              196-209

36-36                          Career Record – Hard                         110-127

3-1                                   2017 Record                                   2-0

3-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              2-0

2-4                           Career Five-Set Record                          13-7

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

34-35                        Career Tiebreak Record                        101-86

1-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            2-0

 

  • CARRENO BUSTA is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time.

 

  • Carreno Busta recorded his first match-wins at the Australian Open after lucky loser Peter Polansky retired due to illness while trailing 60 36 36 62 3-0 in the 1st round, before defeating Kyle Edmund 62 64 62 in the 2nd.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Carreno Busta has equalled his best Grand Slam performance. He also reached the 3rd round at the US Open in 2014 (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) and 2016 (l. Dominic Thiem).

 

  • Carreno Busta fell in the 1st round on all of his 3 previous appearances here – in 2014 (l. Julien Benneteau), 2015 (l. Gilles Muller) and 2016 (l. Nick Kyrgios). He has lost in the 1st round at 8 of the 14 Grand Slams he has contested.

 

  • Carreno Busta warmed up for the Australian Open at Sydney, where he reached the quarterfinals (l. Andrey Kuznetsov) after receiving a 1st round bye.

 

  • Carreno Busta’s best Tour-level results in 2016 were winning his first 2 Tour-level titles at Winston-Salem
    (d. Roberto Bautista Agut) and Moscow (d. Fabio Fognini) and finishing runner-up at Sao Paulo (l. Pablo Cuevas) and Estoril (l. Nicolas Almagro). He reached the semifinals as a wild card at Los Cabos and 5 further quarterfinals.

 

  • Carreno Busta also won his first 2 Tour-level doubles titles in 2016 – alongside Guillermo Duran at Quito (d. Thomaz Bellucci/Marco Demoliner) and with Rafael Nadal at Beijing (d. Jack Sock/Bernard Tomic).

 

  • Carreno Busta entered the men’s doubles event here with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The pair defeated Alex De Minaur/Max Purcell 64 62 in the 1st round and will play Matthew Barton/Matthew Ebden in the 2nd.

 

  • Carreno Busta reached a career-high ranking of No. 30 in November 2016 after reaching the 2nd round at Paris-1000 (l. Milos Raonic). He plays here at No. 31.
  • Carreno Busta is coached by Samuel Lopez and Cesar Fagueras. His physical trainer is Walter Navarro.

 

  • Wild card ISTOMIN is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Istomin advanced to the 3rd round here after defeating qualifier Ivan Dodig 61 64 36 75 in the 1st round for his first Australian Open match-win since 2014, and No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic 76(8) 57 26 76(5) 64 in the 2nd.

 

  • Istomin’s 2nd round win over Djokovic saw him become the lowest-ranked player to defeat a No. 2 seed at the Australian Open. It was just his 2nd victory over a Top 10 opponent in 34 attempts and his first win over a Top 10 player at a major.

 

  • Istomin’s 2nd round win over Djokovic improved his win-loss record in 5-set matches to 13-7. It was his first 5-set match-win at the Australian Open, having lost both of his previous 2 five-set matches here to Andreas Seppi in 2013 and 2015.

 

  • Istomin’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the round of 16 at 2012 Wimbledon (l. Mikhail Youzhny) and the 2013 US Open (l. Andy Murray). He is the only Uzbek player (man or woman) to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Istomin has equalled his best Australian Open result. He also reached the 3rd round here in 2010 and 2014, losing to Djokovic on both occasions. He is contesting his 11th Australian Open and his 35th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Istomin is bidding to record 3 consecutive Tour-level match-wins at one event for the first time since he won his first career title at 2015 Nottingham (d. Sam Querrey).

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Istomin has recorded back-to-back Tour-level match-wins for the first time since he reached the 3rd round at 2016 Wimbledon (l. David Goffin). The only other time he recorded back-to-back Tour-level match-wins in 2016 was in winning 2 rubbers in Uzbekistan’s 3-2 Davis Cup World Group play-off defeat to Switzerland. He ended a 7-match Tour-level losing streak at the start of the year by reaching the 2nd round at Miami-1000 (l. Andy Murray), and also reached the 2nd round at Marrakech (l. Pablo Carreno Busta), Madrid-1000 (l. Tomas Berdych) and Geneva (l. David Ferrer).

 

  • Also in 2016, Istomin finished runner-up at Challengers in Tashkent (UZB) (l. Konstantin Kravchuk) and Astana (KAZ) (l. Yoshihito Nishioka).

 

  • Istomin dropped out of the Top 100 for the first time since January 2010 after losing in the 1st round as defending champion at 2016 Nottingham. He dropped as low as No. 144 in October – his lowest ranking since July 2008 – but plays here ranked No. 117.

 

  • Last year here Istomin fell to Bernard Tomic in the 1st round. He also fell in the 1st round at both Roland Garros (l. Juan Monaco) and the US Open (l. Rafael Nadal).

 

  • Istomin is one of 16 men aged 30 or over to reach the 3rd round This is the most through to this stage of the Australian Open since there were 19 in 1977. The record for 30-somethings through to the last 16 here is 12 in 1977.

 

  • Istomin warmed up for the Australian Open at the Bangkok Challenger (THA), where he fell to Christian Garin in the 2nd round.

 

  • Istomin broke his leg in a car accident in 2001 while travelling to a Futures event in Tashkent. He spent 3 months in hospital and did not touch a racket in 2 years, with doctors doubting he would ever play competitive tennis again.

 

  • Istomin has received support from the Grand Slam Development Fund, receiving travel grants in 2004.

 

  • Istomin is coached by his mother Klaudiya Istomina.
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Novak Djokovic 3-0 in ATP World Tour Finals Group, Suggests Round Robin Format for Olympics and Davis Cup Changes

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(November 17, 2016) Novak Djokovic in his quest to end the year as No. 1, dismissed David Goffin 6-1, 6-2 to complete a perfect 3-0 round robin record at the ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena on Thursday. Goffin, from Belgium, was an alternate for Gael Monfils who withdrew with a rib injury.

Djokovic, who says he likes the round robin format, thinks it should be used for the Olympics.

I think this format is exciting,” said the Serb. “I mean, look, it’s the only tournament in the year that we have this kind of format. I like playing in the round-robin system.

“To be honest, I think certainly events, maybe like Olympic Games, should have this format. I guess you play more matches. The people like to see the top players being at least for a couple matches, two, three matches, in the tournament. It gives more value to the event.

“Of course, it makes you feel also more, I guess, at ease because you know you’re going to play at least three. Even if you lose a match, you can have a chance to qualify for the knock-out stage.”

 

The 12-time major champion also talked about changing the Davis cup format and added his suggestions:

“This format is not working for the top players, especially for the top players, because it’s just completely at the wrong time in the schedule. If you go back five years, let’s say five, six years, you see the amount of the top players that played at the later stages of the Davis Cup, you see that it lost value.

“Of course, they have to change. They need to have the format, in my opinion, the only way to work, is once a year, one or two weeks, two weeks, have a round-robin format, four, five, six groups, have teams play in different locations, then come together in one location and play a knock-out stage, quarterfinals, semifinals, final four, whatever.

“It’s a no-brainer. I’m not the only one to have this kind of opinion about it. Many of the players have been talking about this format and the schedule, top players especially, because it just comes right after Grand Slams, right after World Tour Finals.

“Playing over three days, best-of-five… I think they should cut it down to two days, best-of-three. Have two singles and one doubles, those kind of things.

“In tennis, it’s a bit confusing with the ITF, ATP, Grand Slams. Everybody is a separate entity. You have to consider different sides and negotiate.

“ITF owns Davis Cup. ITF hasn’t been really very helpful with the players’ demands. The only thing that they wanted to change is the neutral final, I think for next year or the year after that, which talking to all the players on the council, most of the players also around the tour, nobody agrees with that. Again, you’re taking away from the players the one thing that players love about Davis Cup, which is the home tie, the home crowd.

“Yeah, I don’t know how the future of Davis Cup will look like. I mean, I respect that competition. It has a long history. I love playing for my country. This is the only official team competition we have in our sport.

“But there is definitely something radically that has to change. I don’t know if they realize, but they’re losing a lot of value in terms of commercial perspective, marketing perspective, whatever.

“People don’t know the format of the competition, the system, how it works, who plays who, until it gets to the finals. Even the finals is not as attractive in some countries anymore.”

 

Djokovic qualified for the semifinals on Tuesday. Milos Raonic defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6(5), 6-3 to clinch the second semifinal spot from the group.

Raonic become the first Canadian to reach the singles semifinals of the year-end event.

Friday will determine the other two semifinal spots. Right now Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori remain in contention.

Djokovic, leader of the Ivan Lendl group will play the the second place finisher in the John McEnroe group. Raonic will play the leader of the John McEnroe group.

 

 

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Novak Djokovic First to Qualify for ATP World Tour Finals Semis

Novak Djokovic

(November 15, 2016) Novak Djokovic earned the first semifinal spot at the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday, when he defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) to go 2-0 in group play at London’s O2 Arena.

“Two tiebreaks against a big server is a great win and great confidence boost,” said the world No. 2.

“Well, it was a very close match. I think very few points separated us tonight. It really could have gone either way.

“I was fortunate to get through the first set tiebreaker. I was down very early in both tiebreaks tonight. But I just managed to stay committed and put pressure on his second serves. I had couple looks on his second serves midway through, towards the end of both tiebreaks, which helped obviously to get into the rally. I knew once I get into the rally, I have a better chance to win the point.

“But I should have done my job earlier, to be honest. I’m not very pleased to drop my serve twice against Milos, especially the second time. I was 4-3, 30-Love, then just four pretty bad unforced errors.

“Credit to him for really hanging in there, putting pressure, being aggressive, especially from the forehand. But, you know, I think I should have done better there.”

88 Raonic

“I believe all the breakpoints, except for maybe the set point at the end, he put in a first serve every single time,” Raonic said of his night session match. “I believe when he had his breakpoints, I didn’t put in one.

“I think it’s those little things that make a difference. I think he’s probably winning over 75% of his first serve points and I’m probably doing the same. Those moments he stepped up and played well. I just maybe hesitated a little bit too much.”

Raonic is now 1-1 in round robin play. He’ll face Dominic Thiem on Thursday.

 

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem

The Austrian Thiem, seeded eighth pulled off a three-set win over France’s Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to go 1-1 in the group. The Frenchman double faulted three times in the final game of the match.

 

“Today I had a good start,” Thiem said. “I tried to avoid the mistake I did in the first match: to drop a little bit. Didn’t really happen that good.

“But I was trying to stay tough in the third set. At the end, of course, he helped me a little bit with the three double-faults.

“But I’m very happy with the win.”

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Monfils, dealing a rib injury said: “It was a tough one. I think today was tough one. Dominic was better than me. I think I didn’t play a great match, but I gave everything I had.”

Monfils is still debating whether to play his final round robin match against Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

 

Order of Play – WEDNESDAY, 16 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Group John McEnroe & Group Fleming/McEnroe

[5] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)

[7] R Klaasen (RSA) / R Ram (USA)

ANDY
MURRAY

[1] (GBR)

KEI
NISHIKORI

[5] (JPN)

Evening Session 6:00 PM Group John McEnroe & Group Fleming/McEnroe

[1] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

[4] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

STAN
WAWRINKA

[3] (SUI)

MARIN
CILIC

[7] (CRO)

ATP World Tour Results
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Novak Djokovic Rallies To Win Opening Match at ATP World Tour Finals

05-Djokovic yell

(November 13, 2016) Still in the hunt for the year-end top ranking, No. 2 Novak Djokovic was forced to rally to win his won his opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals beating Dominic Thiem 6-7 (10), 6-0, 6-2 on Sunday in London’s O2 arena.

Djokovic had a set point chance in the topsy-turvy first set tiebreak at 9-8. The Austrian Thiem, making his year-end final debut served for the set at 6-3 in the tiebreak, double faulted twice in a row, hit a backhand error to make it 6-6. Four set points later Thiem finally closed out the set 12-10.

The entire match changed after the first set. The 12-time major champion won twelve of the next fourteen games to close the match.

“It felt very good,” Djokovic said of the win. “Even though I lost the first set, I thought I didn’t do too many things wrong. It was just the very high quality of his game that prevailed in the first set.

“Yeah, a thrilling tiebreaker. He was 6-3 up, two double-faults. I had I think only one set point. He just played a good point. I was in the rally, but he just was going for his shots. In the end he managed to win that very long first set.

“I knew after that, the first opening couple games of the second set would be crucial for me to start with a break up, which I did. I felt more comfortable. I started swinging more freely in the second set. Obviously made him play an extra shot. He started making more errors, which I used.

“I was on top of his second serves, putting a lot of pressure. I thought I played very well in the second set especially, but the third as well.”

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem

“It was a very good and very intense first set,” said the 23-year-old Thiem. After that, I lost a little bit of energy, which is required against a guy like Novak to play close and good sets.

