August 24, 2016

Marin Cilic Beats John Isner to Even Davis Cup Tie at 2-2

(July 17, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – The United States came into day three of their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Croatia leading 2-1. Friday saw the U.S. get two singles wins and on Saturday the Bryan brothers lost for only their fifth time in quarterfinal Davis Cup play on Saturday.

In the first singles rubber on Sunday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, Oregon, John Isner had a chance to close the tie and send the team into the semifinals in September with a win over Marin Cilic.

Cilic, who coming into the day had a 5-0 record against the American, would deny the U.S. from closing the tie. Cilic extended his perfect record over Isner to 6-0 with a 7-6(9), 6-3, 6-4 victory forcing a fifth and deciding rubber later on Sunday.

Isner gave all credit to his opponent.

“I felt like he played pretty well, to be honest,” Isner said to media. “The first set was critical. Felt like I definitely was the better player in the first set.

“Didn’t get paid off, but that’s on me. He came up with the goods when he needed it. That gave him a lot of confidence I think. He got his legs underneath him even more after the first set as well.

“I knew it was going to be a tough task. He was going to be feeling pretty confident because he played very well yesterday in the doubles. I felt like he carried that over today in the singles.”

“I felt from the beginning of the match that John (Isner) start(ed) extremely well, Cilic said in his post-match news conference. “He was not missing much; he was very aggressive; making a lot of returns back.

“He was covering most of the court. I was, in my service games, in trouble for a lot of times in that first set. I felt that I had to be every point very focused, very aggressive as much as I can to stay in there, not to have any loose points.

“I was just hoping that I’m going to get to the tiebreak to give myself a chance there to try to do something.

“During the first set I didn’t have any opportunities on his serve, and I felt that he played probably the best set in all of our encounters from the past. That was definitely a tough task, but I stayed in there mentally. I was very, very focused.”

For Cilic this was his third straight day playing, losing his opening singles on Friday to Jack Sock, after leading 2 sets to none, pairing with Dodig to win the doubles on Saturday and winning in reverse singles on Sunday.

Asked if his doubles victory gave him some confidence for Sunday’s singles, Cilic replied: “I just took some positives out of that match. I was very emotionally involved yesterday. I was very motivated. When you are losing that kind of match like I did on Friday, things can go negatively and you can go down.

“I tried to just lift myself up with the team. I was very much emotionally focused to be positive throughout yesterday’s match, and also today I felt it helped me to lift my game in critical situations.

“Especially when you play three days in a row you can get a little bit tired also towards the end and you can miss some balls that you are not regularly missing.

“So I was trying to be very focused with those emotions to stay in there throughout all the match.”

Croatia has never come back from 0-2 down to win a Davis Cup tie.

Scheduled to play in the final match are No. 26 Jack Sock for the US and No. 54 Borna Coric for Croatia. This will be the second time they have played each other. Sock beat Coric in straight sets at the French Open last year.

The winner of this tie will play France in the Davis Cup semifinal September 16-18.

 

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Cilic and Dodig Stun Bryan Brothers to Keep Croatia Alive in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(July 16, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig spoiled team USA’s potential semifinal clinching party, when Croatia handed the Bryan brothers only their fifth loss in Davis Cup play 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 16 minutes on Saturday. The Croatians stay alive in the tie down 1-2 going into Sunday play.

The United States came into the day leading 2-0 after two singles victories on Friday hoping to seal a spot in the Davis Cup semifinals with the all-time doubles winners in Davis Cup and tennis history in the Bryan brothers. Team Croatia had other ideas.

Team Croatia substituted one Marin for another before the doubles rubber began. Cilic took Draganja’s place to play with Dodig. Croatia’s captain said they were thinking about the substitution on Friday night. Croatia came out firing, breaking serve at love tin the third game to go up 2-1, consoldating for 3-1. They broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 and closed out he set 6-2.

In the second set, the Bryans could not take advantage of a break point in the second game. Bryans break Dodig at 15 to tkae 4-2 lead, and get to Cilic to claim the set 6-2 to even up the match. The Bryans improved their play in the second set, whereas Cilic’s play fell off. The Bryans improved their first serve percentage, hit more winners and making only two unforced errors.

In set three, the Bryans squandered break points in Croatia’s opening service game but one felt the momentum was still on the Bryan’s side. That changed in the third game when Cilic hit a return of serve winner to break for 2-1. Croatia broke Bob Bryan’s serve for 4-1, but the Americans bounced back returning the favor for 2-4. Back to back to back breaks of serve gave Croatia a 5-2 lead which they served out 6-2 to go up two sets to one.
The Croatians hit 16 winners, while the US hit only five in the set. The visiting team broke serve three times in the third set.

The Bryans held on to a multi deuce game to open the fourth set, and fended off a break point in heir second service game.

Croatia broke serve at 15 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and made the break hold up and served out the match for the win 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The Bryan Brothers

The Bryan Brothers

For  the Bryans, this was only their fifth loss in a Davis Cup tie, all coming on home soil.   They have a 24-5 record in Davis Cup. They talked about the loss in their post match news conference:

“We just didn’t execute from — I think started off with the serve,” said Bob Bryan. “Weren’t making a lot of first serves. Weren’t getting them in trouble from the start. They started returning well and gaining confidence. They just kind of outplayed us in ever aspect of the game today.

“That’s really on us. Started turning the momentum around after the first set. Had some break points. I had a good look at a second serve forehand that I should have hit a little bit harder. I just kind of pushed it. That would’ve been a good opportunity to really keep the foot on the gas, so I wish I could have had that one back.

“But those guys are two good players. That’s the type of match that we have to play at the top of our game to take them out. We just didn’t do it. That has nothing to do with anything but ourselves. We take responsibility for that.”

“I mean, you know, you can serve well in practice,” said Mike Bryan. “When you get out there it’s a different monster when there is adrenaline and crowd and pressure.

“Obviously I think I was speeding up. When you speed up your motion you don’t get your toss up, and it’s a whole chain reaction.

“If I could have held that first game, got settled in the match, got some confidence in my serve, I think it could have been a little different.

“Credit to them. They made some good returns. Dodig hit a couple backhand winners. Once you get behind the eight ball you start thinking about it a little bit.”

Cilic made a major impact in the match. “Cilic is dangerous,” Bob Bryan added. “He brings great returns and some nasty groundies and his serve is pretty strong.”

“The difference was that Marin and Ivan played I would say really unbelievable tennis today,” said Croatian captain Zeljko Krajan. “Both just are on the top of their game, and Marin played the best doubles match of his life.

“Even though it’s against Bryans, just tough when he is serving the way he is and returning and everything is coming back and from the baseline there was no mistakes. I would say I don’t know who would beat them on a day like this when they play.

“Maybe just the Bryans didn’t play the best match of their life, but it was just too tough for them today to face these opponents.”

“Me and Ivan played few times also in Davis Cup; we played in Olympics in 2012,” Cilic said. “We played there really well. But we know that when we are on a good day we can play amazing tennis.

“That was today the case. We came up to the match with good tactics, good mindset, and we knew that if we play well that we are going to be able to beat them.

“Obviously the positive thing was that even I have beaten Bryans before and Ivan did also I guess few times, so that was a mindset that was giving us good strategy and we were able to prepare good for the match.”

Croatia was six for ten on break points, hitting 53 winners with 21 unforced errors.

Sunday’s play will consist of reverse singles. Leading off will be the battle between the No. 1 players on each team – John Isner versus Marin Cilic, followed by Jack Sock against Borna Coric (if necessary).

Cilic, who is 5-0 against Isner, says despite playing doubles, he’ll be ready on Sunday.

“I feel pretty much fine,” he said. “I had nine sets in two days, but the conditions here are not too difficult. The weather is favoring the players and the fans in the stands, so it’s not too humid and not too hot. Not too demanding.

“Obviously in Davis Cup it’s more bit tougher dealing with emotions as you are a little bit more pumped up and adrenaline kicks you in when you start the matches. That can take some energy. I feel pretty much fine.

“I played today great, and tomorrow I feel I’m going to be in good shape, too.”

Cilic talked about his tough five-set losses, to Sock on Friday and to Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

“I was thinking a little bit after yesterday’s loss that I was maybe a little bit mentally drained from my loss from Wimbledon,” he said. “It still left a small mark in me and I wasn’t as, you know, emotionally pumped as today, which is obviously giving me good sensation for playing and good feeling. I can lift my game when I’m playing like this.

“I usually enjoy to play in Davis Cup because the team atmosphere, the energy, lifts my game up. Hopefully tomorrow I can do the same.”

