Tag Archives: Novak

Young fan has amazing reaction after getting racket from Novak Djokovic

Djokovic explained the boy had been shouting encouragement even when he faced a two-set deficit during Sunday’s French Open final.

Editor’s note: The attached video is from April 2020 about how Novak Djokovic kept up tennis skills around the house during pandemic lockdowns. 

Moments after winning the French Open final, Novak Djokovic gave his racket to a young boy who had been giving him very vocal support and advice throughout Sunday’s match.

Moments after Djokovic rallied to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets, he gave his racket to the youngster in the stands, who jumped up and down in excitement and seemed genuinely shocked by the gesture. 

Djokovic later explained in a press conference that the boy had been shouting encouragement even when he faced a two-set deficit, and even had coaching tips.

“I don’t know the boy, but he was in my ear the entire match, basically, especially when I was two sets to love down, he was encouraging me,” Djokovic described. 

“I found that very cute and very nice,” Djokovic said. “To give the racket to the best person was him. That was my gratitude for him sticking with me.”

Djokovic became one of three men — alongside Rod Laver and Roy Emerson — to have won each major twice. As the reigning champion at the Australian Open and French Open, he heads to Wimbledon, which starts June 28, eyeing another rare achievement: He is halfway to joining Laver and Don Budge as the only men with a calendar-year Grand Slam.

The 34-year-old Djokovic eliminated 13-time French Open champion Nadal — a challenge the Serb likened to scaling Mt. Everest — in a semifinal that lasted more than four hours Friday night.

That was only Nadal’s third loss in 108 matches at the clay-court major tournament.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Novak Djokovic closes in on Federer and Nadal record with French Open title win

Novak Djokovic fought back to win a dramatic 19th Grand Slam title as Stefanos Tsitsipas suffered a Greek tragedy in the French Open final. And the world No 1 can now equal the male Major record held by Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon in their GOAT race.

Tsitsipas had seemed destined to become the first Greek to ever win a Grand Slam as he won the first two sets in his maiden final. Djokovic, who knocked out 13-time champion Nadal in the semi-final, struggled with the heat, his contact lenses and the relentless groundstrokes of the 22-year-old.

But it was the younger man’s challenge which melted in the Parisian sun as the super Serb, 34, wore him down to win the generation game and his 29th Grand Slam final and the generation game 6-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 in four hours and 11 minutes.

He becomes the first man in the Open era to win each Major twice after outlasting and out-classing the world No 5.

And in the seventeen Majors since Stan Wawrinka won the 2016 US Open, Dominic Thiem is the only winner from outside the Big Three after Djokovic got disqualified in New York last year.

The Australian Open champion has won seven out of 11 Majors – a run of dominance similar to Tiger Woods at the turn of the century.

And he will be favourite to retain the title he won at Wimbledon in 2019 when the grass-court Grand Slam starts on June 28.

Djokovic fell to the red clay chasing a drop shot in the seventh game of the match and needed to save a set point at 4-5 before the tiebreak. He battled back from 0-4 down and Tsitsipas saved a set point with a spectacular forehand winner in the corner before taking the opening set in 72 minutes.

The second was littered with Djokovic errors – he won only five points on the Tsitsipas serve and was broken twice.

But a Djokovic toilet break then changed the match – and he fought back from two sets down to win for the sixth time in his career.

After the match Djokovic said: “It was once again an electric atmosphere. To play nine hours of tennis in less than 48 hours against two great champions was not easy.

“Physically it was very, very difficult for me in two, three days. It is a dream once more.”

Djokovic said: “It is really a dream to be here. To have a big battle for one of the biggest trophies in our sport.

“Four Slams are the biggest tournament and they give me a lot of inspiration and a lot of motivation every day to go to the court and to training and give 100%.

“I am not young like Stefanos. I have to look for new motivations every day.

“Unforgettable matches, unforgettable moments for me and my career. I will definitely remember these last 48 hours for the rest of my life.

