2014/08/27

Serena Williams and Roger Federer Both Begin Quest for 18th Major

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(August 27, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – A pair of 17-time major champions made the first step in their mutual quests for an 18th major on Tuesday night. No. 2 seed Roger Federer and No. 1 Serena Williams both took out opponents in straight sets at the US Open.

The 33-year-old Swiss Federer led off the night session with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) vwin over No. 76 Marinko Matosevic of Australia. With six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan cheering him on in his courtside guest box, Federer pulled off the shot of the night – between the legs shot, facing backwards to the net, which hit his opponent in his lower back.

Federer admitted that Jordan, now 51, was a childhood idol of his. In an interview with ESPN, Jordan said that he knew nothing about tennis and said that Federer is a good athlete and that he played basketball.

“It’s just amazing having Michael here,” Federer said after the match. “Growing up he was my big sporting idol. … Having him here is unbelievably special and the collaboration is unique, so I love it.”

“He was just my hero of all sports,” Federer said in his news conference. “That’s what he was for me growing up. Besides Edberg and Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all sports idol. I don’t remember having a Jordan jersey, as such, really. I just remember when I was younger, in Germany it was really big on the German TV stations. I think every Sunday they had unbelievable big NBA highlights. That’s where I saw him doing all his moves. I wasn’t necessarily a Chicago Bulls fan or anything like that. It’s just I was into him, into like the incredible athlete, you know, just being that guy who was carrying basketball at the time. So I guess that’s what inspired me.”

While Federer was entertaining an idol of his with his play, Serena Williams was defeating a player who idolizes her. Williams played almost flawlessly in dispatching 18-year-old fellow American Wild Card Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1.

The two-time defending US Open champion, soon-to-be 33-year-old Williams made only 8 unforced errors in a match which lasted less than an hour.

Townsend discussed her appreciation of Williams in press: “I think I appreciate the fact that, number one, she loves the game so much. I think for anyone who’s watched her career progress, we have seen the ups and downs. She’s come through a lot of adversity. I think the most roaring time for me when I was watching her play was when she won that Australian Open, when everyone was completely doubting her, no one said she would win, she was totally out of shape, she was this, that, everything in the book. She literally fought and she beat Sharapova 1-0, 2-0, something ridiculous. But I’ve never seen someone so intense and so, like, driven to win, you know? I gained so much respect for her. Moving forward, I’ve just seen her love the game even more. The older she gets, the more she enjoys being out there and playing. I think her perspective has changed, having fun with what she’s doing. I think the wins are just making it even better.”

“I think it was an interesting match,” Williams said. “I thought she played really well. She started out super strong. She did a good job.”

“I think Taylor is a really great player. I believe she does everything well. She’s one of the few players that can come to the net and volley, as well as she has unbelievable hand speed with her racquet. She’s really unbelievable.”

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Roger Federer Family Man Has Some Advice for Future Father Novak Djokovic

Federer fistpump

(August 23, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Father of four and holder of five US Open titles, No. 2 seed Roger Federer was asked by reporters on US Open media day on Saturday if he has any advice for future father and No. 1 player Novak Djokovic.

“Advice is different than just saying something,” Federer said. I mean, I would wish him well. That’s it,” Federer said with laughter filling the room.

“Now you want advice, then it’s totally different. Then we can go into this like endless talk of how I did it, which worked and which didn’t work. I have spoken to him a little bit in the past. It’s normal I think when you’re entering the whole family thing that many people you talk to, all you talk about is babies and how to prepare for it mentally. I think it’s a very exciting time. So I think he must be quite excited about what’s going to happen soon. And with the wedding and everything, I’m sure he’s, you know, going through a great spell at the moment with winning Wimbledon, top of it, so things are great for him. But I think he’s got to figure it out himself really, because I don’t know his wife very well. I don’t know where he lives exactly. So I think that all has an impact. Are they going to travel or not.

“But the good thing, he sees with me with four, so with one it should be a piece of cake.” Federer said as laughter filled the interview room again. “Honestly I wish him the best. I think it’s wonderful he chose to create a family, and, you know, have kids with his wife.”

The five-time champion will face off against Australian Marinko Matosevic  in the first round of the US Open.