The winner of this tie will play the winner of the Czech Republic/France tie in September in the Davis Cup semifinals.

The last time the United States won the Davis Cup was in 2007 in Portland.

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Jack Sock Rallies From Two Sets Down to Beat Marin Cilic; John Isner Also Wins, Gives USA 2-0 Lead in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(July 15, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – The United States is off to a 2-0 lead against Croatia in quarterfinal action in Davis Cup play on Friday at  the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, Oregon.

In the first rubber of the United States versus Croatia Davis Cup quarterfinal, 2014 US Open champion and No. 12 Marin Cilic took on No. 26 Jack Sock.

Sock rallied from two sets down to beat Cilic  4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to give the USA a 1-0 lead.

The first set saw little difference between both competitors, but Cilic sealed the break in the tenth game to claim the set 6-4.

The second set saw Cilic took advantage of three break point opportunities to take the set 6-3. Sock contributed 16 errors to his opponent’s cause in the set. Cilic had a medical time out after the seventh game of the set.

Sock drastically reduced his unforced error count in the third set, making only four while upping his first serve percentage making 16/17 to win the third set 6-3.

In the fourth set both men stayed even until the the ninth game, when the 23-year-old American broke serve at 30. Sock served out the set to even the match at 2-sets all.

Cilic broke Sock with a drop volley winner in the American’s first service game of the fifth set and consolidated for a 3-0 lead to start out the fifth set. Sock bounced back with a break in the fifth game to get to 2-3.

“Well, I wasn’t very happy down 3-0,” Sock said. Once again, just stayed the course. Having such an experienced player in Jim Courier on the bench with
you, you can’t ask for much more. He just kept me level headed and kept telling me to do the right things,which I had been doing for a few sets to get back.”
In the seventh game, Sock failed to take advantage of three break points and Cilic held off the inspired American to hold for 4-3.

Sock broke through in in the eighth game, setting up a break point on a drop volley winner for break point. Cilic hit a backhand volley wide to give team USA the break and a 5-4 lead.

As the old Ringo Star song goes “It Don’t Come Easy.” Sock had to fend off two break points in the tenth game to seal the three-hour and 13 minute match win. Final score 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

What made the difference in the match for Sock?

Sock said: “I mean, I had a ton of chances in the second. I didn’t get blown off the for two sets. I was up a break twice in the second. Struggled on my serve a little bit.

“But just maybe made a few smarter decisions on the serve. Made a lot more first serves to kind of put it in
the spots where I could get forehands, start the rally.

“Returning the whole time I felt like I could get in a lot of his games. The court is slow enough I could get back
on the serve and make it neutral.

“Just stayed the course really and was lucky enough to get the win.”

For Sock this was his first match on home soil in his Davis Cup career, he talked about this win being one of his career accomplishments.

“Haven’t played a ton of five-setters in my career. Haven’t come back from two sets to love down. To do that today, in front of
the home crowd for the team, it almost feels extra special today. Maybe if I had done it in another tournament – obviously playing individually there – to do it today for the team in this, the first match to get us off to a good start, feels unreal.”

“I was just a little bit unfortunate in the beginning of the third to lose my serve at the beginning, and then Jack started to serve really well from the beginning of the third,” Cilic said.

“Obviously I think he served much, much better in the fourth and fifth set. He was not giving me too many
chances on the return games. I had a break in the fifth that’s a little bit unfortunate to lose it. I was 3-1 up, 15-Love, and easy forehand in the middle of the court.

“Yeah, a little bit disappointed with that, just to lose that opportunity of getting that lead in the fifth set to make
that extra step to closing the match.

“You know, when I gave him a chance to come back I felt that he started to play also really well. He was very aggressive. Obviously last game I had 15-40 also to come back. You know, just one point where I went for a shot, missed a little bit.

“Overall, I think he played pretty good tennis in the last three sets. It’s not that I played so bad. I felt that
maybe I could have served better today. I was not serving as good as I can. Just from the game, obviously he’s very dangerous.
He can play very, very fast tennis. He’s got big forehand, so that was I think working well for him today.”

Tennis Panorama asked U.S. Davis Cup Jim Courier about he said to Sock after he went down two sets.

“Well, the second set Jack was up a break twice and was having trouble holding serve,” Courier said.

“Both of them were for that matter.

“But I felt like Jack was in a good position once the rallies got started. He just needed to execute.
“I though he was actually playing pretty well from a tactical standpoint in the second set. He just needed to lift his level a little bit and stay in there mentally and just be there.

“We also recognize that Marin had a tough loss in Wimbledon. He had chances to take out Roger Federer. Sometimes players coming off matches where they had match point and didn’t close a player out can be a little susceptible, too.

“So I was using that as a little bit of a carrot to keep Jack in there, too. Jack stayed in there point for point and fought hard and made it physical. He did a lot of great things out there today that will hopefully carry him to new places in his career.

“First time he’s come from two sets down. I think he learned a lot about himself out there. He deserves all the credit for it. He would’ve stayed in there I am pretty sure. He started to make that transition in the last month and a half or so mentally to sticking in there a little bit better.

“Today was just a manifestation of the work he’s been doing with Troy Hahn, his coach. Today it paid off for the team; certainly paid off big for him, too.”

On a day which saw top players Simona Halep and Milos Raonic withdraw from the Olympics due to concerns about the Zika Virus, both Cilic and Sock are looking forward to participating in the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Yeah, it’s really exciting” Sock commented. As a kid you grow up watching a lot of the Olympics – not only tennis, but a lot of the sports. Kind of a bucket list for every athlete I feel like to be able to represent your country on the biggest stage possible”

“I am very excited to get down there and rep the U.S., ” Sock an excited Sock. “Hopefully I can play some good tennis and wear the
colors proud. Definitely beyond happy.”

As for Cilic, “I’m going to play. A lot of guys have concerns about that (Zika virus), but I hope it’s going to be fine.”

Coric also commented on the Olympics: “As far as I’m concerned I’m going to play. I don’t have problems with Zika. Yeah, it’s going to be great experience for me. Going to be my first Olympics. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Obviously it’s very big thing. I’m only 19 and I’m going to be already there. Not many people can say that. So I’m just very proud of that. Obviously I’m just looking forward to it”

John Isner

John Isner

In the second rubber Borna Coric had no answers to John Isner’s serve, as the American nailed 23 aces in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over the teenage Croatianin a minute less than two hours.

The last of Isner’s aces came on match point.

Isner said that Sock’s comeback win helped his own momentum in his match.

“Oh, it helps a lot, he said. “I’m just sitting right here and he’s down two sets to love and things aren’t looking too good. He won the third set. I saw that he had a lot of positive energy on his side.

“Then he wins that fourth set, and I’m getting really animated in the locker room in the fifth set. He was able to pull it out playing incredible tennis.

“For me, it helps a lot. I feel like it takes a bit of pressure off me as well, knowing that regardless of what I do out there on the court, we’re not going to be losing. At worst, we’ll be 1-1.

“I was in a good spot going out there today thanks to Jack.”

Coric was pretty downcast after his loss to Isner.

“I lost, he said. “That’s what happened. I didn’t use my chances in the first two sets obviously. I had many chances to break him, and then on 5-4 in both sets I played really poor game. It was basically not much to say honestly.”

The USA is 0-3 against Croatia in Davis cup play, vying for a place in the semifinal round of Davis Cup.

The U.S. is 157-3 all-time when leading 2-0 after the first day of play and 40-1 when leading 2-0 since the World Group format began in 1981.

The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA going up against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja.

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Jack Sock Leads Off First Davis Cup Home Tie Against Marin Cilic

Jack Sock

(July 14, 2016) PORTLAND, Oregon – The draw for the USA versus Croatia quarterfinal Davis Cup tie took place in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on Thursday.

Jack Sock will lead off play Saturday against 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic. Cilic comes off a five-set loss in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to Roger Federer, when the Croatian was leading two sets to none.

For the 23-year-old American Sock, ranked 26th in the world, this will his first Davis Cup tie played in the United States. This is the first time the U.S. has played at home since 2014.

Asked if he felt any added pressure, he said: “I mean, not necessarily any pressure.
“I’m more excited, honestly, to be playing on home soil. I love being a part of the team with these guys. They have a lot more experience than me out here.

“Yeah, I mean, maybe when I go out there, it will be a different feeling than when I played in Uzbekistan and Australia. But more excited than anything to be able to play in front of some home fans, some family and friends. Obviously playing in front of my country and these guys as well.

“Definitely more excited than nervous.”

