Tag Archives: Novak Djokovic

Floodgates Busted Wide Open For Janko Tipsarevic

23 Oct

Janko Tipsrevic Lifts Kremlin Cup as Victor Troicki watchesAfter 10 seasons on tour including 4 finals appearances, Janko Tipsarevic had not won an ATP title until a few weeks ago when he posted a solid 64 75 victory over Marcos Baghdatis in Kuala Lumpur. The wait for his 2nd ATP title would be far shorter with his win today over countryman and defending champion Viktor Troicki. In fact, Janko made it look easy with a routine 64 62 win to wrest the Kremlin Cup away from Viktor.

This was the first All-Serbian final ever and who would have thought that this piece of history would not involve Novak Djokovic. While Novak has been front and center for all tennis news involving Serbia (and the world), Janko and Viktor have both firmly entrenched themselves in the Top 20. They are also knocking on the door of the Top 10 as Tipsarevic will move up to #13 in the rankings tomorrow. He does crack the Top 10 in the Champions Race with a chance Janko Winsof making the Barclays World Tour Finals in London although he still trails the Top 8 by more than 500 points.

Considering he has never finished the season higher than #38, a Top 10 finish or anywhere near it will be a major accomplishment for Janko. His past 12 months have included many firsts starting last year with his nation’s first Davis Cup, his first Master Series semi at the Rogers Cup to crack the Top 20 for the first time, his first Slam quarter at the US Open, and that elusive first title in Kuala Lumpur. With so many firsts in 2011, one could say winning his second title in Moscow was his first great ‘second’ of 2011. It was also his first underwear endorsement deal with Extreme Intimo, and perhaps that was just the good luck charm he needed as the photos were released only days before he lifted that first trophy in Kuala Lumpur.

Janko-Tipsarevic-underwear-210x300janko_tipsarevic_extreme_intimo_13-202x300

Tipsarevic and Troicki may have made history with the first All-Serbian final played today, King Novak still found a way to steal the show as his epic mini-tennis battle against Dusan Vemic on YouTube proved to be the more entertaining All-Serb battle today.

.

While this was uploaded today, those shenanigans actually took place the day before Nole’s first US Open title. I guess that turned out to be a good way to stay loose before a Grand Slam final.

dominika cibulkova first titleIn other Kremlin Cup news today, Dominika Cibulkova scored her first title with a 36 76(1) 75 victory over Kaia Kanepi. While the 22 year-old Slovak has been ranked as high as #12 in the world with a Grand Slam semi under her belt, that first title had eluded her until today. Last week she reached her third career final in a loss to Petra Kvitova in Linz, but the fourth time proved to be lucky today for Dominika especially considering the gift Kaia gave her late in the second set. With Cibulkova serving break point down at 5-All, Kanepi missed an open-court overhead that sailed about a centimeter long. While the two both looked tight at the end of the third with 5 consecutive breaks of serve, Cibulkova finally held her serve (and her nerve) to close it out.

dominika cibulkova in moscow red squareLet’s see if this victory busts open the floodgates for the little 5-foot-3 dynamo from Bratislava like it has for Janko. Only a handful of players can end their season with a victory, and Dominika sure finished hers off in style just like she did when she visited the Red Square earlier this week.

Enjoy the off-season, Dominika!

Is Novak Djokovic Getting Training Tips from Lady Gaga?

28 Aug

Novak Djokovic recently revealed that he has been entering a futuristic egg-like chamber reminiscent of the one from Lady Gaga’s famous hatching from The Grammy Awards. Unlike Gaga’s, Nole’s egg is not just a prop and is supposed to simulate high altitude conditions to saturate the blood with oxygen and promote healing. It’s called a CVAC pod and while not banned currently by the ATP, you have to imagine there will be discussions of such now that Novak has revealed his use publicly. Other athletes have used devices like this before, but the drastic improvement in Novak’s results this year may make others cvac podquestion whether or not this training method is in the spirit of fair competition.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “(CVAC) claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod three times a week can boost athletic performance by improving circulation, boosting oxygen-rich red-blood cells, removing lactic acid and possibly even stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and stem-cell production.”

Djokovic also changed his diet to become gluten-free, and many have attributed his improvement in performance to this diet change. While many others have since gone gluten-free, you may want to invest in CVAC in case this starts a new trend – and a much more expensive trend than a loaf of gluten-free bread. Novak explained, “I think it really helps, not with muscle but more with recovery after an exhausting set. It’s like a spaceship. It’s very interesting technology.”