“I am very happy. I am not going to stop here. I am going to carry on this year and also at Roland Garros at least one or two times.”

Tsitsipas said: “It was a big fight out there.Novak has shown us over the last couple of years what a great champion he is

“I would say I am inspired by the things he has achieved so far and I hope one day I can maybe do half of what he has done so far.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Rafael Nadal casts doubt over Wimbledon appearance after Novak Djokovic defeat

Asked if his appearance at Wimbledon was now in danger, the champion in 2008 and 2010 said: “I don’t know what I’ll do in my future.

“After two intense months in a positive gravel season without having achieved the final goal, I have managed to achieve two titles.

“The body after so much struggle usually suffers a slump. Wimbledon this year is in two weeks. It’s different from when I was 25 years old. I am 35 and you have to see how I recover in every way.

“I need to digest it all, be calm, take a few days off and go home. We have been locked up in Paris for two and a half weeks and I need to breathe a little, enjoy the good weather in Mallorca and what is going to happen is of little importance ”.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: First set in French Open semi-final

Djokovic Nadal

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

  • Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are expected on court from 4:30pm.
  • Nadal hoping to reach his 14th French Open final, he’s won each of them
  • Djokovic would reach his fifth final at Roland Garros if he wins
  • Nadal defeated Djokovic in last year’s final to win his 13th title
  • The Spaniard has won their last five meetings on clay
  • Nadal takes the first set 6-3, having stormed into a 5-0 lead before a Djokovic resurgence.
  • Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal live score: 3-6, 3-2

(*denotes to serve)

Djokovic 3-6, 3-2 Nadal*

We’re back following serve at Roland Garros. Don’t even bother with the football tonight – this is the place to be.

*Djokovic 3-6, 2-2 Nadal

All square in the second set. Much more even than at this point in the first. This is easily still there for the taking for Djokovic.

Djokovic 3-6, 2-1 Nadal*

And now Nadal breaks! A chance for him to serve to level the set next.

*Djokovic 3-6, 2-0 Nadal

Wow! Djokovic breaks Nadal early in the second set. This has been enthralling so far.

Djokovic 3-6, 1-0 Nadal*

Better start to the second set for Djokovic. He needs to take some confidence from those three successful games in a row in the previous set.

Nadal wins the first set

Djokovic 3-6 Nadal

It was beginning to look pretty nervy for the 13-times champion, losing three games in a row. He lost five set points during the set but he finally sees it through despite Djokovic’s resurgence.

A step closer to a 14th French Open final?

Djokovic 3-5 Nadal*

Djokovic wins a third consecutive game.

Novak

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

Djokovic 2-5 Nadal

Well, well, well… we have a match everyone.

Djokovic breaks following a match that swung in several directions. The Serb initially had a break point, before Nadal won foyr consecutive points to earn a set point.

But it was Djokovic who saw it through. He now serves to make this set look a little more respectable.

Djokovic 1-5 Nadal*

Djokovic has some light relief, finally. It’s Nadal to serve for the first set here at Roland Garros.

Mark Petchey, on commentary with ITV4 is confused by Djokovic’s approach.

“I’m baffled by the amount of drop shots he’s attempted in this first set,” the former British No 1 says. “But on the other side of the coin, it’s just a treasure trove of incredible shots [from Nadal].”

*Djokovic 0-5 Nadal

Djokovic is still not on the board. Nadal has been absolutely rampant.

Djokovic 0-4 Nadal*

Nadal breaks again and this is getting closer to a repeat of last year’s final. The Spaniard had won nine points in a row until Djokovic made it 15-30 in that game.

*Djokovic 0-3 Nadal

This is a repeat of last year’s final, which Nadal won to lift his 13th French Open title. He bagelled in the first set then…

Nadal breaks

Djokovic 0-2 Nadal*

It’s an early break for the Spaniard. Some of the rallies have already been incredible.