The Swiss spoke about his mental approach to his first round match at a major: “It’s not necessarily just the first round, it’s just for the tournament, managing the first sort of the preparation week with press, sponsors, practice, treatment, you know, enough sleep, all that stuff. Just getting through it in a way that you’re really eager to play the tournament and you don’t want to get ahead of yourself. Really give the proper respect to your first-round opponent that he deserves and the danger of not quite knowing the conditions yet, because you can’t simulate a match situation in a practice. You can get used to the speeds of the courts, the way the ball flies, the wind, the humidity, all those things. But the tension you do feel on a match court, it’s just totally different. That can really either block you for playing great or sometimes it frees you up. That’s the unknown, and that’s why that first-round match is always crucial.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are Top Men’s Seeds at US Open

Djokovic and Federer shake hands

From the USTA -FLUSHING, N.Y., August 19, 2014 – The USTA announced today that world No. 1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic,of Serbia, has been named the top seed in men’s singles at the 2014 US Open, and five-time US Open champion Roger Federer, of Switzerland, has been seeded No. 2. The 2014 US Open will be played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., August 25 – September 8. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

 

Djokovic has reached the last four US Open men’s singles finals, winning the title in 2011, and won his seventh Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon this summer, and Federer, a 17-time major champion who pushed Djokovic to five sets in the Wimbledon final, are joined in the top four seeds by No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka, of Switzerland, the 2014 Australian Open champion and No. 4 David Ferrer, of Spain. Great Britain’s Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open champion, is seeded eighth.

 

World No. 2 and reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal, of Spain, withdrew from the US Open men’s singles tournament yesterday with a right wrist injury.  2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, from Argentina, currently ranked No. 13, withdrew earlier, as did No. 23 Alexandr Dolgopolov, of Ukraine, No. 28 Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, and No. 34 Tommy Haas, of Germany.

 

Federer is seeded at the US Open for the 14th straight year, tying Ivan Lendl for the second longest streak in the Open Era behind only Jimmy Connors’ 18 consecutive years.

 

For 2014, the US Open followed the Emirates ATP Rankings released Monday to determine the men’s singles seeds. This is the 13th consecutive year that the US Open will seed 32 players in singles.

 

Djokovic, 27, is 39-6 this year and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Nadal in July following his Wimbledon victory. Federer, meanwhile, is ranked No. 3 and won his 22nd ATP Masters 1000 title last week at the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

The singles draws for the 2014 US Open will be revealed live during an official draw ceremony on Thursday, August 21, at 12 p.m. ET at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The draw will be streamed live on USOpen.org.  Defending US Open champion Serena Williams will make an appearance at the event.

 

2014 US Open Men’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Novak Djokovic, Serbia

2.    Roger Federer, Switzerland

 

3.    Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland

4.    David Ferrer, Spain

 

5.    Milos Raonic, Canada

6.    Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic

7.    Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria

8.    Andy Murray, Great Britain

9.    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

10.  Kei Nishikori, Japan

11.  Ernests Gulbis, Latvia

12.  Richard Gasquet, France

13.  John Isner, United States

14.  Marin Cilic, Croatia

15.  Fabio Fognini, Italy

16.  Tommy Robredo, Spain

17.  Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain

18.  Kevin Anderson, South Africa

19.  Feliciano Lopez, Spain

20.  Gael Monfils, France

21.  Mikhail Youzhny, Russia

22.  Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany

23.  Leonardo Mayer, Argentina

24.  Julien Benneteau, France

25.  Ivo Karlovic, Croatia

26.  Gilles Simon, France

27.  Santiago Giraldo, Colombia

28.  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain

29.  Lukas Rosol, Czech Republic

30.  Jeremy Chardy, France

31.  Fernando Verdasco, Spain

32.  Joao Sousa, Portugal

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Roger Federer Takes Sixth Cincinnati Crown for 80th Career Title

By Dave Gertler

(August 17, 2014) MASON, OHIO – After making the final of four Masters 1000 events this year, Roger Federer has finally broken through to win his first title at that level since 2012. After beating fellow top 10 players Andy Murray and Milos Raonic to reach the final, Federer’s opponent at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, was world No. 6 Spaniard David Ferrer, who has troubled the world No .3 lately, but had not beaten Federer in their 15 career matches.

 

Like their quarterfinal played out in Toronto last week, their meeting at the Lindner Family Tennis Center today also went three sets, with 33-year-old Federer giving away the middle set to his 32-year-old opponent.