“I came back obviously. I had the energy. But the beginning of the third set, I was trying again to get that match. He was playing well. I couldn’t quite keep the level up from the first set. Yeah, that’s why I lost in three.”

“There are so many things to improve,” said the Austrian who is the eighth seed in London. “I think there were too many unforced errors in the first few shots, in the rallies. Yeah, other things were good, other things were bad. There are many things what I’m looking to improve.”

“Of course, I want to play two more good matches, then I will see what the outcome is. But first of all, it’s a very good experience for me to play three matches against top-10 players. Compared to the last few tournaments, it was a very good match for me today.

I just look to keep that up, and I will see what happens in the next matches.”

Djokovic lost his No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray last week and has a chance to get it back this week. The Serb is seeking to earn the year-end top spot for the fifth time in six years, while Murray is trying to earn the top spot for the year for the first time.

Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils

Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils

In the evening match, fourth seed Milos Raonic defeated sixth seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-4. The Canadian fired 10 aces past the Frenchman in his first ever round robin victory at the ATP World Tour Finals.

“I came here with not even a week of practice,” Monfils said. “I came here with three, four days for real practice. Even when you’re 100%, it’s tough to beat those guys. He’s 4 in the world. With three, four days’ practice, it’s really tough.

“I was really happy to lost with just a break in each set.”

“This guy (Raonic), he played very good today, like, with confidence. When you hurt for more than two, three weeks, you not play like that, guarantee you.”

“I didn’t feel any pain to the injury I had,” said the Canadian. “I think other muscles might be overworking to maybe compensate for that. I can feel them a little bit more fatigued and sore than they normally would be.

“But the injury is good. I feel like this is an ideal way to start considering the doubts that I was having. Some of the things I heard in the diagnosis were not the most positive, so this was a great way to turn around.”

Next up for Raonic is Djokovic.

“It’s going to be a difficult task that I have ahead of me,” Raonic said. “I feel like I’m doing some things well. I feel like I can do some things better.

“I was quite proficient on returning today. I took care of my serve like I hoped to. That’s what my game depends on. I hope I can keep moving forward.”

In doubles action, the third seeded Bryan Brothers defeated sixth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 7-6(3), 6-0 in the day session.

In the night session second seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares stopped eighth seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi 6-4, 7-5.

Jamie Murray and Soares are just 375 points behind No. 1 Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

“Our goal is just to try to win when we step on the court this week,” Murray said. “If it ends up that we’re the No. 1 team, that will be a huge achievement for us. If it doesn’t work out that way, we’ll still have had a great year, lots to be proud of, lots to look forward to going into 2017.”

 

Next up for the No. 2 is the Bryan Brothers.

 

“Yeah, it’s always exciting to play against them,” said the older brother of Andy Murray. “I mean, they’re clearly the best team in history with the amount of titles they won. They always bring a great energy to the court. You know, we all look up to them. We all aspire to kind of get to their level.

“Of course, probably they’re starting to kind of decline a little bit. But, I mean, that’s always going to happen when you’ve won so much, and time has taken on.

We’re really fired up to play against them. Should be a great match, I think. Well, I’m looking forward to it. I hope Bruno is, as well.”

“I am,” said a smiling Soares.

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Djokovic Beats Monfils to Reach Seventh US Open Final; Wawrinka Defeats Nishikori to Advance

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(September 9, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In what was characterized by most as a “bizarre” match, Novak Djokovic moved into his seventh US Open final, beating 10th seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 on Friday.

In the first set, Djokovic dashed out to a 5-0 lead. The world No. 1 had three set points serving at 5-1, Monfils won the next two games but Djokovic closed the set at 6-3.
ESPN commentator and tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe criticized Monfils’ “lack of effort” on the air.

Monfils was asked about this in his news conference:
“I like John. I think he’s a great person. I mean, I have nothing personal to him, so I’m very sad to heard that. I’m very sad to learn that such a legend criticize me, because at the end what I can say to John is, you know, John, I want to be the best. It’s tough, you know. And I try my best.

“I’m sorry if you think I’m unprofessional, but I guess I’m working, I’m learning, you know. I think I’m failing, for sure, a lot, but I try to stand up. You know, it’s tough, because when he call me unprofessional he calls my coach unprofessional, calls my physio unprofessional, calls my physic — all my team, actually, unprofessional. Is a bit tough, you know.

“And he knows what it is. I’m more than happy to talk with him, you know. For sure, you know, it’s easy to punish me because I not win anything, you know. Such an easy thing. I do different stuff. I’m happy. I’m always with a smile.

“I make it easy. But I think John knows that if I want to be in the semifinal of the slam, anything he can say, if I not play top seed or whatever, you know, I won couple matches and I have been trained hard, you know.

“So I just very sorry bring that, and tell to John that I’m more than happy to talk with him. You know, is someone that I always care about what he is saying, but I’m just sad that he criticize me that easy.”

Djokovic was also asked about Monfils’ effort.
“I thought at times that he was, you know, maybe behaving a little bit –you know, for some terms and judgments unacceptable — but, again, I guess that was part of his tactics,” he said. “If he said that you have to believe him, I guess.

“He was 5-Love down with his game and he mixed it up. It seemed like it was a bit of a lack of effort, but then he started playing great. He started playing aggressive. He took chances. He came to the net.

“In the end of the day, I thought it was a good match. We played a four-set match. I think the crowd enjoyed it in the end.”

Monfils came back to life in the third set, rallying from 0-2 in the third set to win the set 6-3.

Djokovic fully controlled the fourth set breaking Monfils three times to complete the victory.

Well, it was a strange match,” said Djokovic “as it always is, I guess, when you play Gael, who is very unpredictable player.”

Monfils was also questioned by media about his “competing.”
“Because first question is like you’re not competing. F*ck, yes, I’m competing, you know. Even I’m like at my best actually. The guy is too good. I just have to change, you know, Monfils explained.

“As I always say, the change is guts, you know. It’s like people told me, Ah… No, I think I’m gutsy to try that, you know, against the world No. 1 of the world, you know. 5-0, okay, I show you that I play none academic way.

“And then I won’t win a match like that, but I can win maybe 15 minutes, maybe two more games, one more games. I can push him a little bit to defend also myself, more confidence, and put him out his balance.”
After all of that, Djokovic will play Sunday for his third Grand Slam championship of the season, after those at the Australian Open in January, and the French Open in June — when the theatrics were at a relative minimum by Friday’s standards.
On Sunday, Djokovic will play for his third US Open title against Stan Wawrinka.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

The two-time major winner beat 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to advance to his first final in Flushing Meadows. It will be a rematch of the 2015 French Open final, when the Swiss up set the Serb.

 

“I’m really excited,” Wawrinka said. “Really happy to make the final. Something amazing for me.

“To play Novak, the No. 1 player, it’s always really challenging. But we had some many big memories together, especially in Grand Slams, so it’s going to be an excited match.”

“Was some amazing match, for sure,”said the world No. 3 about his French Open win. “The secret is simple: I have to play my best tennis, my best game. He’s the No. 1 player, amazing fighter, amazing player, but I have enough confidence in myself that when I play my best level I can beat him.

“Hopefully I can bring that Sunday. But it’s the biggest challenge. When you play Novak, the No. 1 player in the final of Grand Slam, it’s the biggest challenge you can have.”

Wawrinka id 10 for 10 in his last 10 finals, but Djokovic is 20-4 against the Swiss.

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Day 12 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

(September 9, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day as allowed.

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils

6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Strange match out there in that it seemed like you were both kind of fighting your bodies at times. Talk a little bit about the elements out there and how you were feeling.
GAEL MONFILS: Strange match why?

Q. It looked like physically you guys were both laboring at times. Was the heat getting to you?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it was hot and humid, but somehow I think also at one moment of the game it was very physical; was good rallies. Whenever it’s like that it’s never easy to recover quick, like 25 seconds. For sure, the heat help, I mean, not really help us, but I think also that was the way the match goes.

Q. Starting early in this match it seemed at times you were having problems competing. What was going on for you physically and psychologically?
GAEL MONFILS: What do you mean, competing?

Q. You didn’t seem to be able to give it your full effort.
GAEL MONFILS: No, at the beginning I think, you know, Novak was playing good. I didn’t serve great, you know. It was very quick 5-0. I get to change a little bit, you know. I get to change. That’s a little bit tough, because for sure people are not really ready to see that. You know, because, you know, why I will stay and lose 6-0 and not change anything?

So, yeah, definitely I try to get in his head. You know, try to create something new for him, you know, to see. And that was it. When the guy is too good, you know, playing clean and you’re playing very bad, I mean, not that good, you know, you need to change.

At the end, that’s why I think it was necessary, and I almost get back to the first set.

Q. Were there any times that you were not able to try your best?
GAEL MONFILS: I think I try my best every time. He was just too good.

Q. Do you think that strategy of trying to upset Novak didn’t work, probably? Obviously in the first set, and yet later on you competed very well. The third set, for instance, seemed far more successful.
GAEL MONFILS: I think it work, you know. You just don’t want to see it. If no one is doing that, you know, everybody is like, Play tennis like this. You have to do like this.

It’s okay, you know. We can change a little bit. We can, you know — it’s not only one way to play tennis, you know. When the guy is hitting clean and you’re not serving good — and actually, I wasn’t returning good — yeah, you just show him. You stand in the middle of the court. Start to double fault a little bit.

Then you give him very slow ball, but could I run, you know. And then he come to the net. I pass him. Was great strategy. What do you mean? I think I started 5-0 and then I was like 5-3, 15-40, and was bad. I think I guess. When I try a little bit to play “original” tennis is where he kill me.

Q. Have you had opponents do that to you, as well, change up the tactics?
GAEL MONFILS: No, because everyone not doing it because of all the question they gonna receive and all the — is not natural, and I know it is not natural. Because first question is like you’re not competing. Fuck, yes, I’m competing, you know. Even I’m like at my best actually. The guy is too good. I just have to change, you know.

As I always say, the change is guts, you know. It’s like people told me, Ah… No, I think I’m gutsy to try that, you know, against the world No. 1 of the world, you know. 5-0, okay, I show you that I play none academic way.

And then I won’t win a match like that, but I can win maybe 15 minutes, maybe two more games, one more games. I can push him a little bit to defend also myself, more confidence, and put him out his balance.

You know, it was a great strategy, I think.

Q. Good US Open. Congratulations.
GAEL MONFILS: Thank you.

Q. You once said that my culture is to be very fun and to enjoy life. In the big picture of your career, how important is it to have fun and to be creative for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it’s natural, you know. It’s not how important I think is like this. I think everything I do in my life I try to have fun, and I try to be creative on the tennis court, outside the tennis court.

So for me it’s just myself on the court.

Q. How are you creative outside the court?
GAEL MONFILS: I create music; I create painting; I create whatever I want to create. I create, what you say, clothes. I create, I don’t know, dance move. I create anything.

Q. It sounds like you were prepared for this question about the competition and your strategy and everything else. Did anybody say anything to you when you came off the court to make you aware that so many people, including John McEnroe, including some of the commentators, were kind of angry and really disappointed about this whole issue?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, for sure. When I decide to play like that for half a set I knew it is gonna be different. But at the end I’m not playing for those people. I play for myself. I try to win, you know.

At the end, you know, everybody have an opinion of something that not in my body, not in my mind. They not see what I’m saying at that moment, you know.

They will tell me, Oh, he’s so talented, so physical. Look, he’s playing like this in the third set and he won it, blah, blah, blah, blah. But at the time and at 5-0, it wasn’t that. I tell you. I just change something, you know.

Is not academic, but I try to win. I’m sorry, every time, you know, to hear that I get destroyed. For what? At the end, for what? To tell me I’m so talented I waste my time.

Sorry, I’m not wasting my time. I think I know how to try to play the best, and to play the best sometime is to improve.

And when the guy is too good, you know, you change. Not academic, but I try to be better.

If those people talking, talking, come help me. You know, I’m more than happy to have them help.

But I feel that, you know, they want to help me, he’s still Novak. He’s still Novak to play.

Q. Is there anything personal between you and John McEnroe? He’s been criticizing you all tournament, and today he was pretty tough on you in the first two sets. Called you unprofessional and said he never saw anyone lacking effort. Is there something in the past between you two? Are you surprised he’s so hard on you?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, I just know — I don’t know. You know, I like John. I think he’s a great person. I mean, I have nothing personal to him, so I’m very sad to heard that. I’m very sad to learn that such a legend criticize me, because at the end what I can say to John is, you know, John, I want to be the best. It’s tough, you know. And I try my best.

I’m sorry if you think I’m unprofessional, but I guess I’m working, I’m learning, you know. I think I’m failing, for sure, a lot, but I try to stand up. You know, it’s tough, because when he call me unprofessional he calls my coach unprofessional, calls my physio unprofessional, calls my physic — all my team, actually, unprofessional. Is a bit tough, you know.

And he knows what it is. I’m more than happy to talk with him, you know. For sure, you know, it’s easy to punish me because I not win anything, you know. Such an easy thing. I do different stuff. I’m happy. I’m always with a smile.