The second match on Friday pits, No. 1 American John Isner, ranked 16th in the world, against No. 2 and No. 54 in the world, Croatian Borna Coric. They are playing each other for the first time.

The doubles rubber on Saturday will feature Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States against Ivan Dodigand Marin Draganja of Croatia.

Reverse singles will be played on Sunday with the No. 1’s battling in the first match, followed by the fifth rubber face-off between the No. 2’s.

Croatia comes into the tie having never lost to the United States with a 3-0 record. The U.S. last lost to Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Porec, Croatia, in which Croatia won 3-2 with Cilic and Ivo Karlovic leading the team. The U.S. also played Croatia in the 2005 World Group First Round in Los Angeles and in the 2003 World Group First Round in Zagreb, Croatia.

The winner of the tie faces the winner of France-Czech Republic in the World Group semifinals.

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Davis Cup Notes and Quotes: USA vs Croatia, Pre-Draw News Conferences

(July 12, 2016) The United States plays host to Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, on an outdoor hard court in the quarterfinal round of the World Group in Davis Cup. Tuesday saw both teams have pre-draw news conferences.

 

U.S. Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Jack Sock, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan took questions from the media about the Davis Cup tie. Here are a few of the highlights from the news conference:

 

On the short turnaround from Wimbledon:

JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obviously we were all in

London for a while, even playing warmup tournaments,

some of the guys.

 

We were all excited to get back in the States for sure.

Our favorite time of the year is to play in front of the

home crowd here in the States.

 

Especially for me, it’s my first home tie. I played two

ties kind of far away. For me, it will be nice to play in

front of a home crowd and be on a team with all these

guys. I think we’re all looking forward to it.

 

Asked if the team could change the trend of not having a Top 10 player and still winning the Cup.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I think Davis Cup is also

pretty unique in that the home-field advantage can play

a big role. We’ve played a lot of tough teams, some

home, but a lot on the road as well.

 

For us to have a chance now to play here against a

tough team in Croatia, and should we get through this

weekend, which we obviously are here to do, and hope

to, we’d have a home match against France or the

Czechs.

 

You pay your dues in Davis Cup. You go on the road

and try and get your wins, but you also earn the

chance to play at home by playing those matches, too.

Draws matter. Team chemistry and makeup matters.

We have four guys here that love to play for their

country. I have a lot of confidence in them as the

captain, which is why we’re sitting here. I believe we

can win this Davis Cup.

 

I think this year is a really good opportunity for us. We

can’t go more than one step at a time, but it certainly

looks promising if we can get through this weekend.

 

On the debate about the Davis cup format and whether it should be changed.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Davis Cup format has been a

discussion point for the players since Open tennis

began. You can go back and get quotes from Stan

Smith on the challenges that the Davis Cup schedule

puts on the players.

 

When you put it in an Olympic year, like this year, you

look at the calendar, you see why Andy Murray and

Novak Djokovic are both declining to play this week for

their countries, and they’re players who typically play a

lot of Davis Cup. You can see why those challenges

still exist in a pretty crowded calendar.

 

The new president of the ITF, Dave Haggerty, was

president of the US Tennis Association. He’s very

progressive, and I think you’ll see change. It will be

incremental change. It won’t come tomorrow. But I

think you’ll see the ball start to roll towards a new look

in Davis Cup that is a little bit more of the times.

You have to remember the Davis Cup started in 1900,

long before the Masters, long before many massive

sporting events like the Ryder Cup.

 

Davis Cup will need to change if it wants to get more

attention. It’s still a wonderful event. It will be a

tremendous event here this weekend. The people in

attendance will absolutely love it. We’ll love it. But

there will be a lot of people on the east coast of

America that won’t be aware that it’s taking place,

which is one of the things that I think a change in

format would bring for Davis Cup, more attention, not to

mention it would make more money, which for the ITF

would do wonders for the growth of the game.

I have a lot of thoughts on it. It’s on the record. You

can look up my comments from years and years and

years ago on Davis Cup. But I’m sitting here because I

love to be a part of it, even in its current format.

Davis Cup succeeds largely in spite of the format, not

because of it.

 

Asked about strategy against Croatia.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Look, it’s pretty clear what our

strengths are. Bob and Mike on the court are just so

complete. They move in sync. They make it very

difficult for other teams to hit winners. They extract a

lot of errors. Bob and Mike will do their normal dance

out there, which is a thing of beauty to watch. It’s been

incredible to be a captain and witness what they’re able

to do for us.

 

Jack and John, although the heights are a little bit

different, the style and the strengths are very similar.

Serves and forehands are the shots. They’re the ones

that will cause opponents to lose sleep.

 

That gives me great comfort as a captain because that

was my bread and butter, too. I think I have a pretty

good understanding of how they need to play and what

they do on the court well.

 

The other team, just to give you a quick overview,

Marin Cilic, big server, solid off both wings on the

ground, moves pretty well for a big guy. Obviously has

tasted sweet success at slams and tasted some

frustration last week at Wimbledon when he had three

match points against Federer.

 

How will that impact him here? We’ll only know come

Friday when he gets back on the court, because that’s

the only way to figure that out.

 

Coric, probably a better backhand than forehand.

Moves well. Very hungry, very professional for a 19-

year-old. He’s a rising star who won the fifth match for

these guys earlier this year. Has good Davis Cup

experience.

 

Not sure what we’ll face doubles-wise. We know Ivan

Dodig is a terrific doubles player. He has been one of

the top doubles players for a long time. So not sure

who he’ll match up with. Not sure what the

composition of their team will be come Thursday when

they have to tell us, because they have another player

named Skugor, who has played for them, who is also

here with them on site. So they have five players.

There is a lot of unknowables right now on the doubles

format. Cilic is a good doubles player. He could find

himself on the court on Saturday, too.

That’s my overview.

 

Asked about what he needs to do to jump up in the rankings.

JACK SOCK: That was an incredible win by Sam(Querrey). I

think everyone sitting here, everyone in this room, is

very happy for him.

 

Yeah, I mean, obviously the consistency from Novak

and those other guys at the top is what separates

them. I mean, they’re doing it week in, week out,

winning a majority of the tournaments, majority of the

slams.

 

Yeah, I mean, the skill level could be very slim and

anyone can kind of beat anyone on any given day. It’s

probably the little things, the preparation and

everything that goes into it, might be a couple levels

better, a hair better. That can make the difference.

For myself personally, obviously everyone here,

everyone’s always trying to improve and do the little

things the best they can. Doing that week in, week out

can only help us. Hopefully that gap will close sooner

than later.

 

JOHN ISNER: Jack said it. It’s about consistency.

Myself and Jack are very capable of having some very

good weeks on the tour, going deep into some big

tournaments. But these guys do it week in and week

out. That’s really what separates them from everyone

else. It’s what makes them the toughest out in tennis.

You know when you step on the court against them,

you’re going to be up against a very high level of talent

and dedication. Also these guys mentally are so

strong and have been doing it for so long, always have

a lot of confidence because they have a lot of wins

behind them.

 

It’s all about being consistent. It’s what those guys do

remarkably well. As Jack eluded to, we see these guys

in the locker room, on the practice courts. They’re

extremely professional. It’s one of the reasons they’re

top in the world, is because they do absolutely

everything right.

 

 

Team Croatia which included Captain also handled questions from the press with Captain Krajan, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and Ivan Dodig in attendance.

Asked if members of the team remember Croatia winning the Davis Cup in 2005 and how important it was to their country.

BORNA CORIC: I’m the youngest, so I’m going to

answer first.

 

Basically I started playing even more serious when that

happen. I was very young at that time and I wasn’t

sure if I’m going to try to go pro or not. This was big

thing for the Croatia, as well, and also for me.

It gave me some boost to go forward. It was

unbelievable.

 

MARIN CILIC: Generally it has definitely huge impact

on tennis, in general, especially for a country that small

like Croatia. It was one of the country’s best

achievements in the history. So that’s definitely huge.

I think it gave also a little bit of financial help for the

young ones. Obviously winning it, it’s a big thing. It

attracted few more sponsors for the Federation and

obviously gave a little bit more opportunities for the

young ones.

 

We of course would like that it is still a bit more. But at

that time I think for the young ones was pretty good,

and they could, you know, just look up to the best guys

and follow their lead. That’s, for sure, big motivation.

 

Asked if perfect 3-0 record against the US gives the team confidence.

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, for sure it gives you

confidence when you are playing against somebody

that you are already 3-Love ahead, better than if you’re

3-Love down.

It’s different because it’s different players, different

times. It’s not the same teams. From that side it is

different.

