Novak Djokovic Shares a Chat with a Ball Boy During First Round Win at Roland Garros

(May 26, 2014) Novak Djokovic played through some rain and some rain delays on Monday before reaching the second round at the French Open with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal.

In the second rain delay of the match in the second set, Djokovic went into showman mode by making funny faces at the TV camera. Afterwards Djokovic invited a ball boy who was holding his umbrella to sit beside him on the bench to chat. Djokovic let the ball boy hold his racquet and gave him a bottle of Perrier water, while the Serb had a sports drink. A few minutes later the rain delay ended and they shook hands hands to end their chat.

“We had a nice chat,” Djokovic said. He’s a tennis player, so I asked him how long he’s playing, and how he’s enjoying his time as a ball kid. It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the Grand Slams.”

See video below.



Joao Sousa Saves Match Point to Win his First ATP Title


(September 29, 2013) Joao Sousa became the first player from Portugal to win an ATP Tour title when he rallied from a match point against him to put down France’s Julien Benneteau 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to capture the Malaysian Open tennis tournament. This was Sousa’s first ATP final.

The 77th-ranked Sousa had a dream week in Kuala Lumpur, beating seeds along the way to the crown in top seed David Ferrer, fourth seed Jurgen Melzer and fifth seed Benneteau in succession.

Behind 2-6, 4-5, 30-40, Sousa staved off a match point, winning three straight games on the trot to even the match. Sousa broke to open the third set and held on for the win.

“I just gave my best, Sousa said. “Tennis is like this, if you don’t go for it, you’ll never make it, so I just went for it. We both played a great match. He had a lot of chances to win.”

“I’m so tired mentally and physically but I just feel amazing, it’s just a dream come true, winning my first title here in Malaysia,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m really happy to win this title.”

“I tried everything today… I played very well, particularly I was very aggressive and I didn’t let him play for two sets almost,” said the Frenchman who is now 0-9 in ATP finals.

“I took my chance, it didn’t pay off and it’s hard, it’s hard, it’s very hard. But it’s sport.”

Sousa is the seventh first-time winner and the 12th unseeded winner on the ATP World Tour this year.


Novak Djokovic Cruises, Last US Man Tim Smyczek Beaten on Sunday at US Open



Tim Smyczek photo by JD Blom

Tim Smyczek photo by JD Blom

(September 1, 2013)FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 1 Novak Djokovic cruised to an easy 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 95 Joao Sousa or Portugal on Sunday night at the US Open.

Djokovic’s serve was broken only once, when he was serving for the match at 5-1 in the third set. Djokovic led in winners against Sousa 34-10.

Djokovic said that he’s working on his net play.

“I am not obviously as comfortable on the net as I am on the baseline, but I’ve been working on it,” said the Serb.  “It’s part of my game that I still need to improve.  I’m aware of that.

“It makes me happy that I have room for improvement, and I keep on spending hours and hours on the court and working on variety in my game.  And serve, especially that part of my game.  I want to try and get as many free points on the serve as possible.”

Djokovic moves into the round of 16 where he’ll take on Marcel Granollers of Spain who defeated the last US man left in the singles draw Tim Smyczek 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Smyczek was asked about being the last American left in the men’s singles draw.

“It was a cool feeling,” he said.  “You know, got a little taste of maybe what John (Isner) or Sam (Querrey) or Andy (Roddick) went through for so many years, or James (Blake) sometimes ‑ just a little taste.  Love to have more of it.”

With Smyczek’s loss there are no American men in the round of 16 at the US Open, the first time that has happened at a tournament that began in 1881.

“I think it’s tough being judged by just the Grand Slams,” said the American.  “’Cause if you look at it, John has had an unbelievable summer.  He won Atlanta; he finaled Cincinnati; he finaled Washington.  He just had a rough match third round against Kohlschreiber here.

“I think to be judged on just the Grand Slams alone isn’t quite fair.  But I do understand Grand Slams are what makes a career.  I think you can expect that to change next year.”