*Djokovic 0-1 Nadal

The Serb had advantage at deuce and an early opportunity to break. Nadal then brought it back but double faulted, though ends up taking the game. Already some excellent tennis on display.

6:10pm: Nadal to serve first…

Nearly ready to go

Djokovic and Nadal are walking out at Philippe-Chatrier. Follow all the updates here at Express Sport. 

Tsitsipas: ‘Most important win of my career’

He’s in tears, bless him.

“My dream was to play here, my dream was to play in the biggest matches,” Tsitsipas says.

“It was so tense. I came back, stayed alive and had the crowd with me. They were cheering me.

“[After being dragged back to 2-2] I still saw an opportunity to fight back. I went through a lot of phases of emotional breakdowns.

“This win is the most important of my career so far.”

He is the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final.

“I’m very happy that Greece is more a part of the tennis community,” he continues.

“Me and Maria [Sakkari] have been doing a great job.

“We need to keep Greece’s hopes alive.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3

Nadal

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

Zverev fought back so well from two sets down but appeared to run out of steam towards the end.

After an enthralling semi-final, the 22-year-old Tsitsipas – through to his first Grand Slam final – will play Djokovic or Nadal in the French Open final.

We’ll have Novak vs Rafa next…

5:35pm: Zverev serves to keep himself in the match. It’s 5-3 and Tsitsipas is now serving to win…

5:25pm: Tsitsipas leads 5-2 in the fifth. It’s Zverev to serve to stay in the match.

5:12pm: Tsitsipas breaks Zverev in the deciding set. It’s 3-1 to the Greek…

4:52pm: Zverev takes set four in the other semi-final. He’s now 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 against Tsitsipas. It’s going the distance between the pair to decide who will face either Djokovic or Nadal. Let’s hope the excitement continues!

4:25pm: In the other semi-final, Zverev has just taken a 3-1 lead against Tsitsipas in the fourth set. This could be heading for a decider…

Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s LIVE coverage of the French Open semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal is hoping to reach his 14th final at Roland Garros but will need to be the in-form world No 1 Djokovic. The Spaniard has a good recent record against his opponent, winning their last five matches on clay.

Both players are expected on Philippe-Chatrier from 4:30pm but must wait for the other semi-final between Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas to finish.

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

Tsitsipas was leading two sets to love but Zverev has just taken the third set. The German raged at the umpire towards the end of that set, seemingly over the way a shot had been played.

We’ll have coverage of Djokovic vs Nadal shortly.

Ahead of the semi-final, Djokovic has talked about the unique element of his matches against Nadal. He said: “It’s not like any other match. Let’s face it, it’s the biggest challenge that you can have – playing on clay against Nadal, on this court on which he has had so much success in his career, in the final stages of a Grand Slam. It doesn’t get bigger than that.

“Of course, each time we face each other, there’s that extra tension and expectations. [The] vibes are different walking on the court with him. But that’s why our rivalry has been historic, I think, for this sport. I’ve been privileged to play him so many times.

“[My] rivalries with him and Roger [Federer] have made me a stronger player, allowed me to understand how I need to improve my game to get to the level where they were when I started playing professional tennis. I’ll probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career.”

Meanwhile, Nadal has suggested that he has to raise his game against Djokovic, despite being one of the best-ever players on clay.

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE: Score updates from French Open semi-final (Image: GETTY)

The 35-year-old added: “The best thing is you know that you need to play your best tennis.

“It’s a match that you know what you have to do if you really want to have chances to success and to keep going on the tournament. Always a big challenge.

“That’s something that is good because in some way we are practising, we are living the sport for these moments. So that’s a good thing.

“The negative thing [about playing Djokovic is] it’s difficult because you play against one of the best players of the history. That’s how it is.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express

Rafael Nadal explains 'negative thing' about facing Novak Djokovic in French Open semi

“You know it’s a match, you know what you have to do to have chances to succeed and to keep going in the tournament. It’s a big challenge.