 

Again, probably there is something that suits us playing

States. We are pretty positive about this tie also.

 

Why is the Croatian team so good?

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, simply they’re good,

they’re very good. You all know Marin, and you know

what he achieved here in the States. I think you all

remember what he did in New York.

 

You know Borna, what kind of potential. He’s one of

the youngest, best players at his age in the world.

Ivan, great singles player, winning slam in the doubles.

I think they all top players in the world. As I said, that’s

why we are strong and we are looking forward for this

tie.

 

Asked about what it feels like to be a

Grand Slam champion.

IVAN DODIG: Yeah, I think it’s really special moment

for every athlete. For us is to win Grand Slam. It’s

obviously like you feel all the work you put into it, it’s in

the end rewarded. I think every player who start to play

tennis, dreaming about big things, is to win Grand

Slam.

 

Me and Marin had this great feeling. I hope I can still

continue in doubles, do some great results. Still I’m

motivate and hope I can get more Grand Slam. As well

for all our guys here, for Marin, Borna, other Marin. I

think we have great potential and will still have great

moments, as well.

 

MARIN CILIC: Tennis is a very difficult sport looking

mentally. You are all year round going up and down

with your emotions. You’re wondering if you are going

to achieve your best potential, if you’re doing the best

things possible for yourself.

 

Obviously winning a Grand Slam is a part for yourself

that you achieve for all your career, all your life.

Everything you’ve put into it is suddenly worth it. For

me, you have different view on tennis, on your career.

You are obviously more relaxed, but as well on the

other side you are more motivated as you know your

potential, as you know what you can do, what you can

achieve.

 

To be especially in this time, in this era with great

tennis players, the ones that are breaking so many

records, it’s definitely very challenging. It carries a

bigger weight to win a Grand Slam. So it’s definitely a

huge, huge motivation for me to continue on this path.

It’s a sign for all the other guys that are not achieving

their best potential yet, you know, that they can see

with hard work, with dedication, you can of course

believe and achieve these big things.

 

 

The Official Draw Ceremony for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal will take place at 1:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 14, at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. The ceremony will be open to the public.

Croatia is set to play its tenth tie away from home in its last 11 Davis Cup ties, while the United States is seeking to get back to the semifinals for the first time since 2012. The U.S. last won the Davis Cup in December 2007 in Portland, Oregon.

Singles play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tennis Channel will have television coverage.

Davis Cup Quarterfinals and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tennis Channel

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Roger Federer Rallies From Two Sets Down To Reach 11th Wimbledon Semifinal

(July 6, 2016) Roger Federer kept his hopes alive of winning a record eighth Wimbledon title when he rallied from two sets down and saved three match points to beat ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3 to reach the semifinals on Wednesday on Centre Court. It was a little revenge for the Swiss who was destroyed by Cilic in the 2014 U.S, Open semifinals.

“Well, a lot happened out there,” Federer said to the BBC about the tenth time in his career coming back from a two-set deficit. “I knew I was in so much trouble in the third, and then again in the fourth.”

“I’m really, really pleased and just ecstatic I was able to come through somehow.”
The win for the third seeded Federer marks the 11th time he’s reached the semifinals of the All-England Club, tying Jimmy Connors and he also claims a record 307th match victory at a major, passing Martina Navratilova at 306. He also equaled Jimmy Connors with number of match wins at Wimbledon at 84.

This will be the 17-time major champion’s 40th major semifinal.

“I fought. I tried. I believed, and in the end I got it done, and so it’s great on so many levels,” Federer said to media.

Federer will face No. 6 seed Milos Raonic in the final four. The Canadian stopped the run of 28th seed American Sam Querrey, who upset Novak Djokovic in the third round, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Also advancing to his second Wimbledon semifinal was No. 10 Tomas Berdych beating No. 32 Lucas Pouille 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2.

2013 Wimbledon winner and No. 2 Andy Murray held off No. 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 for the last spot in the final four on Centre Court.

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The Man with the Silver Bowl – Behind the Scenes at The Queen’s Club Draw

By Wendy M. Grossman

1-Queens Club draw Ceremony Wendy Grossman Tennis Panorama News

(June 11, 2016) LONDON, England – “Don’t look,” cautioned the man bearing the silver bowl.

Tennis conspiracy theorists always think tournament draws are fixed. Sometimes – for example, the 1996 US Open, when the players threatened to boycott unless the draw was remade – there are good reasons. In that case, the seedings had been announced after the draw had already been announced, and because they didn’t strictly follow the rankings, there were legitimate questions asked about whether the tournament was favoring American stars. A 2011 study of ten years of men’s and women’s singles Grand Slam draws found that the other Slams did indeed seem to produce random draws, but that that the US Open draws showed anomalies.

More common claims are that the draw is fixed to ease one or another player’s path or that the placing of seeds 3 and 4 is fixed in order to keep a particular pairing apart until the final. Every time a new draw for one of the majors is announced, you’ll find someone in a tennis discussion forum complaining that Roger Federer always gets an easy draw and Rafael Nadal a hard one, or  Novak Djokovic a tough road and Nadal an easy one…or some variation of that with whatever players the poster cares about.

Others would just like to tinker with the rules governing how draws are made. Over the years people have suggested that the semifinal pairings should always be 1-4 and 2-3, or that the entire draw should be remade before the quarter-finals to rebalance the gaps left by defeated seeds. Another favorite suggestion is that the majors should go back to seeding 16 players instead of 32, the rule until 2001. Doing so, the argument goes, would make the early rounds a little more tantalizing. I incline toward this latter idea myself, but it’s unlikely to happen because seeding 32 players was a concession Wimbledon made as part of a settlement of player complaints. The Spanish players were offended by the All-England’s habit of revising the seeding list to take into account past results on grass, which sometimes dropped the Spaniards out of the seeding list. This, they felt, was unfair: sure they often lost in the early rounds, but, they reasoned, they got no reverse consideration at the French Open, where they could be expected to do well but Pete Sampras was still top seed despite his habit of losing in the first two rounds.

2-Queens Club draw Wendy Grossman - portraits

Back to the man with the silver bowl. We are in the Presidents’ Room at Queen’s Club, surrounded by oil portraits, one of which is a dead ringer for Kaiser Wilhelm (it’s actually the Rt Hon Lord of Dalkeith, the club president from 1874 to 1879). The room is full of journalists and various people involved with running either the club or the tournament. (You can easily tell them apart. The people involved with the club are dressed for a cocktail party; tournament staff are wearing sponsored sports stuff; and the journalists look like they’ve been dragged in off the street.) At the front, next to a populated head table is a large screen with a blank 32-slot draw, and a load of numbered plastic tokens. We are introduced to three people who together have bid £250,000 (to be given to a children’s charity) for the right to be here today. Also on hand: Marin Cilic, the 2012 champion of this event. All of this, including the presence of a player, is fairly standard, though the exact mechanics vary.

The ritual begins with slotting the name of the top seed – Andy Murray – on line number 1 and second seed Stan Wawrinka on line 32. Next, the tokens for 3 and 4 are placed in the bowl and Queen’s man in the grey suit asks one of the dignitaries to pick one. This is where “Don’t look!” comes in. The one that is drawn – fourth seed Richard Gasquet – is placed on line 9, and the other, McEnroe-enhanced third seed Milos Raonic, on line 24. That settles the projected semifinal pairings. Next, the tokens for seeds 5 to 8 are placed in the bowl, and the man bowl is offered to three different people to fill the quarterfinal spots. Finally, the rest of the tokens are placed in the bowl, and the man goes around offering it to various people in the audience, even soliciting volunteers. Each person draws out one of the remaining numbers and the team at the front places it in the next empty line of the draw. There are tokens for qualifiers, whose names won’t be known until tomorrow (assuming the rain delay ends in time). These will also be drawn randomly to fill the empty spaces left for them.

As they go, the on-screen board fills in and profiles of the players and their match pairings pop up alongside. Some of the matches sound much tastier than the first round at Wimbledon will be. Cilic, interviewed, noted that the cut-off for the main draw this week was 44, which he thinks is the highest for any tournament on the tour. Murray, seeking his record-breaking fifth title here this year, draws Nicolas Mahut in the first round. Definitely a tough one: Mahut has grass cred. Besides being, famously, the loser in 2010’s three-day first-round Wimbledon encounter with John Isner, he’s a former finalist here who might have won the title but for an unlucky netcord, and recently the world’s number one doubles player. Other first-round contests that catch the eye: Nick Kyrgios versus Raonic sounds like an old-style serving contest; John Isner will have to contend with just-back Juan Martin del Potro; and Cilic faces Feliciano Lopez, the good-on-grass Spaniard who has troubled plenty of players here over the years.