I make it easy. But I think John knows that if I want to be in the semifinal of the slam, anything he can say, if I not play top seed or whatever, you know, I won couple matches and I have been trained hard, you know.

So I just very sorry bring that, and tell to John that I’m more than happy to talk with him. You know, is someone that I always care about what he is saying, but I’m just sad that he criticize me that easy.

Q. Was it a spontaneous decision to change in the first set, or do you think that comment about Djokovic knowing how your match is going to go against him that would be something you could do?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I knew definitely before the match is something I could do.

Actually, you know, I know it’s not good, but I made a sign to my coach and say, Okay, I’m going to Plan B, actually. (Laughter.)

I made it pretty clear, you know. And I knew it, because I have done that in the past against him, against Novak. You know, I played him, and actually, all the time I get little grip on him, you know, a little bit to get back in the game. Is always to play like that.

So, yeah, I was aware that if he was doing that in my way I have to play a little bit like that.

Q. How did you feel about being booed in the first game of the third set when you double-faulted?
GAEL MONFILS: It’s part of the sport, you know. I think for sure people was expecting a tougher battle, you know. And then, you know, it was strange, because as you say, maybe they will listen to commentary and say I’m unprofessional, I’m poor, whatever. So it gets very quick to people.

And then it’s tough, you know, tweeting during the match saying, and maybe John McEnroe say, Such a disgrace.

At the end, you know, if I have a mic, I would say to the audience that stop saying that, you know, I’m unprofessional. The guy is killing me, you know.

I’m just embracing the fact the guy is too good for me, and I try to switch strategy. Then somehow, you know, I had this small opportunity and I get it, and then I think the crowd was much better.

Q. You talked about changing things up. There were a few times late in the first set where on your return you came really far in. Was there anything that you saw in his serve that made you think, that would work, or was it just, you were trying anything?
GAEL MONFILS: When?

Q. On your returns, a few times late in the first you were coming — were really shallow halfway to the service line almost. Was that preplanned? Anything in his serve that made you think that would work, or was it just a random…
GAEL MONFILS: Because I know Novak somehow is not too confident with his serve now. I think closer you get, bigger the target, and it will force a little bit. And I think that’s why I have done it.

Q. Have there been other matches in the past where someone has tried a very different strategy and thrown off their opponent? Do you know about any of these matches? Does that inspire you? Arthur Ashe against Jimmy Connors.
GAEL MONFILS: And John McEnroe telling me it wasn’t professional? I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. I wish I could, you know.

As I say, I have done it because I want to win, you know. I just want to find a solution. Sorry if it wasn’t, I mean, academic, but at the end, you know, when you change, you change with what you got. What I got is my speed.

I got a little bit my instinct and flair and to show down the game, to make him play, to make him come in. That was my flair, and I hit the shot. You know, at the end it was just too good.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/G. Monfils

6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Gaël just said he tried to get into your brain because he couldn’t get into your game, basically, and that he thought it was starting to work but in the end you were still too good. How did you see these first two sets and how did you win that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it was a strange match, as it always is, I guess, when you play Gaël, who is very unpredictable player. I could expect that in a way. I was 5-Love up in less than 20 minutes, and everything felt great; couple of close games there.

And then just that service game on 5-1, that’s when it started. I was completely caught off guard when he just stood there and chipped the ball back and didn’t do much. If I would get to the net he would go for the passing shot and hit some impossible gets and balls.

But that’s Gaël. That’s the way he plays now. That’s the way he played always. He loves to come up with a variety in his game, and the defense shots. He loves long rallies.

So, yeah, I think I should not have allowed him to come back to the match after two sets to love up and 2-love in the third. That was the momentum shift when I lost my service game. He started believing in himself, and I think the crowd disliked his efforts, I think, towards the end of the second set.

I think he felt like he needs to step it up and start to play better, which he did, and then crowd was behind him. They wanted to see, you know, the long match.

I think we both physically struggled a little bit towards the end of the third and fourth set, beginning of the fourth especially. Long rallies; tense moments, obviously.

But he did try many things. You know, second serve, serve and volley. You know, just a very slow chipped ball in the middle of the court, and then, you know, invites me to the net basically and comes up with some good passing shots.

Sometimes you don’t understand the game, but that’s who he is. I think he actually played best tennis of his life on hard courts this season and the results are showing that.

So it was a good win for me today.

Q. You called him unpredictable and that’s how he always plays. Do you think that’s deliberate and effective strategy or just a personal preference? Is it a compliment to your game that he feels he needs to change it up to throw you off?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Compliment or not, I mean, that’s who he is. As I said, it’s not the first time that he comes out and just tries different shots and different splits and, you know, puts himself in a position to defend and come up with some intriguing points and entertaining points for the crowd.

You know, he loves that entertainment part. He loves to go left and right and jump and slide and all these things. He’s very athletic. I think he’s basically putting everything on the display on the tennis court.

But that’s the way it has been for so many years.

Q. John McEnroe was very critical through a lot of the match about Monfils as being unprofessional, lack of effort. Would you ever characterize a tactic like he used in that sort of way?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, again, it’s a question for him, really. I thought at times that he was, you know, maybe behaving a little bit –you know, for some terms and judgments unacceptable — but, again, I guess that was part of his tactics. If he said that you have to believe him, I guess.

He was 5-Love down with his game and he mixed it up. It seemed like it was a bit of a lack of effort, but then he started playing great. He started playing aggressive. He took chances. He came to the net.

In the end of the day, I thought it was a good match. We played a four-set match. I think the crowd enjoyed it in the end.

Q. How exactly does it feel to be serving at 5-1 in a slam semifinal and then to see your opponent returning your first serve from inside the baseline, slicing everything?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as I said, you know, again, it was my fault for really — that game was 40-Love — and allowing him really to, you know, just disturb me, you know, with that kind of movement and just a different approach, I guess.

I don’t know how to call that. But, again, I made some double faults and just some — just really wasn’t myself at that game and the next game. I put myself in a really awkward position, you know, to allow him — from 5-Love up to allow him to come back to the set.

But I managed to hold my nerves in 5-3, close the set out; second set was good. Served I think 88, 89% first serves in. Everything was working. Started off the third well.

Then the momentum shifted. He felt his chance was there. He got it. Crowd got into it. Physically we both felt, you know, the humidity and the tough conditions today. So it was a tough one to be part of, especially in the third and midway through the fourth set.

But it’s semifinals. Again, you can’t expect just somebody to hand you the win. Just very glad to overcome that.

Q. Do you think he got inside your head at all during that set?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that one or two games I allowed, yeah. But, again, it happens, I guess, because it was just so uncharacteristic and very unusual to see a player in the semifinals of a Grand Slam at the beginning, basically first set, just start to, you know, move around and play like that or behave like that.

But, again, it shouldn’t be my concern. What my concern is, you know, is my side and what I need to do. I allowed myself to drop the concentration and to lose the momentum for a little bit, but luckily I got back.

Q. We’re talking about Gaël’s play. Talking about your own, how do you assess the way that you played the match today? Thoughts going into the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, I thought I played a very solid, very sturdy, 2-love in the third. And then, five games lost, two service games lost. Just all of a sudden wasn’t, you know, as effective from the baseline. He stepped it up, I think. That was the difference, that he started going for his shots rather than just putting the ball back in play.

And, yeah, that’s when the momentum shifted. But, again, in the fourth I just managed to hold my nerves and be patient and close out the match in good fashion.

So, you know, I have an extra day now to recover and get ready for the finals, which is, you know, where definitely I desire to be whenever I come to the Grand Slam. You know, I want to be able to put myself in position to fight for the trophy, and everything that has happened in the tournament so far is behind me now.

My thoughts are only on Sunday’s match.

Q. You’re an imaginative, free-form kind of guy, but he’s something else. You have known him since you were kids. He brings a lot of joy to people. What makes him special? Dances to his own drummer, talk about him as a guy, a free-form spirit.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, you know, he’s one of the most charismatic guys on the tour. You know, he brings a full display of athleticism. Just different variety in the game. He’s an all-round player.

In the end of the day, he enjoys playing in the big stage. Enjoys playing tennis. And you can see that. That’s why the fans love him. That’s why he gets the crowd involved. You know, sometimes, as his opponent it’s not easy to handle his up and downs, but, you know, he’s very important asset to our sport. He brings that joy, as you said.

Q. Do you ever say to yourself, What do I do now? Get a little frustrated?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have played him 13 times, I think, in our professional careers, so I know him well. I know what to expect. But again, even having that kind of awareness and coming into a match, it still happens that, you know, these kind of things that he does don’t go away unnoticed, you know.

Sometimes it can disturb you; sometimes it can bring a smile to your face. It really depends on you, how you react to that.

Q. Obviously as the first into the final we don’t know who you’ll face next. First with Stan, when you go against him, what is the biggest challenge for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I haven’t played Stan in some time now. He’s a big match player. He loves to play in the big stage against big players, because that’s when he, I think, elevates his level of performance in his game. Just gets much better.

I think he was very close to lose in second or third round in this tournament some match points and he was struggling with his form.

But the last couple of matches he’s getting in that shape that is, you know, winning him big matches. I lost to him in finals of French Open and I lost to him in quarterfinals of Australia when he won, as well.

So both of these Grand Slam trophies that he has he won against me on the way. So I know right now, having two Grand Slam titles and Olympic medal and Davis Cup under his belt, he believes in himself more. He doesn’t get, I think, too stressed by the bigger occasion. He actually likes playing in big matches.

So, yeah, he’s very powerful, powerful player. Big serve. Probably the best, most effective one-handed backhand in the world now. You know, he can play it all. You know, he has that variety in his game. He can be very dangerous for everybody.

Q. And if you do face Kei, how would you assess his game and the challenge it poses for you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Kei is in form, and winning bronze in Rio, playing finals in Toronto, and winning here against Andy Murray who was in tremendous form for last couple of months.

Kei is now very established, top 5, top 7 player in the world for last couple of years. He’s always there. He played in US Open finals; he won against me in semis that year. He also doesn’t really get too frightened by the big occasion. He’s actually looking forward to play the big matches. He’s very committed daily.

You can always see him in the gym or the practice courts. Michael Chang is there. He’s got a full squad of experts around him to, you know, to perfect his game.

It’s good to see that. He’s the best Asian tennis player in history of Asia. He’s got a lot of support. Yeah, he’s hungry for success, no doubt. He’s never won a Grand Slam but he’s always there. You know, he’s very close. I’m sure that, you know, he would be very, very motivated to play in the finals if I get to play him.

Q. Given what you said about Gaël, did he piss you off today or were you aggravated at your inability to see what you had to do to solve the riddle?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I had different phases, I must admit. (Smiling.) I had phases when I was pissed off, phases when I was entertained by what he’s doing, and phases where I was upset with myself for allowing him to — you know, whatever he does to disturb my game and my rhythm.

So I went through it all. It was a great theater experience today.

Q. Could you ever see yourself doing that to an opponent?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, we’re all different. You know, it’s hard to speak about — I don’t think that — I know Gaël for a long time so I don’t take things in a bad way from him. He’s a good guy, and just probably tactically tried a few things. That’s all.

Q. You said on court immediately after the match that the description was humid, but I’m wondering, how would you characterize or describe this trip to your seventh US Open final.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I obviously — I always wish to get to this match, the final match, whenever, as I said, come to a Grand Slam. I have those kind of ambitions. But specifically, before this Grand Slam there were things that were happening, you know, with my health and physical state that were, you know, making me a little bit skeptical about how the thing is going to go during the tournament.

I just wished for myself to be able to play on the level that I can. I hoped and I believed that as I progressed in the tournament that things would get better, in which they did.

So I was, of course, blessed to have more days off with no match so I could focus on the recovery and work things in my game and take things easily and to get to this phase.

You know, I’m very, very pleased to have achieved this result.

Q. How would you characterize this journey to the final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just characterized it, but not in one word. It’s hard for me to find a headline. I think you have to pick up from the transcript. Yeah, this time I don’t really have that word. I’m sorry.

Q. 42 years ago, Muhammad Ali invented the rope-a-dope strategy against Foreman; the famous Rumble in the Jungle. Were you familiar with that? Did you recognize possible tactic? Did you have any concern about possibly punching yourself out in the fourth set? Early in the fourth looked like both of you were leaning on the ropes a couple of times. Secondly, and again, speaking of Muhammad Ali, what are your views and thoughts about the role of athlete as entertainer, as well?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Wow. Okay. Thank you for your questions. Trying to make them as short as possible. Very interesting questions.

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes that ever lived. He was one of the most appreciated athletes that ever lived. Not just because of his achievements, but because of who he was and what he stood for and, you know, the values that he shared with people. He was a people’s champion. That’s what they called him.

So of course it makes me no different than other people towards, you know, the respect of the legacy that he left behind.

But it’s not really I think comparable, boxing and tennis. I mean, it’s one on one, but I wouldn’t like to be in the ring with Muhammad Ali and going with the punches.