 

With Federer serving first, both players held easily until Ferrer – serving at 3-4 – double faulted twice to hand Federer the break. Although Federer consolidated for 6-3, it was not before he went down 0-40 and proceeded to save four break points, perhaps a sign of what was coming in the following set.

 

“Let’s not talk about the second set,” Federer joked after the match, perhaps offering some insight into the kind of mentality that brought his title count to 80 today. “I can dwell on it for like 30 minutes if you want and then the press conference is over and we talked about the second set rather than the good stuff.”

 

The second set saw Ferrer tighten up his return game, find his rhythm and apply pressure on Federer’s serve, breaking the Swiss twice for a 6-1 second set. However, said Federer, “I did get some momentum back I think at the end of the second set, even though I did end up losing it 6‑1. I really thought I was feeling better again towards the end of the second set, like he felt better at the end of the first.”

 

Federer, who has reached 8 finals in 2014, compared to a total of 3 in 2013, led with his serve in the third set, when he served 4 of his 6 aces in the match. “The third set he serve unbelievable,” said Ferrer, who was unable to make his opponent save any break points in the final set, while Federer broke him twice for a final score of 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Federer remains unbeaten in Cincinnati finals, and holds a record 6 titles there.

 

“We’ve never played each other in slams,” said Federer when asked about his one-sided rivalry against Ferrer, “So from that standpoint, like I mentioned the other day, head‑to‑heads don’t mean everything.”

 

Having played ten matches in 13 days, Federer said that on Monday, he considered not playing the Western & Southern Open, in order to conserve energy for next week’s US Open. “I could have just not played here,” said Federer, “And gone into the Open feeling good about my chances, now I feel even better, you know. On the flip coin, what was the other plan? Practice? Take a few days off? But then I have to grind out in the practice. I still believe matches are the best practice right now.”

 

For Federer it was his 80th career singles title.

 

Earlier, Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 to claim her first Cincinnati title, while Bob and Mike Bryan ended Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock’s 14-match winning streak when they beat them in the doubles final 6-3, 6-2 for their fifth title in Cincinnati. Americans were also winners in the women’s doubles, where Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears played Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who retired injured from the match trailing 1-6, 0-2.

 

The Western & Southern Open also set new attendance records, drawing 191, 752 fans over 16 sessions to the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney who was covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days

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Raonic Sets Up Semifinal Date Against Federer in Cincinnati

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 15, 2014) MASON, OHIO – After the disappointment of failing to reach the semifinal of his home Masters 1000 last week in Toronto, Milos Raonic has breezed into the Western & Southern Open semifinal today in Cincinnati. While Raonic’s 6-1, 6-0 win over Fabio Fognini might seem ominous, his semifinal opponent will be Roger Federer who defeated Andy Murray 6-3, 7-5 in the evening session.

 

Fognini – who had advanced to his first career quarterfinal in Cincinnati – ran out of luck as he stepped up against the big-serving Canadian. In a match lasting 57 minutes, Raonic’s serve statistics were troubling for his opponent. He only lost 4 points the whole match behind his first serve, and of the 10 he lost behind his second serve, 3 were double faults. “You can’t really control him,” said Raonic of his often erratic opponent, “It can be very sporadic at times. You just focus on yourself and make sure you do yourself and see and adjust to how things are coming from him as you go.”

 

Although the 27-year-old Italian forced Raonic to successfully defend 7 break points in the second set, he had fewer points than that won on his own serve, and was unable to get on the scoreboard. Despite having two game points in the last game of the match, Fognini double-faulted twice. The last play of the match was a Fognini foot-fault, reminiscent of his loss last year in Cincinnati to Radek Stepanek, where he deliberately foot-faulted to lose the match, before being booed off the court.

 

In Friday’s first men’s quarterfinal, Julien Benneteau scored an upset win over 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka in three sets on Center Court. Despite the Swiss racing away to a 6-1 lead, Benneteau drew on the confidence of his winning career record against Wawrinka, and was able to turn the match around, losing only three more games, taking the match 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.