While the use of this CVAC pod cannot be the only reason for Novak’s unprecedented 57-2 record this year and new-found dominance over Rafael Nadal in particular, but it certainly makes me curious how much of a factor this contraption has really been. We certainly have not seen Nole gasping for air during matches like he had been in previous seasons.

In other Nole news, let’s take a look at what else he revealed about himself when he dressed up as one of today’s biggest female icons…and no, we are not talking about Lady Gaga again.

Mardy Fish Overdue for Masters Series Win

14 Aug

Today will be 29 year-old veteran Mardy Fish’s 4th chance at his first Masters 1000. For a player who just recently cracked the Top 10 and only has 6 titles overall at much smaller events, Mardy has had more than his share of looks at the elusive Masters Series Shield. If you want an honest assessment, you can always ask Mardy himself…

Mardy will be the huge underdog against Novak Djokovic today, but they do say every dog has its day.  Not only is Djokovic having one of the most dominating seasons ever with a 52-1 record, but he also owns a 6-0 record against Fish with the most recent being a 6-3 6-1 destruction this year in the semis of Miami. As they have both pointed out though, the faster and lower-bouncing courts of Montreal are much more favorable than the courts of Miami that allowed Nole to dictate with his aggressive baseline game.

No one said it would be easy getting that first big title as he has been the huge underdog in all of his 3 previous Masters Series finals. In 2003, the older but less experienced Fish lost 4-6 7-6(4) 7-6(3) to World #4 Andy Roddick in Cincinnati. In 2008, Fish was once again the surprise finalist against World #3 Novak Djokovic in a 6-2 5-7 6-3 losing effort in Indian Wells.  In 2010, Mardy failed to take out World #2 Roger Federer in another close final of 6-7(5) 7-6(1) 6-4 in Cincinnati. Maybe Mardy was just counting down to face a World #1 for his big breakthrough win.

Or am I just Fishing for that happy ending?

Unofficial & Unauthorized ATP Champions Race of 2011

8 Aug

Is anybody else getting just a tad curious about which players will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London at the O2 Arena in November? Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have already qualified. Roger Federer and Andy Murray will surely follow soon to keep the Big 4 of the past few years in tact. While Soderling has been Top 5 for quite some time, his place in London is less secure than David Ferrer as you will see in the unofficial rankings below. It really is just a matter of time before the Spanish bulldog makes the quietest return to the Top 5 ever.

Let’s assume everybody listed above qualifies for the Tour Finals as they have in multiple years prior, but who will grab those last two spots? You may be surprised to see where things are shaking out at this moment since if there were an official Champions Race, it would vary greatly from the 52-Week Entry List rankings. Let’s sneak a peek at the Race as of 8/8/11 straight from my unofficial Excel spreadsheet:

Race Entry Player Name YTD Pts 2011 W-L
1 1 Novak Djokovic 9765 48-1
2 2 Rafael Nadal 7640 51-8
3 3 Roger Federer 4180 39-9
4 4 Andy Murray 3720 29-9
5 6 David Ferrer 3250 39-11
6 5 Robin Soderling 2135 38-9
7 10 Nicolas Almagro 1750 41-15
8 19 Juan Martin Del Potro 1665 36-10
9T 9 Tomas Berdych 1630 34-15
9T 16 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1630 28-14
11 8 Mardy Fish 1560 29-15
12 11 Gilles Simon 1510 30-17
13 13 Richard Gasquet 1400 27-13
14 15 Victor Troicki 1370 32-16
15T 7 Gael Monfils 1340 25-10
15T 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov 1340 26-18

Similar to Messieur Monfils whose Race position of 15 is far lower than his 52-Week ranking of 7, both 12th ranked Andy Roddick and 14th ranked Mikhail Youzhny are lagging in the Race as they have so many ranking points from 2010 to defend. Conversely, Juan Martin and Jo Willy have a much better chance to qualify than their 52-week rankings indicate.

Who do you think will grab those last two spots. Will both Del Potro and Simon return to the Tour Finals just like they climbed up the rankings to the Top 8 back in 2008? Can Nicolas Almagro or Mardy Fish qualify for the first time? There is still plenty of tennis to be played in 2011, so it is quite possible someone outside this list will make the cut. Who are your dark horses?

Quick Hit: Does anybody else find it ironic that former Top 50 singles player Daniele Bracciali who is probably best known for being suspended by the ATP for gambling just won his second doubles title of the year in Kitzbuhel? Oh, did I forget to mention the tournament happens to be called the Bet At Home Open? Maybe Wayne Odesnik’s first title after his suspension will be at the HGH Classic.