But today there was a lot of punches on the tennis ball back and forth. It was really exhausting because, you know, the opponent today I played with loves to stay in the back of the court and always bring another ball back.

Physically we were taking each other to the limit. And, you’re right, that at times it looked like we were really in a tough battle. And The role of athletes as entertainer, yes. I mean, I think, you know, not just entertainment, but the whole picture, you know.

I think athletes have such a privilege to be always in the spotlight. Today’s world of media, you have a lot of attention. You know, you need to use that in a positive way, try to take that as a responsibility to kind of do something valuable with that rather than just spreading that kind of awareness about yourself being a champion and wanting to achieve.

Sure, people want to see you perform at your highest and fight for trophies, but you also can use this platform as an opportunity to share something different, something valuable, something that young kids around the world can use as a great example.

So I think it all fits in, right? Entertainment, the responsibility, human responsibility, the things that I guess have the same direction and same issue.

Q. You mentioned the physical concerns you had coming into the tournament cast against you. Do you have any concerns going into the final, or do you feel like that’s behind you as far as injuries?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thankfully it’s behind me, so I don’t have any concerns. I have lots of excitement for the finals.

Q. The ripped shirt, how much did that surprise you and how much did it give you an opportunity to kind of forget about tennis for a while?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I can’t blame Uniqlo for that shirt. The quality is very good, by the way. I did rip it once, and then the second time just got out of hand, I guess, in heat of the moment.

But, you know, it felt nice, because my body could breathe a little bit more. (Smiling.)

But, yeah, I guess, you know, these things happen. Sometimes you’ll seen a thrown racquet here and there, a ripped shirt. It’s all in the heat of the battle.

Q. Is it in the garbage?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I guess so. I haven’t seen it ever since.

 

Kei Nishikori

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Nishikori

4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much did the match the other day take out of you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I mean, definitely I was a little bit tired, especially in the end. Last two set was really tough.

But I think also he was stepping up a little more from the second set. I think he was missing a lot the first set and also I was playing good tennis, but I think he made some changes and he was start playing better.

I mean, yeah, it’s not easy after playing Andy five sets, but I’m physically — I was almost there. Yeah, I’m disappointed, but I’m really proud of myself, you know, playing four sets again with this condition.

Q. Novak described him as a big match player. He’s come up obviously winning a couple Grand Slams and playing big matches. Talk about facing him today and assessing his performance.
KEI NISHIKORI: You mean Stan?

Q. Yeah.
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, like I said, he was playing much better last couple sets. Well, yeah, I stop moving a little bit. Also, you know, he was playing much powerful tennis.

You know, he start using his backhand a little bit more down the line and angles. I think that was really working for him. For me, I think I was hitting too short and wasn’t making enough first serve.

Yeah, he step up, you know, really in the end. You know, there is reason, you know, he’s been top 5 for a long time now. Yeah, he played some good tennis today.

Q. I have heard quite a few big-named players, including Novak, when we were talking to him earlier, talk about you as a player that really can be a Grand Slam winner. You came close; went to the final. How much does getting this close make you want to go that extra mile to do whatever it takes to win? How hungry are you to get back in the finals?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, there was only two more matches to go, so I felt really close and playing good level I think these two weeks. Especially beating Andy, you know, this big tournament I think gives me a lot of confidence.

I mean, it’s not easy when you have to play No. 2, No. 3, and, you know, Novak was waiting in the finals. It wasn’t easy job, but, you know, if I could win little easier last few matches I could have little more chance today and maybe in the final.

I think, you know, playing really good, especially big tournaments, the final in Toronto and good in Olympics and semis here, it was good summer.

Q. You mentioned Stan’s backhand and how he used that tonight. Can you describe what it’s like to face Stan’s backhand, which is known as being one of the best shots in tennis.
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. I think I went too much, little too much to his backhand. He was start using backhand down the line. He can hit angle really well with topspin.

Yeah, definitely I was a little bit struggling with his backhand.

Q. How difficult were the conditions? How grateful were you when they closed the roof?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, today was really humid. That made me really tough first few sets. Won in second set, but after I think temperature little down and it was little easier.

But still, yeah, it was tough conditions today.

Q. In the second set you have many chances to grab it but end up giving away. How did that affect you emotionally, mentally?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, definitely I had to win the second set if I wanted to win today. I had so many chance with my serve and with his serve games, too.

Yeah, that’s really disappointing, especially second set, I think that was the biggest mistake I did. Yeah, after that he was playing better, so I think gave him little confidence.

But even though, you know, if I win two sets, I had to still win one more set. So with this condition and my condition, it was really tough.

Q. How do you see the final?
KEI NISHIKORI: I don’t know. I think, yeah, Stan is playing good again, but still Novak is No. 1. I mean, yeah, we’ll see.

 

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

S. WAWRINKA/K. Nishikori

4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First US Open final against an opponent you have had some epic battles with. How excited are you?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I’m really excited. Really happy to make the final. Something amazing for me.

To play Novak, the No. 1 player, it’s always really challenging. But we had some many big memories together, especially in Grand Slams, so it’s going to be an excited match.

Q. You have the beautiful words of Samuel Beckett inscribed on your left forearm. That seems to match your philosophy and inspire you. Now that you’re one match away from being one Wimbledon away from a career Grand Slam…
STAN WAWRINKA: I am too far though. Why we should…

Q. Perhaps the poet Kipling’s words, If you can meet with triumph as well as disaster; and treat those two imposters are just the same…
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it’s good, but you’re going too far with if I win and if I play Wimbledon well one time. No, so far I’m just really happy. I’m enjoying the moment right now after a tough match today. It’s something very special.

The feeling is amazing for me to tell myself that I’m going to play a US Open final. I watched it almost every year, so it’s going to be excited.

Q. When Novak was here before he said that you play your best tennis in the biggest of matches. How are you able to do that?
STAN WAWRINKA: Because the biggest matches, it’s the end of the tournament. Final, semifinal, and I had matches to get confidence to play well match after match.

Yes, I know I have some up and down during the year. I’m not playing my best tennis in every tournament, but I’m trying to work as hard as I can to give me the chance to play well every time I step on the court.

And in Grand Slam is where I want to play my best tennis. Is where I want to be the better player. Always find a way to find my game and to put everything together.

Q. When you’ve won majors you’ve had to go through Novak. What has been the secret to how well you’ve done against him in those situations?
STAN WAWRINKA: Was some amazing match, for sure. The secret is simple: I have to play my best tennis, my best game. He’s the No. 1 player, amazing fighter, amazing player, but I have enough confidence in myself that when I play my best level I can beat him.

Hopefully I can bring that Sunday. But it’s the biggest challenge. When you play Novak, the No. 1 player in the final of Grand Slam, it’s the biggest challenge you can have.

Q. About today’s match, from beginning until beginning of second set Kei seemed dominating, and then you made everything a turnaround. How did you make it? Could you talk about your backhand? How much are you confident and comfortable with your backhand?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I think Kei start really well the match. I think he was moving really well. He was playing really aggressive. I didn’t find any solution to put my game. He was always dictating. I was feeling uncomfortable on the court. He was coming at the net. He was changing a lot.

I just tried to little by little play a little bit better, a little bit faster, a little bit heavier. I tried to make him run. I think in the middle of the second, that’s when I start to change a little bit who’s the player on the court. He was already inside the court at the beginning, but I turned that little by little.

I saw in the first set that he could also struggle with the heat and humidity today. It was a tough battle physically, and I know if I’m make him tired he’s not going to be as fast or aggressive as he was at the beginning. That was my goal, to play a little bit more aggressive.

Q. You mentioned humidity. We saw the racquet come right out of your hands at one point. Wet, was it, out there?
STAN WAWRINKA: It was really wet. It was tough conditions. I think the four players today, we suffer a lot on the court, that’s for sure.

I was struggling. I was suffering on the court first set, second set, and all the match.

But I just knew that it was important not to show it, to stay there, because I also know that in a five-set match there is some up and down. It’s important to not spend energy by being negative and show the opponent that you’re struggling.

I think today it make a big difference for myself.

Q. Novak lost one final in the last couple years, and that was to you. Will you think about it before the match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not the match, but the victory. I think for sure he’s gonna give me confidence to tell myself that I know I can do it, because I did it at the French Open final. He knows also that I can play my best tennis in the final of Grand Slam.

But it’s gonna be completely different match. Also the way I arrive in the final, the way I arrive, hopefully we can both play great tennis and make a big final.

Q. You were already 28 years old when you lost 12-10 the Australian Open to Djokovic. Is that the moment when you realized that you were competitive with the top players? Are you surprised that you were the only one who won outside of the Fab Four two slams already, and you could win three?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure that match was something special in my career, especially in the month outside. That’s when I start to believe and realize myself that, yeah, maybe I can beat top player in Grand Slam.

It took me little time, and step by step, I did it step by step by coming back into the top 10, by making first quarter, French, first semifinal.

But for sure this match was important for my career. Then if I’m surprised, yes and no. I’m surprised for sure with what I did winning two Grand Slam. For me it’s… (Discussion about Evian bottle of water.)

Yeah, I’m surprised what I have achieved, for sure, by winning two Grand Slam and being in final again. If I’m surprised? I’m not really surprised to see that the big four have won everything, because it’s been more than ten years.

So if you take out two years it’s still eight years. So during eight years I was looking at them, semifinal, final, every year. So I’m not surprised, because they just — they have been in different level than every other player.

Q. After the match against Del Potro you mentioned that you were a bit tight in your adductor. How was that tonight? Because, if I’m right, I think you have been on the court double the time in this tournament.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, no, I feel good. I feel good. I was quite tired after Del Potro match. I had some, yeah, normal — I was tired the next day, but I didn’t practice. I did just some fitness. I did what I do when I spend too much time on the court. That mean no tennis and just focus on recovery.

But today I was feeling good. I had no pain so far. I’m quite happy with my body where I am, and we will see now in two days. It’s always gonna come later. Hopefully I’m going to be fresh enough with Novak who didn’t have too much time on the court.

Q. You played twice as long as Novak, but today he was compromised by the weather situation; physically was troubled by it. Do you think that stamina will have anything to do with Sunday’s final?
STAN WAWRINKA: Let’s see. I think the fact he didn’t spend too much time on the court compared to myself, I don’t think it’s gonna change much for what I’m going to do and who I’m going to be.

Was struggling with some injury problem before the tournament, so it helped him to be a little bit better. Also didn’t give him in so much time on the court, match time. You can practice as much as you want. Match is not the same.

And we saw today, it was interesting match to see, but Novak is a strong guy. He’s mentally a beast. Is not easy to play him. I’m sure he’s gonna bring him best tennis for the final.

Q. In recent years you and Djokovic are the most exciting matchup in tennis. Why do you think is it? Styles of play match or do your personalities match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I think a little bit of the style of how we play. I think the matchup always been interesting to see because the way we are playing. I’m trying to be aggressive. I can play really hard.

He is amazing defender. And also, where we start. We started with five-set match in Australia a few years ago, 10-8. I was maybe one of the only player who start dominate in two sets and didn’t finish it. I was dominating the match.

And then if you look, then I played my first semifinal in Grand Slam against him here and again five sets. So for sure the fact that we play some long match and some crazy battle puts something different.

Q. Your matchup is not only a particular matchup, but matchup for life. He made you better and you make him better. (Indiscernible.)
STAN WAWRINKA: I’m not sure if I made him better. I think he only lost against me in French Open. I think he’s so good that he always find a way to be better. For sure he made me better. That’s for sure.

Him, because that’s the player I played that well in crazy match in the Grand Slam the first time. And not only him, but the big four, for sure. They made me better. The fact that I tried practice always with them, tried to see what they are doing.

My goal is to push myself until the limit where I can go to be the better player I want. I can. With them, every time I step on the court, even if they are way better in their career, I always have something I need to tell myself. Maybe I can beat them. You need to find a way. If you lose, it’s okay. You go back to practice.

That’s what happened with them. I saw so many players not even thinking they can beat them when they step on the court. I always try to believe in something, that maybe one day I can beat them, and that’s what happen in the past few years.

Q. When you play in a big match at a Grand Slam like today or Sunday against Novak, how important is it for you to be able to rely on your backhand?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t see that way. I feel it when I step on the court, how I feel, how I’m going to play, is my backhand going to be there.

But for sure when I play my best tennis my backhand is there, because that’s where I put a lot on my game, on it. But it can happen that sometimes at the beginning of the match my backhand is not there and I need to find other solution.

So I don’t expect my backhand to be at the top since — from the beginning.

Q. You won ten finals in a row.
STAN WAWRINKA: That’s good.

Q. What that means? Is that you’re so confident? And also, you’re so concentrated that every time you play an important match, not just because you put your finger in your head, that you’re concentrated. You do well. Is that the reason, or… Coincidence? Confidence?
STAN WAWRINKA: I won 10 in a row the last two years, and before that I lost many.

So I think it’s part of my career, the way I became a better player. I start to believe better in myself and take more confidence.