 

“At the end of first set,” said the 32-year-old Frenchman, of how he turned the match around, “I talk to myself and I said, OK, if I don’t change anything it’s going to be 1 and 3 in 50 minutes and you’re going to lose it. So I said that I need to play harder from the baseline and to put a little bit more intensity in my strokes. Even if I miss it’s OK, but I have to play like this. I thought that the two, three first games of the second set are going to be tough. It’s going to be a tough fight, and I prepare myself to resist to that. I say, OK, you have to stay in the game. You have to take the score. And I broke in the first game, on his first service game in the second set.”
Making his first career appearance at a Masters 1000 semifinal, world No.41 Benneteau is looking forward to the opportunity, saying, “Of course it means something. But the tournament is not done, and I still have a lot to do. We will see.” His semifinal opponent will be David Ferrer, who ousted fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo earlier on Friday.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Aussies Bounced Out of Cincinnati

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur

By Dave Gertler

(August 13, 2014) MASON, OHIO – The last three Australians left in the singles draw at the Cincinnati Masters all played their second-round matches on Wednesday, with Sam Stosur and Marinko Matosevic both bowing out to their American opponents in straight sets. Lleyton Hewitt also succumbed to the grinding baseline play of Italian Fabio Fognini.

 

Stosur and Serena Williams added another encounter to their storied rivalry, the Aussie receiving warm support from the crowd as she battled to stay in both sets, at times out-hitting her world No.1 opponent. In a match lasting almost two hours, where neither player dropped their serve, and Williams needed to come from behind in both tie-breaks to eventually win through to the next round. “She was up in both of the breakers,” said Williams, “I think it was just a great match, to be honest. She served unbelievable, and I was like, I can’t lose serve because she’s just serving great.”

 

Both players brought their big serves to the table, particularly Serena, who served 12 aces. “Really good quality match,” said Stosur, “I’m really pleased with the way I played. I’m disappointed when you have those couple of set points and don’t go through and at least win that set to take it into three. But I gave myself every chance to try and get through that one.  She came up with some really great stuff when it really counted.”

 

While Stosur was facing last year’s women’s runner up, Marinko Matosevic had to contend with the men’s runner up from last year, in a slightly less competitive 3-6, 6-7 loss to the American John Isner. That left Lleyton Hewitt in a familiar position as the last Australian in the singles draw.

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Hewitt would drop the first set against Fognini 6-1, before going up a break in the second set, a lead that he would ultimately relinquish, allowing Fognini back into the second set, which he won 6-4. “The second set I fought hard, I was up a break in the second set but couldn’t consolidate,” said Hewitt. The 33-year-old Australian served 9 double faults, saying, “I just didn’t hit my serve well today, especially early on,” said Hewitt, “He makes you play a lot of balls as well. He’s a confidence player, and when he’s hitting ball well, he’s tough to beat. He moves well, as well.”

 

Serena Williams’ next opponent will be Flavia Pennetta, while Isner faces No.8 seed Andy Murray. Fabio Fognini will face Yen-Hsun Lu, who had an upset victory over 4th seed Tomas Berdych. Also through to the round of 16, Roger Federer, who beat Canadian Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 5-7, 6-2 in 2 hours for his 300th win at a Masters Series 1000 event.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan to Host Celebrity Chef Challenge as part of Taste of Tennis Week

sam and Kerry

Chef Kerry Hefferman with Sam Stosur

(August 13, 2014) Since 2000 the world’s top tennis players and chefs have been serving up culinary delights at the Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis. This year’s premier pre-US Open social event to be held on Thursday night, August 21 at the W New York Hotel, is again being hosted by world No. 1 Serena Williams, along with featured Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Other players scheduled to appear are Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Bob & Mike Bryan, Dustin Brown and Sloane Stephens.

Serena Williams, Azarenka, Bryan Brothers and More To Headline First-Ever Taste of Tennis Week

In addition to the Thursday gala, Taste of Tennis will be hosting several special events as part of “Taste of Tennis Week” including the Celebrity Chef Doubles Tennis Challenge on Wednesday, August 20th at the Midtown Tennis Club. The tournament will pair guests with a top chef in a round-robin style tournament. Serena Williams will team up with Chef Morimoto for the event which will be televised at a later date on MSG Plus and New England Sports Network on a program hosted by sports broadcaster Harry Cicma.

Hosting the Celebrity Chef Challenge will be Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. Hefferman who is one of the chefs who has participated in Taste of Tennis the longest, said although he played a little tennis growing up in the suburbs, he didn’t really get thoroughly absorbed by it until he received a tennis racquet as one of the gifts in his Taste of Tennis goodie bag a few years ago.