2011 French Open Draw Announced

20 May

Forgive the old picture from Kooyong last year, but the biggest news to me this morning was that Novak Djokovic drew Juan Martin Del Potro in the 3rd Round of Roland Garros. Considering Del Potro has to play the always dangerous Ivo Karlovic in the 1st round, this juicy Delpo-Djoko clash is far from a sure thing but we sure are looking forward to this potential 1st week encounter.

Meanwhile, John Isner unseeded in a Slam for the first time in quite a while came up unlucky playing Rafael Nadal in his first match. Other opening matches include Federer v Lopez, Querrey v Kohlschreiber, Monaco v Verdasco, Gasquet v Stepanek, and Ferrer v Nieminen. The projected quarterfinal match-ups based on seedings are Nadal-Soderling, Murray-Melzer, Federer-Ferrer, and Djokovic-Berdych. Take a look at the draw and let us know what upsets you think are brewing.

Let’s talk about the women’s draw next time, but for now here are pics of the ATP players that have already arrived to practice on the terre batue.

Novak Djokovic is Everywhere

25 Mar

Novak Djokovic is in the midst of a 20-game winning streak, but some of his finest work in recent days have been with his losing efforts. After beating Rafa in the Indian Wells final, the two friendly rivals hopped on a plane to Bogota to put on a fun show for the Colombian fans who got the chance to witness a 76 63 Nadal victory. The crowd really enjoyed their playful antics including the dance performances that we showed you earlier in the week.

On Wednesday night, Novak helped organize a charity soccer match between the ATP stars and NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers to raise funds and awareness of the relief efforts in Japan. The exhibition soccer match ended in a 5-2 Striker victory with Novak blaming their loss on bad defense. The goals for the tennis stars were scored by Marcos Baghdatis and Andy Murray. The large crowd helped raise money for the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan, and there are plans for future soccer exhibitions with the ATP players. If interested in donating to the Red Cross, you can go to the Facebook page of Kei Nishikori who happened to beat Jeremy Chardy in his 1st round match in Miami. You can also see highlights from the exhibition including game analysis by Captain Djokovic toward the end of the following video:

Where else is Novak Djokovic? Playing tennis on the wings of a plane! We gave you a sneak peek of the new Head commercial showing Nole having a hit in midair. Here is the final cut which premiered this week:

From all reports I hear, that was 100% real with no trick photography. See what Nole had to say right after getting his feet back on firm soil:

Novak has been a busy man, and he is looking to continue his undefeated season in an attempt to win his second Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. And as rumored, Novak will be playing doubles with another rival and buddy Andy Murray. The hottest player on tour will take on Denis Istomin in singles tonight, while he and Andy will take on Stakhovsky and Youzhny in their first doubles match tomorrow.

It’s good to see Novak Djokovic everywhere you look these days. Well, as long as Papa Djokovic stops wearing those hideous shirts.

Updates from Miami Beach

22 Mar

The tournament organizers had a change of heart and awarded a last-minute wild card to Ivo Karlovic for his success at Indian Wells and perhaps thanks to the #wildcardforivo Twitter campaign. From what I can gather, they decided to grant Ivo the wild card instead of replacing recently injured Tommy Robredo with a Lucky Loser. Karlovic also got himself placed in a nice little section of the draw with Albert Montanes, Nicolas Almagro, and Tomas Berdych as the seeds in his way of setting up a quarterfinal rematch with Rafael Nadal. Just like Ivo said this morning on Twitter, this was even more than he could have asked for since he originally requested a free pass to the quallies.

TCW still has no confirmation that Djokovic and Murray will be playing doubles together in Miami, but they are projected to face off in the quarterfinals according to the singles draw released today. Andy Murray has been training for more than a week in Miami due to his early exit in Indian Wells, but Nole still undefeated this season jetted off with Rafa after their final on Sunday in order to play an exhibition in Colombia. These two seem to have formed a mutual admiration society as Novak called Rafael the Greatest of All Time during Sunday’s trophy presentation. Rafa returned the compliment by saying Nole had the best chance of finishing the year at number one. In honor of the premiere of Dancing with the Stars tonight, here is video of  Rafa and Nole doing some salsa dancing after their exo.

You may remember from Melbourne that Nole has been known to dance up a storm on the tennis courts. And it sure seems like the Djokester plays better when he is having fun, and he sure seems to be having fun in 2011. Hard to argue with a 20 game winning streak, but I wonder if Nole will need to slow down to avoid petering out halfway through the season. Dance on Nole, dance on!

For those of you watching DWTS, I have to give the early nod to Ralph Macchio, who really does still look like The Karate Kid. A 49 year-old kid. By the way, did you notice which of his co-stars was wildly cheering on Rafa at Indian Wells?