Most draws, while not attended with quite as much ceremony, are pretty much like this: public events, with at least one player, some press, and various others in attendance. While it might be possible to fix the draw somewhere sometime, the intent is to make the process transparent and trustworthy. Conspiracy theorists should look elsewhere.

 

Queen’s Club Draws

Related articles:

A Look at the History of Queen’s Club with CEO Andrew Stewart

Keeping the Queen’s Club Grass Courts Perfect; Meet Graham Kimpton

Approach Shots: Getting to Know Tennis Umpire Ali Nili

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Nadal Survives Zverev; Wawrinka Ousted at BNP Paribas Open

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

(March 16, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 5 Rafael Nadal came back from 2-5 down and a match point at 3-5 in third set to take down up-and-coming  18-year-old German No. 58 Alexander Zverev 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

Zverev had a match point at 5-3 in third, but he hit a forehand olley into the net and never recovered from his mistake. The Spaniard lost only two points in his Last two service games to close the match.

“I had match point, so I think I did well there. On match point I sucked, so that was it,” Zverev said.

“I missed probably the easiest shot I had the whole match. That’s what happened.”

“I think it was a great match. I mean, Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. I mean, he’s known for that. So, you know, I still had chances to win. I had an easy shot at match point and I missed it.”

“Look, in the last three weeks I lost 7-5 in the third to Berdych; 6-4 in the fifth to Berdych; and 7-5 in the third with match point to Nadal. So I know how tough losses feel right now.

” Look, I mean, I think it was a great match. I mean, Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. I mean, he’s known for that. So, you know, I still had chances to win. I had an easy shot at match point and I missed it.

“I’m out and he’s in the quarterfinals.”

“Very happy for the victory, obviously,” Nadal said. “I have been fighting during the whole match. First set I had big chance with not a difficult forehand down the line that I missed. So that first set probably will be the key, if I was able to hit that forehand right place, no?

“But after that, I think I played a great second set. But at the beginning, sometimes when win a set that easy is dangerous for the beginning of the next one, no?

“The beginning of the third he played aggressive, and I think I stopped a little bit the rhythm, so I was in trouble, no?

“Was a great victory. You know, it’s obvious that I played against a great player, a player who was serving unbelievable, at the beginning especially. He served well whole match apart from some double faults.

“”But you think when somebody is serving with that speed in the second serve, some double faults are the normal thing, no?

Is a great victory, as I said before. I’m very happy about it. I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the spirit of fight during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time even in the tougher situations.”

Nadal talked about the adjustments he needed to make against Zverev.

“Well, beginning of the match he was serving over 133 first serves and second serves over 120.

“I was trying to return inside the court, as I did every day, but with the second serve 120 miles with a lot of spin, 124, 123, 120, was impossible, no?

“At the beginning when that happened I was in a little bit of trouble, because I felt like I cannot lose my serve, because if I lose my serve and he was serving that way, is impossible. So I felt a little bit the pressure at the beginning.

“But then I think I returned really well during the whole match, no? First serve. Second serve I decided to go back three, four meters behind the baseline, because from inside he was — he’s young, ready to take the risks, and if the opponent wants to take the risk on the second serve and he’s having success, it’s difficult to make something, no?

“”I decided to go back and tried to put more balls in, and I think worked well. I think I had enough breaks to win the match.

“Negative thing is I lost my serve twice in the third, something that cannot happen, especially after having the break back. But that’s it. No, no, no, the match was tough. I think any player can win, and is true he had a big chance with match point and that volley.

“Sorry for him. I think at the same time, I deserve victory like this after couple of loses with big chances to win, too.”

Belgian’s David Goffin, ranked 18th in the world, stunned third seed Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5) to reach the quarterfinals of Inidan Wells on Wednesday. The victory for Goffin ended a 14- match losing streak against top 10 players.

Wawrinka came back from 0-4 down in the second set to 4-4. Goffin served for the match at 5-4, but failed to close and Wawrinka won the next three games to even the match at a set all. In the third set, Goffin against served for the match and could not hold. The match went on to tiebreak. Wawrinka hit a crucial overhead out at 5-5 to give Goffin match point which capitalized on.

There were 13 breaks of serve in the match.

“I was struggling with my serve and it was difficult with the heat,” Goffin said in press. “In the third, it’s tough to fight again with the heat and with the level of Stan. The tiebreaker is like you flip a coin.”

“Well, not too great day, not too great level,” Wawrinka said smiling. “I didn’t have the rhythm yet. Was a match without brain, let’s put it that way.

“Have some tough time to focus, have some tough time to find what I wanted to play and stay calm. Still try to fight. Got lucky to come back twice. Had the chance to finish the tiebreak. I didn’t, and quite simple.”

“I think he got a bit tired and nervous also,” Wawrinka continued. “He start to miss easy shots. Gave me the chance to come back. Can lose quickly, eh?

“Two time I come back. I had the chance in the third set to finish it also at 5-5 to break him again. I didn’t. I didn’t.

“But in general, he deserved to win. You know, it was the time of. Should have finish before.”
Goffin will play No. 10 seed Marin Cilic, who defeated No. 8 Richard Gasquet, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. Another upset saw No. 12 Milos Raonic beat No. 6 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 (7).

“A match where you sort of say you felt great but you went out there and you tried to put the pieces together, Raonic said.

“I got ahead a few service games. He served well. He got ahead. I served well. That was pretty much only one point that I would sort of have played differently. Maybe just be a little bit sharper in the second serves in the beginning service games.

“Other than that, it was all good.”

Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic advanced easily. Williams defeated defending champion Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3.

“It feels really good to get that win,” Williams said. “She obviously has been in good form the past couple years. So, yeah, I feel really good just to get under there and buckle down and to win that.

No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who will move up to No. 2 in the rankings, defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (3) to reach the semifinals. She’ll face Serena Williams in the semifinals.

Asked about returning to No. 2 in the world, Radwanska said: “It’s always a good feeling to be back in this position. I wasn’t long last time, but I think that was a few years ago. It’s always good to be back in that position. Now it’s difficult to be No. 1.

“There is always opportunity, but it’s not about one or two tournaments. To be No. 1 you really have to play the whole season very good, and obviously catch Serena. But she is also playing very good tennis and she will want to play good and be there at No. 1.

“Well, I will try my best, and now I have the opportunity that I’m definitely not really defending much points till the grass, so, well, that’s definitely my spot that I can do that. We’ll see if I can.”

Williams said of the match-up: “She knows how to play in big stadiums and big matches, big games.

“Obviously she does everything so well, including running, and this is a good surface for her because it’s a slow surface. I think I expect there will be a lot of long rallies.

“Honestly, I will be ready. I really like Aga on and off the court. I think she’s super exciting to watch on the court, and off the court I think she’s really one of the nicest people.

“Regardless, I think it will be a really good matchup. Whoever wins will go into the final.”

Novak Djokovic defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

“I’m actually glad to have a match like this with not much complications,” Djokovic said.

“I think we both started to play well on our service games, and he was 30-Love on that game when I broke him. Then he missed four first serves. I managed to step in and return very well on those four second serves that I got and just used the opportunity.

“You know, after that I was feeling more comfortable also on the return games even though Feliciano is a very difficult player to play against. He’s left handed and he has a big first serve and he can hit angles, comes to the net, so very strong, physically moves well.

“But I was very solid. I didn’t allow him to come to the net too many times. It was a good performance.”

Kei Nishikori beat John Isner 1-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) plays Nadal in the quarterfinals.

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Nick Kyrgios Wins Open 13 for First ATP World Tour Title

 

(February 21, 2016) Nick Kyrgios captured his first career ATP World Tour title defeating fourth seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the Open 13 final in Marseille on Sunday.

This was Kyrgios’ second final, he lost to Richard Gasquet in the Estoril title match last year.
The 20-year-old Australian did not lose a set or his serve during the tournament. He closed out the match with an ace. He beat three top 12 players in succession – No. 10 Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, No. 8 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals and No. 12, the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic in the final.

He is the first player under of 21 to defeat two Top Ten players in consecutive matches since Juan Martin del Potro did it at the 2009 U.S. Open  when the Argentine beat Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the final.

“I played my first final last year and was looking for my first title,” Kyrgios said. “But I didn’t really expect to win this title this week after having a couple of weeks off. But from the first round I started playing really well and just gained confidence as I kept winning matches.