”You get these great goodie bags and in them were these amazing tennis racquets,” he said.

“Wait a minute these look like really good racquets, maybe I should try this thing. One thing led to another… and it’s been three years now since I really got into it.”

“It grows on you, you want to get better, you want to play more, you want to find people that play. You just mushroom into this obsession that creeps into all different parts of your life.”

The idea for the Celebrity Chef Challenge came about as the result of attending the BNP Paribas showdown at Madison Square Garden earlier in the year.

“Other chefs were in attendance tweeting pictures at the event,” Hefferman continued. “Through social media and texts among other chefs” the idea gained a lot of momentum.

I asked Chef Hefferman if he thought that many tennis players are “foodies” and many chefs are into tennis.

“I would concur 100 percent,” he said. “The passion that most chefs have for tennis, is like their display of their cooking. Many similarities – it’s hot, it’s unpredictable, you’re subject to a lot of pressure.

“Lot of parallels between a tennis match and cooking in a professional kitchen.

“The other thing is I notice, having done this for 13 years, that probably a set number of celebrities come and cook with me, so many of them are interested in food and are so knowledgeable about food, it’s really, really satisfying to have somebody come back and recognize that you have an heirloom tomato, or chose a carrot with an usual herb, just to have that culinary fluency.

“And I would say that certainly the European players are a little more fluent even. But the Bryan Brothers for example are super. We did this almost quickfire challenge with Gail Simmons from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters and they were having a blast. Bob Bryan is such a great guy, he still follows me on twitter, we still both keep in touch. Okay, he’s a bit busier than I am. It was a connection through food that like lasts.”

With such a link between Chef Hefferman and tennis, I asked him: ‘If you were a tennis player, who would you be in the Culinary world?’

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I guess you would want to be (Roger) Federer because it’s that effortless execution, that focus and determination.

“Like many chefs, I have such admiration for him having gone back and strengthen part of your game….. his serve for example brought him to the finals at Wimbledon that you just have some respect for the craft. Many chefs would like to be compared to someone like that because he approaches it with ultimate appreciation for how the game is played almost the technical aspect. Anybody would want to be a (Rafael) Nadal or even a (Novak) Djokovic, for the passion, the energy and the dedication but for me if I could be compared to a Federer.

“Your cooking should appear as effortless as his backhand, it shouldn’t looked contrived, it shouldn’t look like you are trying to make look like something it’s not.

“The way that Roger plays the game has got sort of that natural beauty to it. There’s a kind of energy that we really appreciate.”

For more details on the Taste of Tennis events, visit www.tasteoftennis.com.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

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Tsonga Tops Federer for Toronto Title

(August 10, 2014) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first Frenchman to win the Rogers Cup, defeating No. 2 seed Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (3) taking down his fourth straight top 10 opponent.

He beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday, No. 8 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals. This marks the first time that a player has defeated four top 10 players in a row in Canada since 2002.

For the Frenchman it was his first ATP World Tour title win of the year and 11th overall. Tsonga is now 5-11 versus the Swiss.

In the first set both men held serve through the first 11 games. With Federer serving in the 12th game, fell behind and faced his fist break point in the match. The world No. 3 hit a forehand long to give Tsonga the set.

In the second set, Tsonga kept his opponent at bay – he missed out on break point chances in the sixth game and in the eighth game. Federer saved a match point in the tenth game and both men held to force a tiebreak.

Tsonga took the mini-break advantage at 4-3 and closed out the match by winning the next three points.

“I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me,” Federer said. “It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough.

“I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it’s always going to be hard. But not to win more points on his first serve ‑‑ I don’t know the second serve stat, but I need to have a better impact on that normally.

“Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today.

“No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to, and like you mentioned, I think he served well overall, which was key for him.”

“I don’t realize really what I achieved this week, but it’s a big achievement for me,” Tsonga said.

“It’s completely different than before when I won in Paris. In Paris it was the first one, you know, behind my family, all my friends, everybody. I think I did it with my hurt, you know, in Paris. Here I just did it with my level, with my game.

“I played well all this week. I beat many good guys. You know, it’s a big achievement because I worked really hard to come back from my knee injury last year.”