Again, as I say, normally when I arrive in the final, I’m full of confidence with myself and what I do during one week or two weeks in that tournament. I know that I can play my best tennis.

Again, I can lose Sunday. It’s still gonna be good to be ten and lose the eleventh one. But in general I know when I arrive in final I’m ready to play my best tennis, and that’s what I’m looking for. That’s what I’m trying to do.

But, again, now, when you play Novak, even playing your best tennis you can also lose. So it’s gonna be, I hope, a big match, and hopefully I can keep winning.

 

 

 

 

Laura Siegemund

Mate Pavic

Press Conference

SIEGEMUND-PAVIC/Vandeweghe-Ram

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. I have heard it described as a blind date. I don’t know if you know what that term means, but start out first, can you each tell me what it means to be a Grand Slam champion?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Well, at this point, yeah, me personally I can’t really believe it yet. It hasn’t really hit me.

I mean, I’m just stunned a little bit at this point. I’m very happy. I think we played a great match today. We did play a great tournament. All the other matches were, yeah, very solid also in the important situations, although we never played together.

So it’s just amazing that even in the finals we could just play the same, you know, stay focused and stick to the system that was working the whole week.

He was, as the British say, cool as a cucumber. He was cooler than me maybe at times. (Smiling.) I was very glad about that.

Q. And your thoughts on being a Grand Slam champion?
MATE PAVIC: Well, it still has to settle down a little bit. I’m still kind of not feeling it at the moment. But, no, I mean, like she said, it was a great week for us. Maybe the story how we ended up playing together, you know, maybe that helped a little bit, because we had no expectations at all, you know.

We just kind of not sure we were gonna play or not. Maybe that helped a little bit.

Yeah, we played all the matches very solid, very good. It was a fun week. It was great.

Q. Can you talk about how you guys came together? I have heard the story, but I’d like to hear it from you guys. Like I say, it’s almost like the perfect blind date.
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Yeah, it’s really kind of a blind date. Honestly, I didn’t know him before. We don’t have too many combined events and I’m just starting to play the big ones, combined events. I have never seen him or heard his name.

I was not sure if I was gonna play because I wasn’t feeling very well at that point. But I still — I mean, I love the game of mixed, so I really wanted to play.

It was still a week till the first match of mixed, so I was hoping that someone would, you know, trust me that I would maybe get better. He was the only one that was very relaxed about the situation and also didn’t have a partner yet. So he didn’t have a lot of options. The cut is kind of high. Weren’t really a lot of girls around that were looking, so… (Smiling.)

MATE PAVIC: I was stuck with her.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: It turned out quite well in the end. So, yeah, that was the situation. And then even when I played my other matches — I had to retire from doubles. It was a day I couldn’t move.

And then singles was hard on me. And even after the singles he thought, I think, that I was maybe just gonna retire and just go home to get better.

MATE PAVIC: Yeah.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: I remember the text like the next — or after my singles. He’s like, So, are we gonna play tomorrow? I was like, Yeah, let’s do it. (Smiling.)

Q. Laura, until a year or two ago you were still juggling tennis and school. Now you are able to focus completely on tennis. How much has that helped your game?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Honestly, I really think it always helped my game a lot if I had not only tennis on my mind. I kind of need some balance is what I found out for myself. So this season was a little bit tough for me because it was the first time after a couple of years where I had only tennis. Only thing I focused on.

So a great year, of course. Looking at the rankings, also and this title now.

But it is difficult for me. I feel like I need some time off, and if it’s not studying or coaching what I did before, I kind of, you know, make hobbies or whatever. I just take time for other things, which is really important for me.

But, yeah, the first season back full-time pro, it’s a good season.

Q. How do you celebrate winning a Grand Slam? What are both of your plans for tonight?
MATE PAVIC: I don’t know. I have a flight tomorrow evening, so I have the whole night to think about it. Probably go somewhere and celebrate. I don’t know. Don’t know yet.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: I trust his crew to have a good location. They said they have a good location; we just need to win. So we did it.

Q. Celebrating with strangers, right?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Well, no. I mean, we kind of got to know the Croatian crew a little bit through the week.

Q. What do you think? Is this the beginning of something beautiful together?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: On my side, yes. I don’t know how you feel about it.

MATE PAVIC: Of course, yeah.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: Well, I think we should definitely play more together, and is also the matter of the cut.

MATE PAVIC: Hopefully we will get in Australia and maybe try there also to play.

Q. Just talk about the match today, also.
MATE PAVIC: I think it was a good match. It was very good. They are good. They are solid. They both serving good. Coco is also serving good for the girl. All the other matches the girls were not really serving that good or hitting the ball that good.

I think we were — like I said before, she’s returning very good for the girl, you know. So all the matches that we played, we broke the guy’s serve a lot of times. Like even today Rajeev was serving and we broke his serve twice.

Was putting the balls back, returning good, makes the guy feel pressure and he has to win those games and then it’s not easy to make the point. So I think that make a huge difference in all the matches that we played so far.

Q. Do you guys think the cut system needs to be changed? To me it sounds ridiculous that the US Open champions might not be able to play the Australian Open.
MATE PAVIC: Yeah. Yeah, maybe right. I don’t know if they should change it or not, but usually the cuts are very strong because they always look at the better rankings.

Also depends on a lot of singles guys and girls also, if they sign or not if they want to play.

LAURA SIEGEMUND: Me, personally, yeah, I think it’s hard. I had the situation for quite sometime that I really wanted to play mixed, but I was just out of the cut.

The group of people that have the ranking for that, they are kind of set with each other for a long time already. So if you’re coming from outside it’s very hard to get into that group unless you’re like pushing your own ranking up so much.

So, yeah, I really think it’s a little bit sad, yeah, that even we would have to see now if we get in in the Australian Open, for example. Yeah.

Q. Winning a Grand Slam, what does this do for your confidence moving over to men’s doubles tournaments going forward for the rest of the season?
MATE PAVIC: Well, I don’t know. We will see. It feels great. Of course it’s gonna give you confidence winning a Grand Slam. Even if it’s a mixed doubles, it’s still amazing feeling, you know.

So I had a good year so far. I won like four ATPs. So we’ll see. I hope to just continue like that. Get my ranking a little bit better. My goal is to get top 30 by end of the year to get to the majors of Masters 1000s and all these events. We will see how does it do.

Q. Laura, the same question. Just in terms of obviously being a Grand Slam champion now, what does this do for your confidence and also your goals going forward?
LAURA SIEGEMUND: Um, well, yeah, as he said, it’s always a push in the confidence winning a big thing like that. I think you learn — as a girl, I learn a lot about doubles playing the mixed. I mean, it’s just — everything is faster, even faster than if you play girls doubles, for example.

So you really learn to pick the spots and not be afraid at the net maybe. I mean, I learned a lot this week also where to move and all that, so I think I can use that in the women’s doubles.

Although it’s still a different game. I mean, it is different. But I definitely try to take that, you know, swing into the last tournaments of the year, yeah.

 

More to follow as the day progresses….

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Day 9 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

 

(September 5, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How happy are you with the way you won today? Are you content with the way you played? Straight sets is always good.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I’m happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play quarterfinal against a French guy, you know. I think I handled it pretty good mentally and tennistically.

I’m happy with that and where my game is. I see new or good stuff today. Serve was a bit better. I have been saying I think to the French press that I could serve faster. I think I did it great today.

Still moving good. I’m very happy.

Q. To get to this point of the tournament – first time in semifinals of the US Open – you have had electric and great matches here, but to be able to play in the semis, how happy are you with that?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I think I missed a good chance two years ago against Roger, but, you know, I just live now, and now I’m happy. I played great tennis so far.

You know, I have two days to recover to play my first semis here. I’m more than happy. I’m happy where I am now, so I gonna prepare great my match.

Q. Sometimes it seemed like to us that you play just as much to entertain the crowd; spectacular shots. Today it seemed like you were, very focused, playing a sharp, intelligent match, and controlled. Is that accurate, or what’s your feeling about that?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, about that is somehow — you know, those match, you never get, you know, those ball to entertain, how you say.

If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.

Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.

Q. You’re 30 years old now. Has your philosophy changed about these things? Are you trying to be more conservative with your body or anything like this?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, not really. I think I’m very blessed genetically, you know. I guess the only thing is a bit different the recovery. I think it’s a bit tougher.

But if not, I’m even stronger than before, I think.

Q. If you were to face Novak Djokovic, how would you describe what that match will mean to you and what it will depend on?
GAEL MONFILS: I have a second opportunity to get to my first slam final, and the opportunity to maybe beat him for the first time in the main tour, to beat the world No. 1. That’s it.

Q. What do you think the outcome will depend on? What is most important for you to do to give yourself the best chance to win?
GAEL MONFILS: I have today to think about it. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Always. You know, always. No matter what, looks maybe a bit more serious, like everyone mention it this year, but I play tennis because I have fun. I play tennis because I love the sport.

If not, I won’t wake up every morning, train, because most of people think that jumping or do trick shot is gifted. Yes, it’s gifted, but is a lot of work. I won’t say I work on the trick shot, but it’s like I think physically I’m one of the best.

And to do that is because you’re in a great shape, you know. If I don’t have funny I stop playing tennis, for sure.

Q. Doesn’t matter whether you’re entertaining or whatever, you’re having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, have fun.

Q. Does it frustrate you when people talk about trick shots and entertaining?
GAEL MONFILS: Make me laugh. You know, make me laugh, because honestly, if I can do it today, let’s say today if I have a 360 smash, definitely I do it, but I don’t have the ball.

Sometime I have it and I do it, and then the first thing is gonna be talk about is all match it was an exhibition and maybe I hit one shot.

So it’s funny. Now, you know, I get to be more consistent with the winning, you know. Because, I mean, now it’s easier to say, Oh, because I’m winning more, you know, more matches, so it’s tougher for some people to say that I’m just a showman.

Now I’m winning and faire le show.

Q. Do you ever want people to understand that you’re…
GAEL MONFILS: No, you know, I always say if I have the ball I do it because I love it. I think when I dive on the court I not dive for people. Come on. To be honest, I gonna hurt myself for people? No.

I dive because I want to win the point. Definitely I want to win the point. You know, when you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose actually.

That’s why people think, Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding. In the end, you think I’m stupid? (Laughter.)

Q. Novak could have a tough match, perhaps will have a tough match with Jo tonight, but he’s had a rather easy US Open so far. Is it important for top players to be challenged early on to get things going later in a tournament, or if you are winning well and things are going well it doesn’t matter for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, for him is different, you know. He’s super confident for years. I think doesn’t need many matches to feel his best tennis.

So I think everybody is different. I’m guy I don’t need much tennis to feel confident. Me, myself, it’s more about if I feel 100% physically is good enough to play tough tennis.

Q. You mentioned that match two years ago against Roger and how you had a chance. Did that one stick with you? Did you think about that a lot afterwards?
GAEL MONFILS: Not really, you know. What stays I had a wonderful time. It was one of the greatest match I play, you know. It’s always great to play against Roger, you know. Even if you have match points, it happen in sport.

I gave the best I had. You know, when you have opportunities you try to get it, and I think I got it back today to be in semis.

So I have been waiting for two years.

Q. You’re quite a sports fan. Do you ever learn anything from watching other sports like football or basketball that can help you on the tennis court?
GAEL MONFILS: Definitely. I mean, this year, you know, with the — I mean, I have been respecting a lot what LeBron James — I mean, what he done this year was unreal. His mindset and the work he put in to win this final, I think this is big inspiration for me.

Q. You were asked earlier about the possibility of facing Novak. I wanted to ask you to talk about the possibility of facing Jo in the semis, and both maybe what you think would be the key to that match, but also if you could speak a little bit about how long you have known each other and what it might mean to face Jo in a Grand Slam semifinal.
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, it would be a huge dream, I think. A dream. Definitely we will choose the final, but semis would be good enough.

You know, it’s not a good friend. He’s one of my best friends. He’s a brother. He’s someone I grew up with. He’s someone I look at when I was younger because he was a bit older than me.

You know, we have been through this Federation center. He was stronger than us and playing earlier, you know, the futures and everything. We always, you know, put the work to play with him, to be with Jo, you know.

So we found out, you know, ourself on the tour together, playing Davis Cup together. Go to Rio together. Share a room together in Rio. Do some fun stuff together, you know, since actually we have been 10, 11. It’s been great.

I mean, if you can have a reward and play, I mean, the semifinal in two days, it would be amazing.

Q. (Regarding five-set match with Djokovic.)
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, I remember, yeah, that was a tricky match actually. With the roof will be different, because it was taking a long time and I lost this one 7-5 in the fifth.

It was long time ago I think now. Novak is the best player ever, and that time he wasn’t. So I think it was just a good memory.

Q. But now you’re saying he is the best player ever.
GAEL MONFILS: He is. Yeah, he is. I mean, so far — when I say “ever,” not yet, because it’s still Roger. But so far what he’s doing is amazing. He’s better player than me, definitely. I think I have no shame to say it. He is better than me.

You can be the best, but one match is enough, you know. If I face him, I will take the one match as enough.