“That’s good because we’re living the sport for these moments. That’s a good thing.

“The negative thing is, it’s difficult because you’re playing against one of the best players in history. But that’s how it is.”

Nadal could become the most successful men’s tennis player in history with a 2021 victory at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard is currently tied with Roger Federer on 20 career Grand Slam titles, with Novak Djokovic third with 18.

Alexander Zverev will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the other men’s semi-final.

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Novak Djokovic fans boo as they are kicked out of French Open clash with Matteo Berrettini

Novak Djokovic’s fans were ejected from the French Open and told to ‘respect the players’ with the Serb winning two sets to one against Matteo Berrettini at Roland Garros.

The 5,000 fans dispersed out of the Philippe-Chatrier venue early in the fourth set due to the curfew in Paris, which is 11pm local time.

One fan even had to be given a lengthy talking to by stewards after refusing to move.

Djokovic was two sets up against Berrettini after cruising through the opening stages of the match. Fans inside centre court were told that they would need to leave upon the end of the third set, but it was Berrettini who was victorious to take Djokovic to a fourth set.

A thrilling tiebreaker was won by the world no. 9 after he appeared to be heading towards a straight-sets defeat.

Fans were so entertained that they initially refused to leave. Some boos could be heard from those in attendance.

A few attendees had already dispersed ahead of the official outpouring.

A tannoy announcement at Roland Garros was made close to 11pm local time saying that fans should begin to leave.

It was met by whistles and jeers, with some refusing to depart.

Umpire James Keothavong urged fans: “Respect the players, thank you.”

The 19-year-old sensation Lorenzo Musetti went two sets up against Djokovic before injury took over.

 Musetti limped through the remaining three sets as the 34-year-old breezed past him.

Djokovic won the final three sets dropping just a single game before the Italian retired when 4-0 down in the final set.

But the veteran still had high praise for Musetti, who he has tipped to have a bright future.

“The experience is the best teacher. I wish Musetti all the best,” Djokovic said. 

“We know each other quite well, he’s a nice guy.

“If he keeps going on this way, he will become a top player some day, he has everything.”

Djokovic could face rival Rafael Nadal in the semi-final if he defeats Berrettini.

It would be a repeat of last year’s final, which Nadal won 6-0 6-2 7-5. 

The Spaniard is hoping to win a fifth consecutive French title and a 14th in total. 

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Novak Djokovic delivers verdict after booking Rafael Nadal French Open semi-final showdown

It is a repeat of last year’s final which Nadal won 6-0 6-2 7-5 to win a fourth consecutive French Open title.

Nadal is aiming to win a 14th French Open. He lifted his first 16 years ago.

Djokovic has won just once at Roland Garros, defeating Andy Murray in the 2016 final.

He also has just a solitary French Open victory against Nadal in eight attempts, striking a blow to his chances ahead of a potential semi-final.

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Novak Djokovic has message for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after new French Open record

The Serbian moved into round four, where he faces Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti, courtesy of a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier that took just one hour and 32 minutes.

After three matches, Djokovic has still to drop a set at Roland Garros as he bids to win the event for just the second time after 2016 to clinch a 19th Grand Slam.

Djokovic did not face a single break point against Berankis and converted six of the nine he earned for himself against the 93rd-ranked Lithuanian.

With his triumph, he becomes the first player ever in the Open Era to reach the round of 16 at the French Open for 12 consecutive years.

Big Three rivals Federer and Nadal managed 11 straight last-16 appearances between 2005 and 2015 but Djokovic has surpassed the duo.

And the world No 1 will be the huge favourite against Musetti too, although the Monte Carlo-born 19-year-old beat Diego Schwartzman in Acapulco earlier this year.

Victory there could set up a quarter-final showdown against Federer and beating the Swiss would likely then set up a rematch of last year’s final against Nadal in the semis on the red dirt.