Asked about the pro-Federer crowd, Tsonga said: “When you play Roger, of course you are always the challenger for the people in the crowd, so some of them are for you because they want you to do a good performance, but most of them are for Roger because he’s the guy who did the most for tennis since a long time now, and he deserve it and that’s it.”

At No. 15, Tsonga is the first ATP Masters 1000 winner ranked outside the Top 10 since No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells back in 2010 over Andy Roddick. Tsonga will move back into the top 10 when the rankings come out on Monday.

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Around the Grounds at the Rogers Cup Toronto

 

(August 3, 2014) TORONTO, CANADA – Photographer Nida Alibhai snapped photos all around the grounds of the Rogers Cup on Sunday, August 3, 2014.

Photos include: Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Bernard Tomic,Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez and others.

Follow Nida Alibhai’s photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Novak Djokovic Wins Second Wimbledon Crown with Five-set Victory over Roger Federer

 

 

(July 6, 2014) WIMBLEDON – No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic who failed to close out the match in the fourth set was extended to five by 7-time champion Roger Federer, but the Serb held on for his second Wimbledon title a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 at Centre Court at the All England Club on Sunday.

It was a match of momentum shifts, the first set going to the almost 33-year-old veteran grabbing the opening set in a tiebreak. Djokovic grabbed the momentum back with an early break in the second and added to it with a a solid tiebreak in the third. Djokovic ran up a 5-2 lead, serving for match at 5-3, holding a championship point. The world No. 4 surged to take the last 5 games of the set to claim it 7-5.

This set up a fifth set which saw both men hold steady until the 10th game when Federer failed to be consistent with his first serve and his groundstrokes. Four unforced errors for Federer, and Djokovic took advantage for break of serve for game, set and match.

“I was very close in several occasions, even in the fourth, to win the match,” Djokvic said.  “But, you know, I could have easily lost my concentration in the fifth and just handed him the win.

“But I didn’t, and that’s why this win has a special importance to me mentally.  Because I managed to not just win against my opponent but win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today.”

“I was just overwhelmed with the emotions, positive emotions, that I was experiencing in the match,” Djokvic stated.  “I was not surprised, I was just trying to enjoy the moment, rethink what I’ve been through during the match.”

“Sincerely, this has been the best quality Grand Slam final that I ever been part of.  I’ve had a longest final against Nadal in the Australian Open 2012.

“But quality-wise from the first to last point, this is definitely the best match.

“Roger played very well, I thought, in a very high level.  He showed why he’s a champion.  He showed a fighting spirit, composure in important moments when he was a break down.”

During the trophy ceremony Djokovic said to Federer: “I respect your career and everything you have done. And thank you for letting me win today.” Even Federer had to smile at his conqueror’s statement.

Not only does the win give Djokvic a seventh major title, it will moe his ranking back up to No. 1 ahead of Rafael Nadal.

“But it was close,” said Federer, who was bidding for a record eighth Wimbledon title.  “Novak deserved it at the end clearly, but it was extremely close.”

“It’s just nice being in Wimbledon finals, number one,” the Swiss continued.  “Winning or losing, it’s always something special and something you’ll remember, even more so when the match was as dramatic as it was today.

“It’s even more memorable when I see my kids there with my wife and everything.  That’s what touched me the most, to be quite honest.  The disappointment of the match itself went pretty quickly.”

With Djokovic’s win, he has snapped his losing streak in major finals,” Before Sunday he had lost the last three, and five out of the last six.

Djokovic said: “Most special Grand Slam final I’ve played.  At the time of my career for this Grand Slam trophy to arrive is crucial, especially, as I said, after losing several Grand Slam finals in a row.  Started doubting of course a little bit.  I needed this win a lot.

“I’m going to try to use it in the best possible way and for my confidence to grow for the rest of my season and the rest of my career.”

Asked by a reporter if this could be his last Wimbledon, Federer replied: “There is no guarantee that you’re going to be ever there again or not.  Or maybe there’s much more to come.  It’s really impossible to answer that question.

“I’m very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did the last two weeks.  That clearly makes me believe that this was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future.”

Djokovic dedicated his triumph to his pregnant fiancee Jelena Ristic, his future baby and his first coach Jelena Gencic who died last year.

Djokovic now joins John McEnroe and Mats Wilander in a tie for eighth place on the list for most major singles titles in the Open Era.

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