“I think I served really, really well again. I was serving really well all week. I didn’t get broken once. That was the main thing that was good. And I was able to put pressure on my opponents’ serves a lot when I was going through my service games really quickly.”

“I felt I was getting much closer in that second set,” said the 27-year-old Croatian finalist. “Every game was becoming a little more intense. I felt also that he was becoming a bit more frustrated, which was good for me. I had a chance at the end of the second set to get the break, but he managed to play well.

“I think he played really, really well today. He served amazing. It was difficult also from the back of the court. I think he was returning well, making a lot of returns in the first set. I didn’t adjust well enough on the balls that were coming back.

“But I’m really satisfied with the week. It’s really good moving forward and it’s important for me. Nick was playing high-level tennis in the end, but I wasn’t playing too bad either and that’s something good I can take from the match.”

Kyrgios, who is ranked No. 41 in the world will see his ranking move into the low thirties.

Related articles:

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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In Their Own Words – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/M. Cilic

6-0, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was is like to play a guy who was limited but also to be so on your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, obviously it felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament, again, knowing that Marin carried that injury for last couple of matches. I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much.

I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity, make him move, get as many, you know, returns back in play.

All in all, it was from my side a very solid match, and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.

Q. Did you know about that injury before the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I knew that he was carrying a bit of a right ankle sprain. Played with it against Tsonga, as well.

But, again, there was two days between. He came out on the court, so it was just — that means that he was able to play. Now, it was probably, as he said, limited; didn’t play as well as he could have.

But, again, that’s a question for him, how he felt. I just tried to execute the game plan, come out with the right strategy, and have done well.

Q. How is that level of confidence and the feeling you have now in comparison with other times you have reached the final here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, these two days have helped me to, you know, recover physically after a couple of late-night matches and get myself in a right state of mind.

Of course, semifinals of a Grand Slam, there are no clear favorites anymore. I was playing against an ex champion, so these things come to play, which makes me be determined even more to come out and play the best that I can.

So I’m very encouraged with the game that I had today, and hopefully I can maintain that level for the finals.

Q. I’d like to ask you a question about your background in the game and your original coach, Jelena. You said you memorized her guidelines. Her coming to your mountain village and sort of turning you on to the game, do you look at that as a moment of great fortune or luck? Do you think that was sort of responsible for you getting…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, this is certainly — I have had some luck in my life to be able to meet people who are knowledgeable and passionate about the sport, and there were very few of those kind of people in my country at those times when I was growing up.

So she was definitely the right person to be with, to learn from. From that point of view, I was fortunate. But I also believe that in life everything happens for a reason. Those kind of circumstances in which we were growing up and developing and training to become professional tennis player have shaped me into who I am today and have helped me to grow mentally stronger.

So she has taught me most of the basic stuff that I know about tennis both from a game point of view and also mental approach.

Q. So in some way do you think you were destined to become a professional player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think so. I mean, the fact that nobody played tennis in my family and that, you know, you’d say by chance they make three tennis courts in front of the restaurant that my family owned when I was four, I think that’s a destiny. That’s kind of life circumstances that kind of come together for you to become who you want to become.

Q. You’re back in a situation where you have been many times before, finals of the Open. One match that can make a really good season a great, great season. Can you talk about how you’re managing and thinking about that match to go in – you don’t know who you’re playing – and how are you managing the expectations you have of yourself and also externally?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, expectations are always there from myself and from the people around me. I think that’s normal and logical to expect that you, you know, have that pressure. You have those expectations because you set up yourself high standards with all the results last couple of years.

I came here with a wish and a mission, as well, to reach the finals and fight for the trophy. So I got myself in that position. It’s already a great result. But I want to get that final step on Sunday and get my hands on that trophy.

Obviously I’m not the only one who wants that. Another Swiss player will be on opposite side of the net. We will definitely want to have the same, the same kind of mission.

So I hope that I will be able to play my best tennis on Sunday. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m used to all the expectations and pressure. It’s part of what I do.

I try to deal with those emotions on and off the court, and with this experience of being out there and competing at the highest level for the biggest trophies has helped me to reach that level again. Hopefully it’s going to help me to handle myself well on Sunday.

Q. First time in your career that you’re going to play the fourth final of the Grand Slams in one season. Does it feel like an achievement to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it definitely is an achievement. I don’t want to even think about the opposite to that, you know, that I’m not happy with four finals. Win or lose on Sunday, it still has been so far a great year, best year alongside of 2011.

But, you know, obviously I’m only thinking about winning and winning that US Open trophy. It’s why I’m here, and I will try to make it.

Q. Another win and yet another final. I want to ask you how you’re going to prepare for Sunday’s final. Is there anything that bothers you physically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I have recovered in these two days. Physically I have had enough time to get my body, you know, mind, in a proper state and to be performing as well as I did today.

I’m not going to change my routine and preparations for Sunday. It’s going to more or less stay the same. Of course, according to the player that I’m playing against on Sunday I will try to tactically prepare myself, talk with the team, and see what I need to do on the court.

But whoever I play against, it’s the finals of a Grand Slam. Both of these players are top players of the world, so I’m going to have to play my best.

Q. As someone who plays the game and has studied the game and knows the history of the game, can you give us a sense of how big an upset it was that a No. 43 player like Roberta Vinci beat Serena Williams?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all, you have to understand that this is sport. As much as Serena has achieved in her life, these kind of upsets still can happen. Everybody wants to win, and not only Serena and a couple other top players, same like men’s and woman’s. You have 128 players in the draw that want to play their best and show their skills and what they know to the world of sport and Grand Slams.

So it’s quite an effort from Roberta Vinci to win against Serena on her quest to win a season Grand Slam. You have to give her credit for that, congratulate her. Certainly isn’t easy for Serena to deal with this loss today, but she’s a great champion. She has been there before. She knows how to take the, you know, lessons out of this experience and move on as a stronger player.

At her age, she’s still fighting. She’s still committing to everyday practices and trying to perfect her game. She’s very professional, and she’s a great example of somebody that is a champion on and off the court.

That’s all I can say. I mean, it really happens. Of course, it’s not easy to swallow, as I said. But you’ve got to — sometimes when another player has a better day than you, you have to congratulate and move on. Definitely great day for Italy. They will have a Grand Slam. (Smiling.)

Q. Roger has been working on this attacking move. How surprised were you when you saw him do that for the first time? How surprising is it to be on the other side of the court? Would you consider maybe trying this yourself?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, not considered doing that. I mean, he tried that in Cincinnati. It worked a couple of times. It’s exciting shot for him. For the player opposite side of the net, not so much.

So I have nothing else to say about that.

Q. Of course we are in the situation where we don’t know who your next opponent will be, so I’d like to ask you separately about each one, starting with Stan. When you think about were facing him in the final of a major and the possibility that it will be again, what goes through your mind about the challenge of facing Stan?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I have lost to him in Roland Garros final earlier this year, so I think he has a perfect score in the Grand Slam finals, 2 out of 2. He certainly is a player that loves the big occasion, big matches.

He has an immense power from both sides, forehand and backhand. One of the best one-handed backhands in the history of the sport. A big serve. So if his serve is on he can hurt anybody on any surface. He’s all-around player.

Then on the other side, if I have to play Roger, obviously we all know how consistent he is and how good he is in the latter stages of a Grand Slams and any other big tournament. He’s always going to perform on a high level. Rarely he drops his level. He always makes you play your best.

I know that he’s also lately being very aggressive coming to the net, mixing up, and trying to shorten out the points. I think also he improved his speed. His defensive game is better than it was. Maybe healthier. Everybody is working hard to improve their game and give themselves highest level possible.

So in order to win a Grand Slam title I have to be on top of my game, as well. So knowing that, coming to the court, of course it’s going to be incentive to try hard.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

 

228 Federer smiles-001

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roger Federer

Press Conference

R. FEDERER/S. Wawrinka

6-4, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about your serve tonight and how valuable of a weapon it’s become over the past couple of weeks in New York?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I always thought I had a decent serve with variation, to be quite honest. I definitely had better and worse days before, but now it seems like I’m able to, you know, just serve maybe better consistently maybe.

I’m not sure if that’s the case, but definitely also talking about faster conditions in Cincinnati and also now here. I’m using conditions to my advantage, it seems like. I hope I can serve equally good, you know, come Sunday.

Q. In anticipation to the final, a few days ago when Djokovic was playing Bautista Agut and he dropped the second set, you know, people would be cheering for Bautista Agut. Djokovic showed some anger, and he said in his post-match conference that, you know, he wasn’t himself. Do you think that that might be in anticipation for the crowd preference in your favor, and how you manage that and what you expect about that issue in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I’ll get ready for either crowd, you know, I must say, because there is never a guarantee who the crowd are going to cheering for. I hope the crowd’s going to be happy to see me in the finals as well again after, what’s it been now, six years I haven’t been in the finals. Sounds like a big deal. Not that long ago, my opinion. (Laughter.)