But Djokovic, the Australian Open winner, insists he feels in brilliant shape physically and in terms of his form on the court.

“I’m always my biggest critic and you can always do certain things better, but it couldn’t be much better than this,” Djokovic told Eurosport.

“Especially the first and third sets. I served well, moved well and made him play.”

The 18-time Grand Slam winner was back at home in Serbia to clinch the 83rd title of his career in Belgrade last week having lost to Nadal in the Italian Open final before that.

And Djokovic believes he has taken plenty from his Belgrade triumph that stands him in good stead in the French capital.

“I had a fantastic tournament in Belgrade and played at the level I desired in Rome,” he added.

“Coming into Paris I felt I didn’t spend too much energy, I actually felt I gained a lot of energy from Belgrade. So far it has proved to be a good call.”

Nadal, who turned 35 earlier in the week, meanwhile came through the test of in-form Briton Cameron Norrie in the third round, winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

The 13-time Roland Garros champion, known as the ‘King of Clay’, was given a tough test but has still yet to drop a set at his favourite tournament since the 2019 final against Dominic Thiem.

And Eurosport expert Chris Evert, the 18-time Grand Slam winner, said: “Rafa is showing a more all-court game in the last few years.

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“Even though he is the greatest ever on clay, he still wants to improve and he is still learning a lot of shots.

“His touch is much better, he is serving much bigger. But the stat I like about Rafa – not many people know this – in the first three shots in a point, he makes those three shots over 90 per cent of the time.

“That’s what I think you have to tell the juniors these days: the first three shots are vital and look at Rafa can do and that is one of the reasons he is just so consistent.”

Nadal’s victory was his 103rd at the French Open, setting a new record for the most men’s singles victories at a single Slam previously held by Federer with 102 in Australia and at Wimbledon.

Djokovic and Nadal have won 17 of the last 20 Slams between them and look set for an enticing final-four showdown on current form.

Eighth seed Federer meanwhile, if he beats German Dominik Koepfer, is likely to take on world No 9 Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round.

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Novak Djokovic rages at heckler before defeating Pablo Cuevas in French Open second round

In a matchup that saw his opponent battle gamely with some superb shots and a remarkable ability to scramble around the court to keep rallies alive, Djokovic needed all of his patience to maintain his composure against a dogged rival at Roland Garros.

But Djokovic very nearly lost his cool when, two sets up and 2-1 up with a break in the third, the world number one paused before serving as a fan heckled him from the right side of his service court.

Djokovic turned and walked away from the baseline as the umpire, in French, issued a warning to the crowd to stay silent as the players were preparing to serve.

But the warning wasn’t enough for Djokovic, who made his feelings very clear to the umpire.

“Every single serve, it’s the game guy!” He complained as he pointed out the offending spectator in the stands at Court Suzanne Lenglen.

 “First serve, second serve. Every single serve!”

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Roger Federer caught in tense argument with French Open umpire

A heckler then disturbed Cuevas during his service game, and earned a stern look from Djokovic, who looked angry on behalf of his opponent, who went on to hold serve.

But, despite Cuevas’ stubborn resistance, Djokovic’s class proved too much as he served out the match to claim the straight-sets victory, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, and head into the third round of the tournament, where he will face the winner of the match between Australia’s James Duckworth and Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis.

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Rafael Nadal sets Novak Djokovic first test after easing through French Open first round

Djokovic has time on his side as well as the youngesy of the ‘big three’ and he’s proven to be Nadal’s closest challenger at Roland Garros over the years.

And there were some question marks over Nadal’s match fitness heading into this year’s French Open, potentially opening the door for Djokovic to move within one of his rivals.

The Spaniard took a seven-week break after the Australian Open to recover from an injury issue, returning at the Monte-Carlo Masters but looked far from his best as he lost to Andrey Rublev.

Victory at the Barcelona Open a week later was then followed by another surprise defeat on clay to Alexander Zverev at the Madrid Open.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed