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Posts Tagged ‘Novak Djokovic’

Yesterday (Saturday 2 July) saw reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic crash out of Wimbledon in the third round to American Sam Querrey. Not only was Djokovic defending his title,  but he is currently the holder of all four Major titles, a feat not done since Rod Laver in 1969, as I mentioned in this blog here.

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Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat in the 3rd round of Wimbledon, brining to a halt his dream of doing the Grand Slam (holding all four Major titles in the same calendar year).

Djokovic’s defeat of course opens up the draw to other contenders. As Djokovic was seeded number 1, and Andy Murray number 2, it will make no difference to Andy Murray unless he reaches the final as they are in opposite parts of the draw. However, it may make a difference to my own favourite, Roger Federer, as he is seeded number 3. Federer would have met Djokovic in the semi-finals if they had both progressed.

I will keep my fingers crossed that this time next week I will be looking forward to a men’s singles final featuring Federer. I so want to see him surpass the record he currently jointly holds with Pete Sampras and win his 8th Wimbledon title. We shall see.

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Yesterday (Sunday 5 June) Novak Djokovic won the French Open and became the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors at the same time. He also joined a small group of players who have won all four majors, but to hold all four at the same time is much rarer. As anyone who has read my blogposts about tennis knows, I am massive fan of Rod Laver, and I don’t want to take anything away from his remarkable achievement of doing the Grand Slam (winning all four majors in the same calendar year) twice, in 1962 and 1969.

But, for anyone today to win all four majors is far more difficult, and I don’t mean because there are more tennis players competing, although there are. It is because now all four majors are played on different surfaces, which was not the case in Laver’s day. When Laver won his two Grand Slams three of the four majors were on grass. The only one which wasn’t was the French Open. So, if you were an expert grass-court player, as Laver was, it was much easier to win three of the majors than it is today. This only adds to Djokovic’s remarkable achievement of being the first player since Laver to hold all four majors at the same time. Federer has never achieved it, nor Nadal, nor McEnroe, nor Sampras, nor Agassi. None of them.

Novak Djokovic won his first French Open. He now holds all four major titles at the same time, the first player to achieve this since Rod Laver in 1969

Andy Murray won the first set 6-3, but after that Djokovic started to cut the errors out of his game and the next three sets went to Djokovic pretty quickly, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-4. Murray just had no answer for Djokovic once the latter got his game into gear.

Djokovic has now won 12 major titles, and if he carries on like this who would bet against him surpassing Federer’s record of 17 major titles? Also, as the French Open is his second major of 2016, he is on track to do the Grand Slam, winning all four majors in the same calendar year. Again, the last person to do this was Rod Laver, in 1969.

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Nova Djokovic denied Roger Federer his 8th Wimbledon title in a 5-set match which will go down as a classic. Both players sustained tennis of the highest level to thrill the crowd for over three and a half hours. At 2-5 down in the 4th set, and facing match point, it looked like it was all over for Federer, but remarkably he won 5 games in a row to take the 4th set 7-5 and take it into a 5th and deciding set.



Djokovic has described his victory in yesterday's Wimbledon final as the most special of his career.

Djokovic has described his victory in yesterday’s Wimbledon final as the most special of his career.



Federer won the first set in a tie-break, but then was broken early in the 2nd set, which Djokovic went on to take 6-4. Djokovic also took the 3rd set, this time in a tie-breaker, and when he stood at 5-2 up in the 4th set it looked like it was all over for Federer. But, digging deep and coming up with some amazing shots, Federer levelled the match at two sets all, and it looked like the dream of his winning his 8th Wimbledon was back on.

Importantly, after losing 5 games in a row, Djokovic won the opening game of the final set, which eventually went to 4-4 before Djokovic broke Federer’s serve for the 2nd time in the set, and then served out the match to take the final set 6-4. For a match which lasted for over three and a half hours, it was remarkable how high the level of tennis was for nearly the entire match. Although I was hoping Federer would win, no-one can deny that Djokovic played superbly well and it was a match he won rather than Federer losing it.

A number of commentators have said that, at soon to be 33, there is no reason that Federer cannot carry on for several more years. He has stayed remarkably injury-free for nearly his entire career, testimony to how balanced a player he is. For a player who has achieved everything in tennis very few things can still motivate him, but it is no secret that winning 8 Wimbledons is one thing he still wishes to achieve, so I fully expect Federer to be back in 2015 trying to win that elusive 8th title.

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Not for the first time, today Roger Federer stands on the verge of creating tennis history. This afternoon he will take on Novak Djokovic in the men’s final at Wimbledon, and should he win he will have won “The Championships” (as Wimbledon calls itself) more times than any other man in history. Currently, he holds 7 Wimbledon titles, and so jointly holds the record with Pete Sampras. And, in some ways, with William Renshaw from the 1800s, although I am not sure Renshaw can really be counted for reasons I will now explain.

Until 1922, the defending Wimbledon champion did not have to go through any qualifying rounds, he (or she) would merely play in the final against whoever had gone through a knockout competition to challenge him (or her). So, of Renshaw’s 7 titles, which he won in 1881-1886 and 1889, he only had to go through the “challenge rounds” in 1881 and 1889, his other 5 titles involved winning merely one match, the final. So, with all respect to Renshaw, I don’t think it is fair to compare his 7 titles to the 7 won by Sampras and Federer.

Sampras won his 7 Wimbledon titles from 1993-1995 and 1997-2000. For the best part of a decade, Sampras dominated Wimbledon. The only Wimbledon he failed to win between 1993 and 2000 was in 1996, when Dutchman Richard Krajicek won, beating Sampras in the Quarter Finals on his way to the title. Sampras also broke the record for the most number of major titles won (all four majors), eventually winning 14 before he retired.



Pete Sampras winning his first of 7 Wimbledon titles in 1993

Pete Sampras winning his first of 7 Wimbledon titles in 1993





Pete Sampras winning the last of his 7 Wimbledon titles in 2000

Pete Sampras winning the last of his 7 Wimbledon titles in 2000



Federer won the first of his 7 Wimbledon titles in 2003, by which time the era of “serve-volleyers” had come to and end. The 2001 title was won by Croatian Goran Ivanišvić who was a serve volleyer, but the 2002 title was won by Australian Leyton Hewitt, who rallied from the baseline. Federer won Wimbledon in 2003-2007, 2009 and 2012. He was also runner-up in 2008, when he lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal.



Roger Federer winning the first of his 7 Wimbledon titles in 2003

Roger Federer winning the first of his 7 Wimbledon titles in 2003





Roger Federer winning his 7th Wimbledon title in 2012

Roger Federer winning his 7th Wimbledon title in 2012



Federer has won a total of 17 major titles, so currently holds that record, but Nadal has now equalled Sampras’ total of 14 titles. And, should be win today, Federer will also become the oldest Wimbledon men’s champion in the open era, as he will soon turn 33.

There is also an interesting auxiliary rivalry to today’s match, as Djokovic now has Boris Becker helping him, and Federer has recently started employing Stefan Edberg to help him. As Becker and Edberg met each other in 3 successive Wimbledon finals (1988-1990), I am sure there is still a healthy rivalry between them, even though they are also good friends.

I for one will be shouting for Federer. I have said this before in previous tennis blogs, but for me Federer is the most skilful player since John McEnroe in the 1980s. His range of shots is, I believe, greater than anyone since McEnroe, and I also feel that Edberg has brought a new confidence to Federer coming to the net, which has never been a natural part of his game but could give him that extra element to win his 8th Wimbledon title in the twilight of his career.

My main fear for Federer is that his progress through Wimbledon this year has just been too easy. He’s only dropped one service game so far in the tournament, and hasn’t yet been challenged in the way that Djokovic will surely challenge him. But, he also knows what winning Wimbledon is all about, and must realise that his chances of winning that elusive 8th Wimbledon title are getting slimmer and slimmer with each passing year.

Fingers crossed that he manages to do it today!

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History was made at Wimbledon yesterday. On a day which saw court-side temperatures reach nearly 50C, Andy Murray from Scotland became the first British Men’s singles champion at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.


Andy Murray holding the Wimbledon Men's trophy, ending the 77-year wait since Fred Perry in 1936.

Andy Murray holding the Wimbledon Men’s trophy, ending the 77-year wait since Fred Perry in 1936.


It was a captivating match. The first game lasted over 10 minutes, with Murray having 3 break points. It was a portend for how closely fought the match would be. Although Murray won in 3 sets (6-4, 7-5, 6-4), nearly every point was keenly contested, and very few games were won easily by either player.

Murray needed every ounce of his strength and fitness to overcome his Serbian opponent. During each change of ends both players sat under parasols held by ball boys with ice cubes wrapped in towels around their necks to counter the heat. Long before the end of the first set, Murray’s shirt was drenched in sweat, but his years of dedicated conditioning had prepared him well for such energy-sapping conditions.

Not surprisingly, even after losing the first set 6-4, Djokovic was far from out of the match. The Serb went into a 4-1 lead in the 2nd set, but Murray fought his way back to take it 7-5. But still the World number 1 was not beaten. He went into a 4-2 lead in the 3rd set, but again Murray was able to haul him back. Murray broke Djokovic to serve for the match at 5-4, and after failing to convert 3 Championship points Murray finally sealed the historic victory when Djokovic’s shot went into the net.

My parents, 79 and 78 years old, do not even remember the last time a man from Britain won Wimbledon. That is now long ago it was that Fred Perry won! One of the most tantalising questions now is how many Major titles can Murray go on to win? How many times can he win Wimbledon? Many tennis greats believe he could win half a dozen or more. We shall have to wait and see.


All the newspapers in the DUK have Andy Murray on the cover.

All the newspapers in the DUK have Andy Murray on the cover.


The cover of the Daily Mirror.

The cover of the Daily Mirror.


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Today sees the semi-finals of the men’s singles at Wimbledon. Or, to be more correct, the gentlemen’s singles. The line up is Roger Federer (seeded 3) v Novak Djokovic (seeded 1) in the first match of the day, then Andy Murray (seeded 4) v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (seeded 5) in the second semi-final.

I am a huge fan of Roger Federer. Ever since he won his first major tournament, Wimbledon, in 2003, I have found him to be the most complete player if his generation. Recently he has lost his dominance, initially to Rafa Nadal, and now also to Novak Djokovic, but I still find him to be a more skilful player than these two. He is, of course, the all time record holder of the most number of Major titles won by a man – 16. This includes 6 Wimbledon titles, just one short of the record of 7 held by Pete Sampras.

Roger Federer, 6 times Wimbledon champion, and the no. 3 seed this year.

Novak Djokovic, the defending Wimbledon champion,and no. 1 seed.

Of course, here in the Disunited Kingdom, the media are in a frenzy over Andy Muarray’s chances of finally winning a Major title. Certainly his path to the final has been eased by the defeat of Nadal last week in the 3rd round. But Tsonga will not be an easy opponent, his game suits grass very well.

The Scot Andy Murray, no. 4 seed. Murray has got to 3 Major finals, but has never won one.

Tsonga, who has never reached a Major final, is seeded no. 5

Should Andy Murray get to Sunday’s final, he will be the first British male player to do so since Bunny Austin in 1938! Yes, this is how long Britain has been starved of a World-class male tennis player. And, you have to go back to 1936 for the last time a British man won Wimbledon, Fred Perry won the last of his three titles in that year.

Since the introduction of the roof over Centre Court, completing the semi-finals today is guaranteed. So, by this evening we will know whether Roger Federer is still on course to get his 7th Wimbledon title, and whether Andy Murray can emulate Bunny Austin in reaching a Wimbledon final.

Update

Both Federer and Murray won by 3 sets to 1, so will meet in Sunday’s final.

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