I still remember the six finals I played ’04 to ’09. I had many great ones, one very tough one against Agassi where the crowd was totally lopsided on his side.

I think it’s important to prepare for both. I definitely think if there would be more on my side that will give me a lift and extra energy and momentum possibly.

That could swing the match a little bit. But other than that, you know, obviously Novak is a great player. Both of us have played in all tough conditions, and you’ve got to play well to beat him. There is no question about that.

Q. We have talked to some other players about your sneak attack, and a lot of them have praised it and laughed about it and so forth. But Novak on two occasions has basically said that he didn’t want to comment about it. Today he said a little something. He said, That’s all I have to say about it. Has he said anything to you about it or do you get any sense his feeling about it?
ROGER FEDERER: I haven’t spoken much to other players about this. It’s players coming up to my coach, Severin, and talking about it.

So me personally I haven’t heard much feedback from any player almost, to be quite honest. I hear it more through the press. I hear some and read some. But not that much, to be honest.

For me, if it makes sense, you know, which I think it does, I’ll use it in the finals. I used it to great effect against him in the tough situation, at was it, 4-1 in the breaker in Cincy.

We will see if the occasion presents itself. It’s got to be the right point, right frame of mind, yeah, the right place to do it. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do it.

Q. With your serving, it seems like the effectiveness can be as much of the placement as the pace. How do you balance that? (Indiscernible) Do you feel maxed out, like you hit as much pace as you can and now you’re just going for placement? How do you balance the tradeoff?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s really by feel, to be honest quite honest. I think it’s important for me to mix up, like you said, the spin, the kick, and the pace of serves. So I keep doing it constantly to different locations that I feel like it’s important to hit. I’m sure also I take long decisions sometimes and the other guy maybe reads your serve. But at times — like Novak read Cilic’s serve perfectly, I guess.

That’s a matchup for Novak that just works very well. For me, it’s important to serve the right way at the right time. You know, it’s really important that you back yourself with your own serve at the most important moments. Like down Love-40 bring the serve into the box, number one; bring it close to the line, because close to the line also means that sometimes the opponent sort of waits for it to go out and then it’s already past you.

So I believe a lot in serving very accurately, and I could do that over a long period of time, which has helped me over my career.

Q. How much of the way you attacked Stan tonight was based upon the way he was playing, and do you think you could attack that consistently against Novak?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, we’ll see. You know, I think Stan didn’t have very high first-serve percentage in the first set, I don’t think, so that definitely gave him more looks on the second serves.

But of course Stan has more power on the first serve than Novak has. It’s a different server, to be quite honest, and also returns very different one to another. So I don’t want to compare those two.

I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to play this aggressive against Stan, because he does — when he’s on, he presents a very different challenge to all the players I have played thus far in this tournament.

But now that I have been able to do it also against Stan definitely gives me confidence that maybe I can also do it against Novak this way.

Q. A lot of the talk at Wimbledon was how well you played in the leadup to the final, especially in the semi against Andy, and then ran into Novak. I’m just curious if you took anything from a learning perspective out of that and if you believe — we call it peaking, and people said you peaked too early.
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I didn’t quite agree that I played a poor finals. I think I played okay in the finals. Maybe not even bad at times, you know. I just think Novak played a really good finals. He was super tough and he deserved it at the end, you know.

I never really looked into the match that much. I kind of left it and just said, Okay, whenever I need to be I’ll go back to it, and that’s what we will do after tonight, I guess.

So I think there is a lot of positives for me to take away from that match or all of Wimbledon, Cincinnati, as well, that match with Novak there, and then now how I have played here thus far.

I think it’s an interesting three months to look back on and take the good and the bad and compress all of those into one thing and hopefully come up with a the perfect game plan against Novak Sunday.

Q. You clearly mastered the art of excellence of staying at the top for long periods of time. On air you just mentioned that you’d like to learn from other athletes about dominance, and you mentioned in particular Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Pete, and Andre. Briefly could you mention some of the key things you learned from those four?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I used to be famous for not being consistent. So for me, I never thought I could bring it, you know, in practice and in matches, week in and week out, every year. I never thought that was really something that I could do.

I knew I could be surprising. I felt like I could beat anybody at any day, but, you know, I knew I had something in me that I like the big occasions, I like playing against the best and testing myself there and not shying away from that.

But consistency was something for me that was just so far away. So for me seeing, like, you know, all the athletes you mentioned, I didn’t understand how they could do it. I think I tried to learn from them, see how they did it, and then hopefully one day, you know, do something similar, I guess.

It took me a big mental step and a physical improvement to actually get to that level to play well, but I’m happy I figured it out at some stage.

Q. After tonight there is one Swiss in the final, and then there are also two Italians. A it’s a bit unexpected. Thinking to withdraw our media credentials because we are ruining the tournament.
ROGER FEDERER: That’s what you would do in Italy, wouldn’t you? (Laughter.)

Q. What do you think about what happened on the women’s side and Serena losing?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, definitely a huge surprise, wasn’t it? I didn’t see much of it. I always thought Pennetta plays a nice game. I’m not surprised for some reason she’s in the finals because she’s showed big matches in the past.

Roberta is more famous for doubles almost, but of course I like that she has a one-handed backhand and uses the slice to great effect. Obviously for you guys it’s an unbelievable moment in Italian history almost, even though you have had success with Errani and Schiavone, as well. I guess it’s even a bigger occasion than me playing Stan tonight, because that was a big deal in Switzerland, as well.

For me, it was, anyway, a huge moment. I hope one day I can play Stan in a Grand Slam final. But you should enjoy it, because you just don’t know when it’s going to happen next. I hope you’re filling your pages because they deserve it. (Laughter.)

Q. Going back to the chip and charge question before, there was a line around the press yesterday with Boris Becker saying that it disrespects your opponents. Just wanted to know what you said to that specifically.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, no, it’s not disrespectful. Pretty simple.

Q. We are clearly obsessed with SABR. It’s really fun.
ROGER FEDERER: I will do it some more. No problem. (Laughter.)

Q. I think McEnroe said he’d be insulted if it happened to him.
ROGER FEDERER: Really? Okay.

Q. So what I am asking is, early on I remember — if I remember correctly, you didn’t love the dropshot.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that’s true.

Q. You didn’t like replay because it wasn’t tennis. It wasn’t what your code of what the game was. I’m curious if earlier on if someone had tried it on you would you have liked it, taken umbrage at it, or thought it was cool and a great new tactic?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, guys were almost doing that against me back in the day. I remember Max Mirnyi and Henman, they were standing there like, All right, holding their finger up. I’m coming up. You know I’m coming, so whatever second serve you want, you’ll have to hit it past.

I faced those guys, and didn’t matter how you approached it. I remember Spaniards standing outside of the doubles alley waiting to hit a forehand on clay because my second wasn’t as good yet. So I faced all of that stuff, as well.

So I’m actually standing in position when they are serving, and then only once they toss it, that’s when I run so they don’t actually really see me, in my opinion.

You know, whatever works, you know. As long as it’s in the rules, I think you should be able to use it.

Q. How would you characterize your rivalry with Novak? It’s going to be your 42nd match against each other. How would you describe the rivalry? Do you think he’s made you better? You’ve made him better? Is there one particular match, good reasons or bad reasons, a loss that sticks out for you from all of the matches you played?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I see more of a generation of, you know, Hewitt, Nalbandian, Agassi, Henman, guys I had trouble with at the beginning. I felt they made me better a player.

Same with my generation coming up, Ferrero, Safin, Roddick, Hewitt. I was trying to hang on with them and trying to be that next wave of players making it to the top, and everyone made it to world No. 1 before me.

I think that was very motivational for me. Made me a better player. I definitely think Rafa had a big effect, as well. Had to adjust and change so many things playing against him, preparing against him, thinking about it when I was practicing. He’s probably been the guy who challenged me the most with that.

Novak it’s been more straightforward, my opinion. That’s what I like about the rivalry. I think we both can — I don’t know how it is for him, but I feel like he doesn’t need to adjust his game as much, either. I think it’s just a straight shootout, and I think that’s the cool thing about our rivalry. It’s very athletic.

We both can handle each other’s — whatever we present to one another, and I think our matches, it’s very even. That’s it, I think. I don’t need to add more here.