Q. You have been really consistent this year. I’m just wondering, what do you think is the key? Like you’re healthy? Maybe the confidence just keeps like helping you?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, my health has been big trouble I think all my career, and now it is somehow stabilized. I think I work differently. I think I understand different stuff.

I think it helps me a lot to be stronger.

Q. What’s the secret of success of the French players? This tournament especially, but generally speaking. You always have new talent and you have always a group of players in last few players, in the last eight, which no country has. What do you think is the secret?
GAEL MONFILS: I don’t know if secret, but I think it’s good. I think it’s good for sure for our country.

But I think it’s — I’m not sure it’s a secret. I think we all work hard, and somehow we know we make it in the same moment.

Obviously, you know, sometime it was I think the States, was Spain, you know, other countries. At the end it happen here, you know. I think I have no words to say what to say about that, but the only thing I hope is maybe next year we’re gonna have maybe even one or two more.

Q. You said you feel Novak is one of the greatest players ever, possibly the greatest player ever. What do you admire most about him?
GAEL MONFILS: His consistency, his game, the way he hit the ball clean.

I mean, so far, you know, it’s very hard to remember a match where. You know, he wasn’t hitting the ball clean. You know, maybe one or two a year. It’s amazing. The way tactically he handle, you know, every tactic, like we try to made against him.

And I think, yeah, so far he’s the best. I think he’s a great champion.

Q. How important is it for you to have a coach? How is your relationship with your trainer? What’s it like?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it’s important, for sure, for me because I need to have someone that can tell me, you know, drive me, I would say, drive me a little bit.

I got a lots going on with my tennis, which mean sometime I want to defend, I want to attack, I want to go to the net.

I think I can actually make all those shots myself, but it’s easier when someone drive you and help you to find your way, you know.

I think Mikael do it pretty good.

Q. You earlier mentioned LeBron James. Have you ever had a chance to meet him? And if you did, what would you want to ask him?
GAEL MONFILS: No, I never have this chance, but, you know, if I met him first time, first thing I would tell you is I want to dunk on you. (Laughter.)

No, I might ask him, I don’t know, so many questions. You know, I watch a lot of the commentary on him. Got many question about how he is, how he feels, how it is to be the leader, like a great champion playing with him. How do you think about everything. You know, I think I’d be a great day if I can.

Q. You mentioned your health being good and working differently now. What are you doing differently? Maybe some examples. Is it a new diet? More time in the gym?
GAEL MONFILS: I working better. I working better. Differently.

I’m not always talk about how I do it, but — what I can say I find a way to take care of my knee, take care of my body, you know, take care of everything. So far it’s good.

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us the first set, which you were behind three times and you were able to recover. How was difficult? Were you tense? You started to play much better later.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think the key of the match was the first set. I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.

I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.

Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.

Q. You were not so much relaxed in the first set, correct?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, no, because it was tough and I knew that it’s really close now. So that’s why I talked to myself, Okay, stay positive. Think about the good things you did in the first set.

And that’s it. After I won the first set I was more relaxed at the end. I think in the second set what I did good that I played the first few games really tough so that I was up 3-0 very fast.

Then I could continue my good play, yeah, in the next few games.

Q. In the first set especially she used the dropshot a lot and you went to the net. Sometimes it worked; sometimes is didn’t. How do you feel you did against that? Do you think other players are going to use that going forward?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know that she’s playing like this. I know how she play and I was actually prepared for that. So, yeah, it works sometimes, but I think a lot of players are playing like that already. Also me.

So I was not surprised that she was playing so many dropshots.

Q. Against a player like Roberta who hits so much variety and slices, is it especially important to stay patient and calm?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it was also important to have patience against her and wait for your shots, because she is actually a good mover and she brings a lot of balls back with her slice, as well.

So I was trying to moving good, and, yeah, keeping my eyes on the balls and going for it. Because the spin is a little bit different than when you play against others. They are just hitting the balls really strong.

Q. Did you watch her match against Serena last year? What did you make of her performance in that one?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I just saw the final. I didn’t saw the semis. I saw a lot of matches after. She is a great player and she played very good in the last few months, so I was trying to, yeah, watch the match.

And also, I talked with my coach a little bit because he saw the match before. And, yeah, my plan was playing with patience and when I have the chance to going for it.

Q. This is becoming common for you now to get to this stage in a major. How would you describe the transformation in your game and your thinking to get to where it is becoming common for you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it’s changed a little bit. For me, I’m going out on Arthur Ashe, on the stadium, and playing against top player, as well. I have I think right now more confidence to going out there.

I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever. I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.

I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.

Q. So how different is your sense of belief in yourself right now than it was before this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s bigger, for sure. It’s one of my best years now, so that’s why my belief in myself is growing for sure. That’s why I think I’m playing like I’m playing right now, that I really going for it with a lot of belief in my game and myself.

Yeah, it’s changed a lot in the last few months.

Q. You just hit on this in terms of thinking your way through a match. Two years ago, three years ago, how different would this match have played out? Do you think you would have been as mentally strong against an opponent who really throws you off?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I think this is a good question. I don’t know. Maybe not, because I think I grow a lot in the last few years.

And also with my mentality, that I’m, yeah, staying more positive and believing in my game. I think that, yeah, that right now I can win matches like that.

Also, the match before I played, just staying positive and believe in my shots. That gives me a lot of confidence.

So I think I learned a lot from the last years.

Q. You were saying that you kept telling yourself today to stay in the moment and focus on right now, not look ahead. How does that help you and how does that get more difficult and certainly facing your next round?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Today, that was I think the key for the match, to staying in the moment and not thinking ahead or like what’s happen or whatever.

And I think this is also what I have learned in the last few months also, to not thinking ahead against who I’m playing or if it’s the same as other final or first round actually.

I’m just trying to, yeah, believe and having fun out there, enjoying what I’m doing right now. I think this is the best way for me to playing my best tennis.

Q. It’s been five years since you were in the semifinals here. It must be very, very good to be back at this stage. How different is it going in now with the accomplishments that you have, the Grand Slams and great results you have had lately and the mental maturity than it was for the 23 year old who did it five years ago?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, it’s completely different. I mean, I remember the semis here like years ago when I reached it for my first time. That was maybe also a little bit surprise.

I had nothing to lose. I came here. I just played great tennis. I think a lot of things, yeah, happened since then.

Now I’m a completely different player, I think. I’m going out. I have a lot of confidence. I know how to win big matches. I know how it feels playing on the stadium.

I’m also enjoying it more than years ago. I’m trying to, you know, going there and enjoying the atmosphere and also win the matches.

I mean, years ago I came here and I had nothing to lose and my goal was playing good, and now my goal is winning the matches and this is a little bit different.

Q. When you had your quarterfinal press conference, when you were doing this five years ago, do you remember feeling a bit differently, maybe a bit more nervous or apprehensive, do I really belong here, as opposed to where you are right now sitting there talking to us?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so. Five years ago I was a little bit nervous. I was sitting here and I had no idea what to answer, I think. I was like, Okay, let’s see.

But right now I think for me it comes normal to came here in front of you guys, speaking with you. So it’s like after every match it’s the same rhythm.

Q. You’re speaking in terms of positiveness and all mental, but of course the physical part, is your practice different now? It’s awesome what you’re saying in regards to all the positive thinking and that is fantastic, but is your practice different now as opposed to how it was several years ago or a year ago or whatever? What has changed? And is there one strength in your game that has really made a significant difference in the past several months or so of this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my practice change a little bit. I’m trying to focusing just on one or two things during the practice and really trying to focusing on this and improving few things and not making things also too complicated. To going out there and practicing like not maybe two hours, but just one hour, and full intensity. I think this is what I change.

Yeah, my game, I think my serve improved a little bit more than like few months ago. Of course that helps me a little bit more on my game style when my first serve, yeah, cames more.

Q. Question regarding Wozniacki.)
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Caroline is always a tough opponent. I know this. We know each other very well.

So let’s see who will win the quarterfinal tonight, but for me, it’s — I will watch it a little bit for sure, but for me it’s actually doesn’t matter against who I’m playing.

I’m now in the semifinals, and if it’s Caroline, yeah, it will be great match for sure. I know how she is playing; she is strong again; she had great wins here.

So it will be a good semis.

Q. What do you remember about the matches against Caroline in the past particularly? You obviously had some long ones; some insane long rallies in Indian Wells.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I remember long matches with her. I remember we have tough rallies and always really tough ones.

So for sure it will be – if it’s her again – really tough battle.

But, yeah, I’m looking forward to take the chance again with her to play and to take the challenge. It’s the semis, so it doesn’t matter against who I’m playing. I mean, it will be tough one. I’m looking forward if it’s Caroline.

Q. You’re known for working so hard on your game, and your game has gotten better and better each year. You still have a ways to go. What would it mean to you to finally become the best player in the world? What would that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Um, this would mean a lot to me. I mean, when I was a kid I was always dreaming to being the No. 1. Let’s see. I mean, there are still matches to go.

Also, Serena has to play as well very good. I mean, let’s see. I mean, I’m looking forward to play, first of all, my next match. If the day will come, it will be amazing.

Q. As you mentioned, we don’t know the name of your next opponent. I’d just like to ask you about the specific challenge of each one, starting with Caroline. When you face her, what do you consider to be the greatest challenge in her game for you? And then the same with Anastaija?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: With Caroline, I mean, I know she’s moving very well and she brings a lot of balls back, so I have to be really patient, like today, and waiting for the shots and being aggressive. That will be for sure the challenge with her.

And against Sevastova, I think I never played against her yet, so… But this is also — I mean, she has nothing to lose. She plays now also one of her best tennis. She reach the quarters here, so she will give everything. Yeah, actually, I don’t know exactly how she’s playing right now.

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing. You had a rough break and then all of a sudden she broke back and kind of seemed like a different match. Talk about what happened.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, was of course a tough match. Bad luck for the first set. I had so many chance. Probably I was playing better than her the first set.

But she’s a great player. She miss maybe two or three balls and she run a lot. She’s in confidence. So I lost the first set, and then the second set she started to play better than the first set. I was a little bit down.

But anyway, of course I’m so sad about today. In general I played a great tournament. Now just will go home and take some days off; see what I have for my injury, and then we will see.

Q. You felt that she became a significantly better player?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.

Q. Because she had said she sort of learned to relax; she had nerves coming in and you are a tricky player. It wasn’t so much that your game fell, it’s that she was able to raise the level of her game?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I have different kind of tennis, of course. Yeah, she was a little bit nervous probably because she knew that I am different player. Probably she prefer to play with some opponent that play flat.

But I have a different game, and, well, to beat her, she’s tough. You have to play great tennis, high level. I played high level for just one set.

But that was the best that I can do today.

Q. Last year you were coming in and facing Serena, clearly the hottest player on tour. Right now you can say Angie is the hottest player on tour right now. Two years in a row. Did you draw upon last year, what you were able to do against Serena?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, this morning in my mind I said, of course, Okay, try your best; tough opponent like Serena last year. You have nothing to lose. Play your game. Try to enjoy. I knew that I was in the quarterfinal after a lot of problems, but I was fighting also today.

But, yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world. Maybe No. 1. So she’s in confidence. For me was tough, but I play good game today. I knew it was tough, tough to win against her.

But, yeah, she’s a great player. She won, so she played better than me. And that’s it.

Q. From what you remember of her a couple years ago, what is different about the level of her game today? Is it mental…
ROBERTA VINCI: My game or her game?

Q. Her game. What has raised?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, she’s a great player. Yeah, probably different is mentality, from the mentality. She’s confident. She miss not so many balls, and she say always focus every single point. She run a lot, so you have to push a lot to win a point. You have to run a lot.

Yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world, so now she’s probably better mental, and also tennis. Both.

Q. It appears that you’re saying that the mental toughness has been a significant factor that has transformed her game.
ROBERTA VINCI: Okay, okay. Sorry.

Q. So if that is the situation, so her game has been basically the same —
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.

Q. — in the past several years. It’s just now she’s mentally tough and says, I can beat you; Vinci, I can beat you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah. She won a lot of matches this year. She won one Grand Slam. She won a lot of match. So when the moments is tough, probably she’s…

Q. So does that create a fear within you now, her mental toughness? Because I’m hearing something here that’s mental, mental, mental, so perhaps it’s creating fear in you and some of the other girls that she’s…
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s on fire. She won a lot of matches. She’s in confidence. When the moment is tough and both are so close, she’s focused. She’s in good shape. She’s No. 2. So probably this is the difference between us.

Lucas Pouille

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing result, but it’s been a great run for you. Obviously you came in off those five-setters and the rough one against Rafa. Talk about how that contributed to some fatigue, if that was the case. Talk about the match.
LUCAS POUILLE: Of course I was a bit tired today. I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.

So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.

Yeah, I think he was better than me today.

Q. What are the takeaways from the tournament? Obviously the win against Rafa, the hard-fought battles, but that one in particular?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, the one against Rafa, of course. It’s the best win of my career so far.

It’s a lot of confidence. Even if I lose today, I will leave New York with a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and the next season. Now I know I can be in quarterfinal again and maybe more.

Yeah, give me power to work harder and to be, yeah, next time in quarter. I want to be stronger physically and, yeah, to be more fresh.

Q. Here and Wimbledon, are you at a point now where you have higher expectations coming into Grand Slams?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, of course. Now the next one gonna be in Australia. It’s going to be a new year.

But I won’t go there to win only one match. I want to do second week and more. That’s gonna be my goal next year.

Q. How much did it bother you that several times you were at the net, seemingly good position to win the point, and he was able to lob you, get to a tough ball and then lob you?
LUCAS POUILLE: Ah, a lot. He’s moving — as I say, he’s moving so well. When you come to the net he always push you to the limit. He always put one more ball in the court.

So if you want to make a winner you have to make the perfect shot. Maybe I was a little bit tired. I was not so close to the net or I was not fast enough to come.

So, yeah, gave him a lot of space to pass me. Yeah, it was difficult.

Anastasija Sevastova

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much was your ankle injury affecting your play?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was affecting my play, but I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best.

But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve. Yeah.

Q. The second time the trainer came out, what was that discussion about?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It was a discussion like she wanted to do something else. I was asking her what she can do maybe to help me, because I don’t like tapes normally on my ankle, because it’s different feeling plus it’s so tight, so I was just asking her. And, yeah…

Q. How tough was that just to be out there knowing that you couldn’t play the tennis that you wanted to play on Ashe Stadium, night session?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was tough, but what can I do? I tried my best. I don’t like to retire, as I mentioned, but Caroline played great tennis. I think she made no mistakes. She did what she could best. She was a better player anyway. Yeah, even I think if I had no injury it would tough to beat her, yeah.

Q. How did you hurt it? Did you just twist it while…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know. I think I stopped on the serve. I didn’t follow through. I fell over. And, yeah, I heard some sounds there, but it happened to me couple of months ago as well on clay.

So it’s pretty much the same injury, same ankle, twice in six months. (Smiling.)

Q. Obviously an incredible two weeks for you and everything, but does the way it all ends kind of change what you take away from it, or is it still…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t think it takes away. I still won two games. (Laughter.)

Yeah, it’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.

But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.

I mean, if somebody asks me like before, Would you take a quarterfinal, lose 0 and 2, or would you take a first round and lose 7-6 in the third, for sure I would take quarterfinals.

Q. How much did it mean to you getting to play three matches on Ashe? Not all quarterfinalists get to…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know why they put me on Ashe three times. I’m like playing more often than some other players who are like top 10. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great stadium. It’s the biggest one. It’s unbelievable.

I feel very welcomed here.

Q. Does it mean much to you to join the Last Eight Club? Do you know about that?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know about that. I heard about that. What does it mean? Do I get something special?

Q. Last Eight Club means basically you get free credential and tickets for rest of your life.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Cool. Do I get also to practice alone on the court? Because before the tournament we were always sharing.

Q. Can you tell us how some things have changed in your life over the last ten days? Have you gotten new endorsements? What kind of benefits have you gotten over the last ten days?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really. Latvia is a poor country. No, not really.

Q. Nothing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Nothing changed.

Q. Have you heard from any special people that you didn’t expect?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No.

Q. Nothing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No, not really.

Q. Did you get that hat recently?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No. It’s my hometown in Latvia.

Q. Kristaps is from the same…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, exactly.

Q. How far away did you grow up from his family?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know his family, no. I’m not into basketball that much.

Q. But that was…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It’s the same town. We are from the same town, yeah.

Q. Did you hear from the Olympic hockey —
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: They lost. I heard about that.

Q. Do you feel you were able to cheer them up a little bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t follow hockey that much actually. (Laughter.)

I mean, I heard about that. This is qualifying. But, yeah. We still won — they still won against Austria 8-1.

Q. Did you brag to your boyfriend?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: That’s what I can brag about all the time.

Q. So do you leave New York the same as when you got here, or has the last 10 days changed you a bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure. I have more confidence in my tennis. I think on a good day I could beat good players, top players.

And, yeah, the season is long. I mean, there is still some tournaments I can play, and it’s a good position to start the next year where I am now. So we’ll see. I have to just keep working.

It cannot happen like this today maybe. I have to start better. But for sure I’m more confident, and I’m more happy with my tennis, yeah.

Q. Did you feel that the crowd was particularly noisy tonight, more so than your other matches on Ashe?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Like a pro on Ashe. (Smiling.)

Q. Was it distracting at all?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Actually tonight it was not that distracting personally for me. They were loud, yeah, for sure, but I expected that from the first match during the night against Garbiñe.

So tonight it was okay. The problem I couldn’t hear the referee saying time, or chair umpire. I couldn’t hear.

Q. We couldn’t either.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah.

Q. Do you know what your schedule is for the fall? You’re right around where could you get seeded for the Australian Open.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Tokyo, not International —

Q. Little Tokyo or big Tokyo?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I just withdraw because of my ankle. I’m playing the second one, then Wuhan and Beijing, and probably Moscow. Maybe Linz. Depends on the results from before. After Moscow, I’m done.

Q. You probably haven’t had an opportunity to really, really celebrate everything that’s happened this week.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really.

Q. How do you celebrate now that you don’t have to play a match for a while?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I’m quite tired now actually. My ankle hurts. Maybe on the flight home. I don’t know.

No, no idea. No. Really, maybe we will go out tonight. If we are not sleeping. But probably at home we would go somewhere for dinner or to nice drink. Yeah.

 

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be back in the semifinals of New York?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels great. It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.

So it’s a great.

Q. It’s always hard to keep your focus when maybe the opponent is injured or something happens. You seemed to do that very well tonight.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game. She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.

But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.

Q. Do you feel like you have home court advantage here being that you have your apartment sleeping in your apartment?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I definitely do feel like I have an advantage there. I sleep at home in my own bed, have home-cooked food, and have my friends and family here.

I also feel like I have a bit of a home court advantage when I step out on court. The crowd is always supporting me and is sweet to me. I think it helps I played so well here in the past. It’s just a great combination.

Q. What have been your observations of Angie’s improvement both in a physical way and mental way to get to the stage where she is now in late stages of nearly all the majors this season?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, you know, obviously I have seen the results and she’s been doing great. I’m really happy for her. She’s a hard worker.

But to be honest, when I was injured I didn’t watch one match. I don’t know. I have to watch tapes. Obviously I have had tough matches against her in the past. She’s a great competitor. She looks fit, so it’s going to be a tough one.

Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I just kind of want to enjoy this moment first.

Q. How inspirational is that for you with all the Polish folks behind you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, there is a lot of Polish people living here. Obviously there is a big fan base from Poland here.

Obviously I was born in Denmark and feel Danish, but I have some Polish blood in me. It’s nice I can take the best of both worlds. Also I have a big part of the New York crowd with me. It’s a great combination here.

Q. Cook any Polish food?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I haven’t this week, actually. After the tournament. (Smiling.)

Q. You have known Angie for a very long time and you hung out when you were younger, et cetera. Does it surprise you she finds herself in world No. 2, Grand Slam champion, based off how you were when you were younger?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I don’t think so. We are similar in that we are both hard working. I think that, you know, hard work pays off. She’s obviously very passionate. She loves what she’s doing and it shows.

She’s had a great year and I’m happy for her.

Q. This isn’t a position you have been in quite often the last couple years. Does it make easier playing Angie, someone you know so well?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t think it makes it easier. We will have to wait and she. She’s had a great year so she will be tough to beat, but I’m going to do my best. That’s all can I ask for myself.

Q. You said you didn’t really want to look ahead and go on to the next match right away. You really wanted to enjoy the moment and looked very happy at that time. How does being able to stay in the moment and not go out of yourself, how has that helped you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s really helped me. You know, there is always going to be uphill battles, and sometimes it’s not going to go your way.

But I always believe if you work hard and you have the belief, and obviously you give it your all, eventually it will turn. It’s been a great week or ten days for me. I’m really pleased.

I think the fact that I have friends and family here and I can just go home and relax and kind of unwind, it’s really helped me to kind of just enjoy it and not look ahead and not stress and just show up. I’m like, Well, I get another day; I get another chance.

It’s great.

Q. I think your father was talking to the Danish press. Thinking about retiring? Have you given much thought to that, plans on that sort of front?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I kind of — I think I don’t want to really talk about that now. When I feel ready to open up and say something then I will, but for now I’m just here to play this tournament.

Hopefully I have two more matches here. Yeah, it’s really all I’m focused on right now.

Q. You have had to answer a number of questions about No. 1 or the No. 1 ranking. What is it about ranking? Angie is in a race for it. Is it something coveted on tour? You talked about ranking is just a number. Where does No. 1 fit into it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think when you’re a little kid and you don’t know what anything really means, everybody knows what it means to be the best in the world and everybody knows what it means to be No. 1.

So I think getting the No. 1 ranking is extremely special and it’s something that everyone can kind of relate to and every little kid understands.

So obviously being No. 1 in the world is extremely special, and I’m sure Angie is feeling it, too. I’m sure that she is going to do everything to get that ranking. She’s been playing really well this year.

It’s something that very few people in the world has ever achieved. I mean, how crazy is it to say that you’re the best in the world at something? Doesn’t matter if tennis, football, being a lawyer, whatever it is. It’s really special.

You know, for me, when I’m saying ranking is just a number, I have been No. 1. I have been there for two year years. That is something I’m extremely proud of.

But right now, for me, being 70-something, it’s not really — you know, it doesn’t really mean much to me. I still believe and feel like I’m one of the top players and grinding my way back, so that’s why I’m saying for me right now the ranking is just a number: because I’m not No. 1 and there is a long way for me right now to get back to No. 1.

But I’m doing my best to just play my best tennis and have fun with it. It’s really all that I can do right now.

Q. Would it be strange to see that number with not Serena Williams’ name next to it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. I mean, she’s held that ranking for so long. Obviously, I think, it’s sad she’s only played eight tournaments from this time last year. She’s such an unbelievable and inspiring player. Obviously being so close with her, just it’s special. She’s just a special athlete. You know, it’s incredible what she’s achieved. It’s something that probably very few – or it will take a long time before someone else gets to that level.

Q. How many weeks a year do you spend at your Manhattan place and where you train?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t know. I mean, we travel so much, so I don’t get to spend as much time here as I want.

But when I’m here lately I have been training at the McEnroe Academy on Randall’s Island. Sometimes I go to the Westside Highway; it’s public courts. They usually let me in and let me in and train for as long as I want. I kind of like being there, because I feel like a proper New Yorker.

Q. There is a queue to get on to those courts. Have you waited?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I actually haven’t waited because people have been so sweet that they’ve let me in.

Q. That’s fair.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: But if I had to wait, I would. What can I do? I have to follow the rules, right?

Q. Your serve has been particularly reliable for you over the course of the tournament. That hasn’t always been the case in the past. Can you talk about the evolution of that shot? What is kind of the specific work that you have put into it to make it a shot that you can rely on here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It’s been something that I have worked on for the last 20 years. It’s something that I have spent a lot of time on, and it’s something that maybe doesn’t come — the return comes more natural than the serve, but I have been working really hard on it.

It’s been great at periods in my career and then it’s been really bad in periods where I am like, I don’t know why the timing isn’t there. It’s been good again, so it’s kind of on and off.

When it’s on, I’m just praying that it’s going to stay on for a while. I don’t know.

Q. Has it been on here? Would you consider this on?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think it’s been a good two weeks. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Q. You spoke a moment ago about belief and enjoyment and about your two weeks as No. 1 player in the world. How do those things compare now with the belief and enjoyment when you were the No. 1 player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s much different. I’m older. I have been through everything. Right now I’m happy every time I get to play on a big court.

It’s special, you know. Like obviously being injured and being away from the game you kind of put things in perspective. You’re like, I could get injured again tomorrow and maybe I won’t have another shot out there.

I think I’m enjoying it much more now than back I was then. Back then I was just trying and grinding for staying at the top of the rankings for as long as possible, and obviously just winning every match.

Now obviously I want to win every match, but it’s different. I’m not the favorite in most of my matches anymore, or on paper at least. I’m just going in there as the underdog and going out doing my thing.

Q. How does that increased enjoyment affect your belief as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I have always had the belief. The belief hasn’t changed. I just think I’m enjoying it now more than I was in the past.

I think it’s less stressful. It’s more going out and having fun.

Q. There was a picture on Twitter of the vacation you took with Angie and the Radwanskas, like, years ago.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I look pretty round in that picture, actually. I think we all did.

Q. You were at a different stage in your lives. But everybody grows up, and on the tour everybody becomes more professional, has their own teams. Can you look back on that kind of time and how different it was and maybe if you have any stories to share about that vacation with Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Actually, I don’t think it’s that different. We would still go on vacations, but the problem is like, you know, Aga is getting married, so then all of a sudden we’re like, We just want a girls trip, but it’s tough when everyone has their own thing.

But even last year Angie and I were talking. I was like, Part of my offseason I will be in New York. I’ll be somewhere else. If you want to join, you’re more than welcome.

So it’s not like we are separated, but it’s like sometimes like we have different priorities or there is just a little bit more busy now. But, yeah, I think still we hang out and we have coffees and sit and talk and have a good time.

I think the great thing about our little group of people is that we have kind of hung out together for years and years now, and doesn’t matter who is No. 1 or who is lower ranked or who is beating who, we always have that little clique, and it’s nice to be able to just hang out and have a nice little conversation and a good laugh.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga

6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your road to the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m in the semifinals, so that’s what matters for me the most; to be able to play as well as I did in fourth round and today in the quarterfinals for at least a couple of sets.

I thought that I came out with the right intensity. The quality of my game and level of performance has raised in last couple of days, which obviously encourages me prior to the last four.

I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the finals. As tournament progresses, I feel like I’m getting better. Of course that this Grand Slam is very unique for me. I never experienced something like this to have three retirements on the road to the semifinals.

I can only wish all of my opponents a speedy recovery. That’s all I can do on my end. I obviously try to focus on things that I need to do; stick to the game plan. I notice Jo already midway through the second set was upholding his first serve and you could sense that something is going on.

So I’m sure it’s not an easy situation for him to handle, playing quarterfinals and having to retire night session. But, again, it’s sport.

Q. Did you sense that you broke him mentally as much as physically with just how sharp you were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s I guess a question for him. On my side I said I tried to come in with high intensity, concentration, and trying to execute the game plan I prepared with my team.

I played Jo many times on the big stage. First Grand Slam final for both of us was back in 2008 in Melbourne. Yeah, played over 20 times against each other, so I know Jo very well. I know his pros and cons.

So I tried to analyze the matches that we had before, and as I said, get myself, you know, prepared the best way I could. I thought I did well on the return; put a lot of pressure on his second serve. First serve is sometimes a gamble because it’s a big serve. Just tried to get as many balls back in play, move him around the court, and I thought at least that I have done well.

Q. Does the lack of match competition concern you at all going forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. Actually, in this stage of the season, considering some physical issues I have had in the last month, month and a half, this was the scenario that I needed and I wished for. I got a lot of days off and recovered my body. Right now I’m feeling very close to the peak. That’s the position where I want to be.

Q. But would a fourth or a fifth set maybe be a bit of uncharted territory for you in the current sense?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I mean, I have played so many times. I was so many times in this particular situation where I had long matches on the road to the semis of a Grand Slam. Also had some Grand Slams where didn’t spend too much time on the court.

It really just depends how you feel, how your season has been, how many matches you have played throughout the year.

As I said, this scenario with easy was ideal at this stage.

Q. You played Del Potro in Rio and now he’s in the quarterfinal here. How well do you think he’s playing right now? How close is he to his form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think he’s playing very well. His forehand and his serve are two huge weapons. For somebody of his height he’s moving very well. His anticipation is great.

At the end of the day he is very, very motivated, you can see that, to perform his best. He hasn’t played for, you know, couple of years on the tour with those wrist injuries and surgeries and everything was happening.

I know him very well. Very pleasant, very nice person. He deserves what he’s getting at the moment.

It will be interesting to see how he goes around in the big matches, you know, from quarterfinals, from tomorrow onwards.

Q. With sort of the lack of match play here, do you treat the next couple of days differently than you might at a different slam? Will you guys sort of talk through or walk through different scenarios that you might face, say, in a fourth or fifth set since you haven’t been there now in a couple of months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not going to practice for three or four hours just to feel that kind of potential for the fifth set scenario. Just keeping the routine as it is. I’m glad, you know, I have another two days now to work on things. You know, at this stage of the tournament and season, I think one of the most important things for a player is this freshness of the mind, of the body, and just having that right supply of substance in your body and the enduring strength that you need, the speed, the alertness.

All these things come with, you know, some time that you have around. Time management, most of all. You know, I’m really looking forward to come out on the court on Friday in semifinals.

Q. You go way back with Monfils. He’s a player that a lot of fans like to watch. They think he’s very entertaining. Obviously you have had the better of him in the record, but as a player, do you enjoy watching him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I love watching Gaël. He’s one of the few players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch.

He’s very charismatic. Plays with a smile. Enjoys tennis. Enjoys life.

I mean, this is – well, in my eyes – what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you’re a sportsman or whatever. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That’s why people like him.

But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year maybe he’s playing the best tennis he ever played. He’s very consistent. He hasn’t dropped a set till semis. That says a lot about the level he’s on.

Definitely expecting a tough battle.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, it’s a question for him. I don’t know Gaël that well to understand what’s happening, what was happening throughout his life and career. Because, you know, sometimes the circumstances in your private life affect your profession. In this case, tennis career.

But he was always enjoying playing tennis, you know. In the end of the day, it all comes down to that, whether you’re happy doing something. If you’re successful or not, that’s something that’s is on the priority list of the society we are living on. Trophies, fame, money, influence, all these kind of things that I don’t believe they are the best values that we all should share.

I think happiness intrinsic, really belonging to something and really being fulfilled doing something. That’s what Gaël is bringing to this sport. I think he’s a very valuable asset to tennis, so I’m really glad that a player like him is doing well. He’s, you know, obviously bringing that energy to the court.

Q. When you say you’re reaching your peak, do you mean in terms of your physical problems or in terms of form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m reaching my peak in terms of my form. I don’t know how you understood that.

Q. Do you feel like 100% here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s what I said, yes.

 

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga

6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why did you make the decision to retire after the second set?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Just because I have a pain on my left knee. It’s something I had already in the past, so I know exactly what’s happen.

So, yeah, I knew it was over for me straightaway, because when I have my knee, of course, it’s already tough to play against one of the best tennis player.

But when I don’t have my knee, I have no chance to come back from two sets to love. So for me, it’s important to save what I can save. And that’s it.

 

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Djokovic, Monfils, Wozniacki and Kerber Reach US Open Semifinals

20-Monfils split bh

 

(September 6, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – A focused Gael Monfils reached his first major semifinal in 8 years on Tuesday, when he beat French countryman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Monfils, known for hitting some spectacular shots, took a shot at the media in questioning how he plays on court.

 

“If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.

“Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

“Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.”

“I dive because I want to win the point,” the No. 10 seed said. “Definitely I want to win the point. When you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s (also) to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose, actually?”

“That’s why people think, ‘Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding.’ In the end, you think I’m stupid?”

 

The 24th seed Pouille ran out of gas after three straight five-set matches.

“Of course I was a bit tired today,” he said. “I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.

“So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.

“Yeah, I think he was better than me today.”

Monfils will have a tough task ahead for his semifinal match. He’ll take on No. 1 Novak Djokovic, a man he has never beaten. He’s 0-12 against the Serb.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic beat another of Monfils’ countrymen, ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, when Tsonga retired with a left knee injury down 6-3, 6-2.

Djokovic has only played nine full sets this tournament, two full matches – his second round opponent withdrew, his third round opponent retired after six games and Tsonga retired after 2 sets in his quarterfinal match.

The 12-time major winner has now reched his 10th straight US Open semifinal.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

Coming to the US Open, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was ranked No. 74 in the world, stemming from time off due to an injury combined with some bad results. She’s made a run to the semifinals beating an injured Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-0, 6-2. It’s the first time the Dane has reached the semis since 2014, fifth time overall.

Sevastova twisted her right ankle in the second game of the match, which left her hobbled for the rest of the match.

“It feels great,” the Dane said about reached the semifinals. “It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.”

“I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game,” she said. “She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.

“But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.”

 

“I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best,” said the Latvian.

“But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve.”

“It’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.

“But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.”

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Angelique Kerber photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Wozniacki will play No. 2 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final. Kerber had a tough opening set, but then won the last nine games of the match to stop last year’s losing US Open finalist Roberta Vinci of Italy 7-5, 6-0 bothered by an injury.

“I think the key of the match was the first set,” Kerber said. “I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.

“I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.

“Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.”

 

Kerber, who has a chance to move past Serena Williams and become No. 1, will be playing her third major semifinal this year. She beat Williams in the final of the Australian Open.

 

“I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever,” Kerber said. “I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.

“I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.”

 

More to follow….

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Lucas Pouille Upsets Fourth Seed Rafael Nadal at US Open

 

(September 4, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In the biggest upset of the 2016 US Open tournament so far, fourth seed and two-time champion Rafael Nadal lost to 24th seed Lucas Pouille 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) in the fourth round. Pouille came back from being a break down in the fifth set to win the four-hour and seven minute match for the most important victory of his career.

Pouille will join fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final eighth. He’ll face ninth seeded Monfils for a palce in the semifinals, which guarantees a French semifinalist.

The last time three Frenchmen were in the quarterfinals of the US Open was back in 1927. Last time that three Frenchmen were in the final 8 of any major was the 1947 French Open.

The win means that the 22-year-old Pouille has won three straight five-setter in this US Open – second through fourth rounds – his first three five- set wins of his career.

“It took everything. I could not dream better than that,” the world No. 25 said on court after the match.

“I think it was the best atmosphere I played on a center court. Ashe is so big. I’m not used to play on this court. It was the first time. I practiced once last year.

“I didn’t even warm up on this court before the match, because otherwise I would have to come at 10:00 or 9:00 in the morning today. So at the end it was full. Sometimes I couldn’t even hear myself when I was saying, Allez, allez, allez. Sometimes you can’t even hear yourself.”

Nadal’s drought in major tournaments continued with the loss. This is the first time since 2004 that the 30-year-old Spaniard hasn’t reached a major quarterfinal in a season. The 14-time major champion lost in the first round of the Australian Open, withdrew from the French Open after the second round and missed Wimbledon with a wrist injury.

“I think he played a good match,” Nadal said. “He started so strong. I fight until the end with. There were things I could do better. Had the right attitude. I fighted right up to the last ball.

“But I need something else, I need something more that was not there today. I going to keep working to try to find.

“But, yes, was a very, very close match that anything could happen. Just congratulate the opponent that probably he played with better decision than me the last couple of points.”

“Needed to play with a little bit more calm,” he continued.

“Is true that I don’t have lot of matches on my shoulders for the last three, four months, but even like this I lost an opportunity. That’s the real thing, no? That’s the true. I lost an opportunity to have a very good event here. I am sad for that.”

Pouille who broke into the top 100 last year talked about the changes he made that have improved his game this year: “I moved to Dubai. We work a different way. We work, I think, harder. During the pre-season I change many things. I took my own physical trainer. He’s traveling almost every time with us so we can work every day. Even in tournaments we keep working. We keep working.

“I think mentally I’m stronger. I took a lot of confidence. The way I’m going on court is not the same as last year. Yeah, I think that’s why I’m better than the year before. Of course, I’m a bit older, as well.”

Evaluating Pouille, Nadal said: “He’s a player that has all the shots. He’s a potential top 10 and good fight for the big things the next couple of years. If he’s able to keep playing well, keep improving.”

“I lost an opportunity to play a great event,” Nadal said. “Doesn’t matter if I had the injuries or not, no? I didn’t play in Roland Garros; I didn’t play in Wimbledon. That’s an opportunities lost. Here again, another opportunity lost.

“At the end of the day is not a moment, as I said before, to find excuses or to be less painful. Is a painful defeat because I believe myself, I feel myself ready for that match, ready for the tournament. That’s it.

“We can find stories, but I lost. That’s the only thing that really matter now. I going to fight to change that. But is not less painful or more painful. Is a defeat. Is not the first one in my career; is not going to be for sure the last.

“When you play sport, you accept that when you go on court you can lose, you can win. That’s part of the life. I’m happy to be playing again. That’s the most important thing. I’m happy that I feel myself again close to be hundred percent healthy.

“If I am hundred percent healthy, I have the energy to keep going. I believe that I can have a couple of more good years.”

Pouille talke about playing his next opponent, countryman Gael Monfils: “He’s in very good form. He has won so many matches, yeah, for the last two months. He’s very confident. He hasn’t lost a set, so I know it’s going to be hard.

“But I’m playing well. I have good feelings on the court, so we’ll see. I think it’s going to be a tough match for me, but for him as well. It’s going to be interesting.”

Tenth seed Monfils beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 , while No. 9 seeded Tsonga topped 26th seed Jack Sock 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-2, the last man from the United States in the singles draw.

Tsonga will face  Novak Djokovic  to vie for a spot in the semifinal. Djokovic beat Kyle Edmund 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the evening session.

“I think he was overwhelmed by the stage today, ” Djokovic said of Edmund. “I think he hasn’t played on the level that he can, to be honest. But his forehand is really big. When he sets it up very nicely, he can hit a very good forehand from all over the court.

“Obviously his first Arthur Ashe night session. His first match on the biggest stadium. He made a lot of errors. But generally he played a good tournament. He beat Gasquet; he beat Isner. For someone his age he’s showing mental maturity, no doubt. He’s getting things together.

“I am sure we going to see more of him in the future.”

 

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