In addition no one from the US reached the fourth round at any of the four majors tournaments in 2013.


Murray Keeps His Cool in the Extreme Heat for Routine Win

Andy Murray

( January 17, 2013) On a day in which temperatures soared past 100 degrees Fareneheit in Melbourne, Scotland’s Andy Murray was cool and collected on court in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal to advance to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter how much training you do, it always difficult when the sun comes out here,” Murray said of the extreme temperatures.

“You need to get in control of the points and dictate them because otherwise you will get very tired very quickly in these conditions.”

The third seed triumphed in 101 minutes not facing any break points. Murray broke serve twice in the first and second sets and once more in the third.

“I got up a couple of breaks pretty quickly in the first two sets so I could kind of play, I don’t mean loose points, but I could try to shorten the points, which helps,” Murray said.

“I also served well today, too.  I got a lot of free points on my serve.

There was very few long rallies.  So it worked out well for me because it was really, really tough conditions.

Murray hit 14 aces and was a perfect nine for nine in net points won.

Murray’s victory sets up a meeting with Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, who earlier in the day upset German 25th seed Florian Mayer 6-2 6-3 6-1.


Murray Sails Past Hasse in Melbourne Opener

Murray at Olympics

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 15, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Olympic gold medalist and US Open champion Andy Murray won through to the second round of Australian Open 2013 following a clinical display of tennis in disposing of Dutchman Robin Haase in straight sets 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.


“I did a good job of that today” said Murray.  “It’s always nice to get through the first round of any tournament, but especially here.”


Murray, one of five Grand Slam champions in the main draw, proved to be too good for Haase throughout the one hour and 37 minute encounter using his variety of shots to dominate play. Haase attempted to make a dent in Murray’s game by hitting the ball harder and coming in to the net more but it was to no avail, Murray showcasing just why he is ranked number three in the world.


Coming into the match the players were squared at one all in their head-to-head with their previous meeting coming at the 2011 US Open in which Murray fought from two sets down to overcome Haase in five.


Haase started the match well, easily holding his first service game before Murray put the foot down to break his opponent twice. He failed on his first attempt to serve for the first set and Haase was able to reclaim one of his breaks before Murray managed to seal the set on the second attempt 6-3.


Murray outclassed his opponent further in the second set, allowing Haase just one game before taking a two sets to love lead 6-3, 6-1.


He immediately broke Haase again to go ahead in the third set before taking the foot off the gas to comfortably win the match 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 and advance to a second round encounter against Portugal’s Joao Sousa who defeated Australian wildcard John-Patrick Smith in straight sets 6-4 6-1 6-4.


Murray was pleased with his performance following the match.


“Yeah, it was a good start. I mean, it was very different conditions to what it’s been the last four, five days. So the court was playing much different. Bouncing a lot higher. It’s much livelier.”


“Yeah, I thought I did a pretty good job from the start of dictating the points and not giving him too many freebies.”


In other day two men’s action 13th seed Milos Raonic needed four sets to topple Czech Jan Hajek 3-6 6-1 6-2 7-6 in just under two and a half hours. Raonic will play the winner of the match between British qualifier Jamie Baker and giant killer Lukas Rosol.


German 25th seed Florian Mayer triumphed in a five setter coming back from two sets down to defeat American Rhyne Williams 2-6 3-6 6-2 7-6(12) 6-1 and will play qualifier Ricardas Berankis in the second round who today defeated Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in a tight three setter 6-2 7-6(4) 7-5.


21st seed Andreas Seppi had an easy straight sets win over Argentinian Horacio Zeballos and will play Denis Istomin on Thursday after the Uzbekh overcame Dutchman Igor Sijsling in four sets 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-2.


German 17th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber won through to the second round disposing of Steve Darcis 6-2 6-3 6-4 and will play Israeli qualifier Amir Weintraub.


For updated scores, draws and results visit AustralianOpen.com

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