 

 

 

314MarinCilic-001

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Marin Cilic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/M. Cilic

6-0, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were your thoughts about your physical condition before the match, and what do you think you would be able to accomplish by playing?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I knew that, you know, I’m not 100%, obviously. And even the last match against Jo I wasn’t feeling 100%. You know, the foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement, but, you know, Novak was able to expose me much more today.

Even coming before the match and thinking, you know, if I’m going to play or not, I decide to play, as it’s a Grand Slam tournament, it’s deep in the tournament. You know, I decide to go on the court and give my best.

You know, if it would be some other tournament, doesn’t matter which one, I would probably pull out and not, you know, get myself in the position to aggravate it much more.

But also, you know, today, even though with the foot, it was — even though it was causing me trouble, I didn’t play so well today. You know, a lot of mishits and a lot of missed balls that, you know, I shouldn’t have missed in some situations.

But that was in my head already from the beginning and the score went in that way. The score was going pretty quickly in the beginning, so, you know, it didn’t give me time to get in the match.

Q. How do you think you’ll look back on this?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I will look back very positively to the tournament. Extremely great tournament. Obviously very unlucky that I twisted the ankle, but still with that, you know, in the match against Novak, anyway it’s very difficult.

I went to the match obviously to play. You know, I cannot pull myself out of it with injury. That’s the reality.

You know, Novak was extremely focused today. He played great. But I have to also take myself as, you know, that I was fighting pretty well during the full tournament. Considering the first time experience having to defend a Grand Slam title, I feel that I accomplished well.

So I’m very, very positive coming out of the tournament.

Q. You enjoyed a little bit being out there, or was it just frustrating from one point to the next?
MARIN CILIC: You know, was not frustrating. I was just hoping that I’m going to be able to get into the match more. And, you know, for the crowd as well as it would be obviously also pretty disappointing that I have pulled out before the match. That’s always the situation.

But, yeah, I was able to enjoy it a little bit, even though it wasn’t fun.

Q. Talk more about Novak, top player of the world, No 1. Talk about him a little bit more.
MARIN CILIC: You know, not much new to say about Novak. Novak is playing really good this season. He’s played great this tournament. Played also great today.

Q. When you finished playing, Novak said it was because of ankle injury. Do you think it was also the fact that you are playing against Novak Djokovic or it would be same if it was another person?
MARIN CILIC: No, I know Novak knows me really well, and, you know, just his game doesn’t suit me so well. And also the fact that he’s returning extremely well, getting a lot of balls back, you know, it’s already from there very difficult situation for me from.

If I would be even completely healthy and, you know, just having a small part in my game that doesn’t work well with him, obviously he exposes it to extreme conditions.

So it’s, you know, very difficult. But I went to that match to give my best, which I did. You know, I’m proud of myself. Obviously a lot of people are going to say it’s a little bit of embarrassment to lose like that, but I’m clear in my mind that I went to the match, it’s a semifinals, saying if I’m going to take ever a chance, it’s going to be this time.

Q. What was your reaction to the Serena Williams match before you came on?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, obviously pretty disappointing for her, for I guess all her fans.

Yeah, I didn’t actually follow too much. I was trying to focus as much as I could, but obviously, you know, not easy with all the attention she’s got and constantly, day after day, everybody is talking about it.

Very unfortunate for her, yeah.

Q. As someone who won a Grand Slam here, and it was a bit of a surprise to people, what are your thoughts for Vinci today?
MARIN CILIC: You know, great. She held her nerves pretty well, I guess. She got to the semis anyway. She beat several for sure great players on the route to the semis, and obviously took her chance today.

Obviously Serena wasn’t playing so well and the way she could. And considering the attention, the pressure, I guess that helps Vinci to play pretty loose.

Q. Is it a serious foot injury or just…
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I twisted the ankle. It was pretty swollen a few days ago. Still is.

But hopefully it won’t take too long to be 100%.

Q. Last year you were in finals, so I’m interested if you’re going to stay and watch the final here. How is it watching the final when you know last year you are the winner?
MARIN CILIC: Well, we’ll see this year. I’m still gonna decide. I mean, I have Davis Cup next week. Scheduled to play in Brazil.

So I’m probably going to go there as soon as I can. We will see.

 

 

Wawrinka in press

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 11, 2015

Stan Wawrinka

Press Conference

R. FEDERER/S. Wawrinka

6-4, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What made it so difficult for you tonight?
STAN WAWRINKA: Him, the way he’s playing. Condition a little bit different than when I play my match here on Ashe? It’s a little bit more flying in the night. It’s playing really fast. Didn’t play my best game. Didn’t serve well and everything.

But basically it’s him, the way he’s playing.

Q. You think if Roger plays this aggressive attacking style against Novak that will give him the best chance to win?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Maybe.

Q. You have known him a long time. Can you just talk about how he’s moving right now.
STAN WAWRINKA: He’s moving really well, for sure. As I said before playing him, I saw him in Cincinnati, I think he’s quite fast on the court. He’s reading well the game, and so he’s trying really to stay on the line, not to go back. Stay really aggressive. He’s serving really well, also. He’s serving better than I never see him serve.

For me tonight he’s getting more angles. It’s more tough to really serve and to make something from.

Q. Do you think the partial roof and speed of the court are contributing to how he’s playing on that particular court?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know. Always been quite medium fast here at US Open central court.

For sure now there is almost no wind on the court, so it’s quite nice to play. He always played well here, always love to play here, and, yeah, so far he’s been too good.

Q. You had a couple chances in the first set. Do you think if you might have gotten a break then it…
STAN WAWRINKA: Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know.

For sure it doesn’t help when you play Roger and he’s trying to play really aggressive, really fast. When he get the lead, when he get the break, then he’s relaxed. The way he’s playing he’s reading better, moving better, so everything going faster, that’s for sure.

I tried everything with what I had today, for sure. I wasn’t serving well at all. That doesn’t help because I don’t get free point. I cannot really start the point from the baseline being aggressive.

Yeah, was tough. Didn’t get my — I would say my heavy ball from baseline was tough to put some topspin. Was flying a little bit more than what I expect, but he was simply too good.

Q. Obviously your tournament ended before you’d like it to, but how would you assess your play over the course of the tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I need to see the whole picture. I think it’s still a great result, amazing result from me, making semifinal again.

I didn’t play really my best tennis. I didn’t play the way I wanted all the tournament, but I still in semifinals.

So if I look my result in Grand Slam this year I couldn’t ask for more. Make two semifinal, one quarterfinal, and one time winner. It’s something amazing for me.

Q. You talked about Roger’s speed. What surprised you most about his game tonight? Did you feel like he was almost a different player than the Roger you played in the past?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not a different player, but he’s being more aggressive, that’s for sure.

As I say, he’s really staying on the line. It’s tough to compare because you need to find also the good match. You cannot take a match from clay court or grass, for example. For example, London Masters last year indoor, is quite similar, but he was more playing from the baseline.

Today he’s trying to be really, really aggressive, trying to come to the net every time he can and trying to stay on the line.

Even when he’s in defense you can see he’s not going back. He’s staying on the line, trying to make half-volley passing.

Q. You probably know Roger better than anyone else in the circuit. Do you think this is his best level ever?
STAN WAWRINKA: Ah, it’s tough to say. He’s been winning so many Grand Slams, so many tournaments. We’ll see. For sure it’s close from his best.

Also the game now is a different level than few years ago, so everybody is improving from few years ago. But is the best that I saw him play since few years, that’s for sure.

Q. Do you feel like the sport in general, talking about how to play him this year, do you feel like it’s more of an outdoor court or does it feel more indoor?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s between, but it’s getting closer for more indoor court, that’s for sure, without wind. Now you cannot even compare the center court with Armstrong, for example. It’s completely two different condition.

Armstrong it gets windy, even feels a little bit of wind. Now you have nothing on center court. Yeah, it’s getting faster, but it’s still a good court to play. That’s for sure.

Q. You have said a moment ago that everyone is changing and evolving. Obviously Roger’s made a lot of changes during all his career, but do you feel like he’s accelerated the pace of those changes, training, tactics, all those things in the last year or two that in other periods of his career?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think for sure he’s always trying to improve, trying to change. He change his racquet last year, and it takes time to get used to the racquet and get what you want with the racquet.

But if you look at him — I think the second part from the year, after Wimbledon, he is starting already at the different level. He came back Cincinnati at a completely different level. Here also. If you look at the first part he was playing good, make final Wimbledon, but the rest was amazing.

If you look now, if you keep this level, he’s going to be tough to beat.

 

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