Novak Djokovic looks to continue his recent dominance over archrival Rafael Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters and boost his confidence as he bids to win his only missing major at the French Open.
Monte Carlo is the first of three Masters tournaments played on clay and is followed by Madrid and Rome in May, leading up to the French Open, which starts May 25.
Nole narrowly lost to Nadal in a dramatic semifinal last year at Roland Garros, where a clumsy error at the net late in the fifth set curtailed the Serbian player's comeback, and then Nadal beat him in their next two meetings.
"Winning this title last year in the final against Nadal was definitely one of the highlights of my career. I really love playing in this tournament," Djokovic said Sunday. "My family comes in big numbers during this week so it makes me feel very comfortable, and at home."
Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 to claim the Miami Sony Open 2014 title.
Nadal fell to 0-4 in finals at Key Biscayne while Djokovic is a regular winner here after winning his 4th title.
Djokovic erased the only break point he faced, committed just 15 unforced errors and won a scrambling, 30-shot rally on the final point. He completed a March sweep after beating Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells two weeks ago.
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win the Indian Wells 2014.
Federer rallied from a break down and a 5-3 deficit in the third set to force the tiebreaker Sunday, but he made a slew of mistakes to lose the 33rd meeting between the two rivals.
Federer still leads the series 17-16, having beaten Djokovic in three sets in the semifinals at Dubai two weeks ago. Djokovic will remain No. 2 in the world, while Federer will rise three spots to No. 5 on Monday in the ATP Tour rankings.
Nole earned $1 million while Federer collected $500,000.
Flavia Pennetta routed injured Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1 to win the women's title.
Djokovic upset by Wawrinka in Australian Open quarterfinals
Novak loss to Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Australian Open.
Djokovic held off Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 2-minute fourth-rounder that finished at 1:41 a.m. here last year.
This time, it was Wawrinka's turn.
"Last year I finished it was really tough but this year I came back it was a new year," he said. "I tried everything. He's an amazing champion. He never gives up. I'm really, really ... really happy."
This one took exactly four hours and featured some stunning rallies, with both players openly showing amazement at some of the shots coming back from the other side. And just to add to the drama, there was a five-minute rain delay with Wawrinka serving at 5-5 in the fifth.
Djokovic vs Del Potro in Shanghai Masters Final
Novak Djokovic defeated Jo-Wilfried 62 75 to reach another Shanghai Masters Final where he will face Juan Martin Del Potro, who upset Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4 .
"I've always been coming out in China and making some really, really good results, winning trophies," Djokovic said. "It's very positive because most of the people would think after the fourth Grand Slam of the year is over, that somehow the season is finished in the minds of maybe people who are not following consistently the tennis season."
Potro will try to win his first Masters title while Nole is the defending champ.
Del Potro hadn't beaten Nadal since the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Open but he is playing fully fit and confident — he's coming off a win last week at the Japan Open that returned him to the top five in the rankings.
He completely overpowered Nadal with his deep, punishing groundstrokes and fended off all six break points he faced.
Nadal was broken twice to start the match as del Potro raced out to 4-0. The Argentine started to make a few mistakes in the second set, giving Nadal two chances to break in the second game. But the Argentine saved both with huge serves and put the pressure right back on Nadal, breaking him for a third time in the following game.
Novak Djokovic has warned the in-form Rafael Nadal that he will not give up the number-one spot in the rankings without a fight. The pair headline the men's draw at the ATP China Open, with defending champion, Djokovic, desperate to finish 2013 at the top of the rankings.
Nadal, a perennial favourite in the Betfair odds, is just 260 ranking points behind the Serb and could replace him for the first time since July 2011 with a strong week in Beijing.
The Spaniard has been in incredible form since returning from a seven-month injury break, collecting 10 titles since his return to action - including a record eighth French Open crown - before going on to beat Djokovic in the final of the US Open earlier this month.
Novak Djokovic is engaged to longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic.... I must say that it was just about time hahaha they have been together forever... like Nadal and Xisca, wonder when they will tie the knot...
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the 2013 US Open title.
Just eight months after there was speculation as to whether he would ever play again because of his troublesome knees, he is even poised to reclaim the world No 1 ranking before the end of the season.
Rafa has now won four on hard courts, he played 22 matches on hard courts this year and won them all.
This was a record 37 meeting between Rafa and Nole as senior professionals and for periods of the match the quality of tennis they provided was arguably better than ever, although Djokovic was unable to sustain that level in the closing stages.
During this final, the two men were both wonderful athletes and they treated the crowd to a succession of stunning rallies, repeatedly retrieving shots which had looked certain to be winners.
Nadal has been at the peak of his powers throughout the north American hard-court campaign and again played with consistent brilliance. Nobody gets out of difficult situations more effectively than the world No 2, who can turn defence into attack with the flick of his wrist.
Novak Djokovic US Open Semifial Interview | 9/7/2013
Q. Third game of the fifth set obviously started turning into its own little thing. How did you come back from that after such a long game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, first of all, I think, as I said on the court, Wawrinka was a better player for most of the better part of the match because he was aggressive and played better tennis. Other hand, me, I just tried to hang on and fight and be mentally tough and believe all the way through I can actually win. And I sincerely believed that as the match progresses and longer it goes, I felt I have maybe that physical edge over him, and that I also, being in particularly these kind of matches and situations, playing on a big stage in semifinals, maybe that experience could, you know, give me a little bit more of confidence on the court mentally, also. Even though I was quite nervous at the start of the match and we played five sets I still felt that I was there, you know, and that I was fighting. Credit to him for playing really well. We had some great exchanges, you know, in swirly conditions. Definitely not easy to play because you had to always adjust to the where the wind goes and make a lot of footsteps. In the end of the day, I managed to stay tough and play well when I needed to. That's something that definitely encourages me before the final.
Q. Stan said he found you were extremely nervous today. He said maybe because of his game you couldn't find a game plan. Was it the maybe reason, especially at the start of the match?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, yes. I was nervous because I mean, first of all, it's normal to be nervous, excited, whatever you want to call it, you know. There is a lot of sensations that go through your mind, through your body, because it's semifinals of Grand Slam. Even though I have been in this particular situation for many times in my career, I still feel the big excitement before the match, and I knew that he was playing well. He had a tremendous performance against Murray. I knew that he's gonna come out with big backhands and be aggressive, so, you know, I tried to be close to the line. But I wasn't managing to find my rhythm. That's what frustrated me. I wasn't hitting the ball well. A lot of unforced errors. But it was one of those days, you know, where even if you don't feel well on the court you have to be tough and believe that you can win. And I have done so.
Q. The warning for coaching seemed to take you by surprise. Did the umpire explain the reason?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, in that particular moment I thought that maybe it wasn't fair to give me a warning at that particular moment because I wasn't communicating with my box. But there were a few times that, you know, I was looking to my box and, you know, my coach was trying to help out. So I have o complaints about the warning. I think it's fair, in general, you know, and I had to take it.
Novak Djokovic Wimbledon 2013 Final press conference | Transcript
Novak Djokovic talks to the media after losing the men's singles' final 4-6, 5-7, 4-6 to Andy Murray.
Q. It felt at times in that match that you couldn't get your game quite organized. Did you feel the same way? Did you also feel the semifinal took something out of you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was a very long match for three sets. The bottom line is that he was a better player in decisive moments. Both second and third sets, I was 4 2 up and dropped the serve in those games and just allowed him to come back for no reason.
I mean, he was getting some incredible shots on the stretch and running down the dropshots. He was all over the court. He played fantastic tennis, no question about it. He deserved to win.
Me, you know, I should have played better in the decisive moments, as I said. I haven't. I believe I could come back. I really fighted. It wasn't my day.
Didn't play on the top of my abilities, and with this kind of game I didn't have a chance to win.
Q. You hit quite a lot of dropshots in the match. What was the reasoning for that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He stands behind the baseline, and when he defends he goes far away. So I try to be aggressive and kind of use the whole court.
But the volleys and dropshots didn't serve me well. You know, he was getting all of them basically. So, yeah.
Q. The match statistics had 40 unforced errors against your name. That's very unusual for you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, well, I wasn't patient enough in the moments when I should have been.
Djokovic Wimbledon 2013 quarter-final Press conference | Video and transcrip
Novak Dkokovic's press conference after his 7‑6, 6‑4, 6‑3 victory against Tomas Berdych.
Q. When you come back from two breaks down against a player like Berdych, what kind of confidence does it give you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was a huge confidence boost obviously being two sets up. I could feel that, you know, he was frustrated in the third set.
That was my opportunity, so I capitalized when I needed to. You know, he missed some few easy shots, especially on the second set set point. I don't know how I managed to turn the second set around.
But generally it was a very close match, and that's what I expected. Tomas is a very powerful player. As you could see, we went toe‑to‑toe in the first set and one shot decided a first‑set winner.
That was important for me, you know, to get the set advantage. Even though I started poorly in the second, I still felt quite good on the court. Just really glad to go in three.
Q. Your first time at this stage of the tournament without dropping a set. Is that reflective of how you feel your form is and also your confidence level?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I think so. I've been serving very well, efficiently. I've been returning also quite good. You know, a lot of balls back in the court, which allows me to be confident on the baseline, which is my game.
I'm trying also to step in the court a little bit more. Today I wasn't able to too much because I had a very aggressive opponent who plays a lot of deep shots. I was maybe too defensive at the start.
But then, you know, afterwards, middle part of the match, I managed to step in and just tried to be a little bit more aggressive. That brought me a victory.
So, you know, coming into the semifinals I feel physically fresh. I have another two days to get ready for that match.
And I'm ready. Plenty of motivation to win every match that I play on here.
Q. Now you'll play Del Potro. Last time you played on grass was in the Olympics. How do you expect the match to go?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I lost to him for bronze medal here. Was close match also. DelPo is a great player. I have a great respect for him. He's a Grand Slam winner.
He struggled with injuries in last few years, but every time he comes back he comes back very strong because he just has this talent, you know, and qualities as a player.
He's very tall, so he uses that serve as a powerful weapon. And of course forehand, that is his signature shot.
You know, it's semifinals, so everything is open, on the table, and we both want to win.
Q. You spoke a few minutes ago about how you're feeling as you're progressing through the tournament. Can you compare the feeling you have now with other times in your career, or is this somehow different?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Every time is different really. Every year is different. Brings some new sensations.
But, of course I'm trying to use that experience that I had in past, especially in this tournament, in 2011, when I won the only title in Wimbledon.
As I said, using that necessary experience to feel comfortable and calm and confident towards the end of the major tournament.
Now I'm in the semifinals. Hopefully I can get a step further. You know, I'm really going to try to step out on the court in two days and give my best to be in another final of Wimbledon.
I believe I can make it. Now, of course I have a quality opponent. As I said, there is no really clear favorites now in the later stages of the event.
But inspiration is out there, you know. Of course you always want to do your best in the Grand Slams.
Q. You mentioned Del Potro's injuries. It seems that he's carrying on at the moment. Does that affect the way you go into the semifinal tactically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he's kind of a similar opponent from the one that I had today. You know, tall, powerful serve, quite flat shots from both sides on the baseline, and he can move around the court quite well for his size.
So tactically, of course I'm going to make few adjustments and see, analyze my opponent, as I always do.
Q. What did you think of Nemanja Vidic coming to see you rather than taking a seat in the Royal Box?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he came to see me play. I was very much delighted to see him in our box today and watching the match and supporting me. It's the first time he actually came to watch me. I've watched him before in the national team a few times. We met briefly.
I'm looking forward to seeing him actually now. He's a big star in our country. He plays for one of the best teams in the world. I was just very happy to see him there on the stands and supporting me.
Q. How do you assess your own situation now? Can you get much better?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I believe that you can always get better. It's kind of the mindset I always try to have, because that's, you know, something that keeps me going every single day on the practice courts, day in, day out, trying to give my best and trying to always, you know, inspire myself to play better tennis and to improve.
I know I have a quite complete game, but I still feel there are rooms for improvement. That's something that excites me actually for the future.
Q. How much out of 10, would you say?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I can't give you a number. I'm sorry. But there's always something I feel I can do better.
Q. Over the tournament we've seen a lot of players slip over on the grass. You haven't so much. What do you put that down to? Do you have natural balance? Is it experience?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's not like I haven't been sliding this year and also previous years. I mean, I had nasty falls also. But sliding is part of my movement, I can say. Throughout all my career and all my life I have been sliding on different surfaces.
Of course, on the grass is not necessary too much to slide. If you do that, sometimes you can lose that half a step that is very much needed for recovery for the next ball.
But sliding is there, and I do slide on some balls. Sometimes it helps me, you know, to recover better, to defend better. It's the way I have been moving all my life.
Q. Have you watched Murray's side of the draw with a little bit of envy? Cilic, Tsonga, Nadal, Federer all go.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not at the start (smiling).
But, look, you know, the draw is something you can't really affect. I'm sure that he's also trying to focus on his own matches and his own games as I do. Sometimes you have luck; sometimes it opens up; sometimes it doesn't.
If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best players in the world. There's no question about it.
Q. Can you explain how that Nemanja came? Did you invite him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, we got in touch with him actually for our fundraiser event that's going to happen on Monday night after Wimbledon is finished. It's going to be the first fundraiser of our foundation here in London.
We wanted to invite Nemanja because he's one of the most successful and most recognized Serbian people in the world. Of course it would be a great pleasure to have him.
He accepted that, and he said he would be here in these days. You know, he wanted to come and watch with his wife, so that's how we got in touch.
Q. Do you want him back for the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's a lucky charm. I'll make sure he's there.
Q. Another nutrition question. What do you eat and drink during the match? Is it always the same even if the match is shorter or longer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I do have my own things that I eat. I don't eat too much. Obviously, you can't during the match because your stomach and digestive system is clogged up. You have to eat little bit by little bit to maintain your sugar levels high so you cannot have any drop downs. And also hydrate yourself as much as you can.
That also depends if I play on a hot day or not. It's also what I do before the match, you know, to prepare myself for that challenge.
Q. It's your 13th semifinal in a row in Grand Slams. You're No. 1, expected to go all the way. Is there a special feeling when you reach the last four of a Grand Slam?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is a special task to reach Roger's 30 something (laughter).
No, I'm kidding. It's a huge achievement for me. I'm very proud of my success on Grand Slams because that's exactly where I want to do my best and where I want to play my top tennis and reach the latter stages of the event because these are the most important, most valuable tennis tournaments in the world.
All the attention of the sport is focused on four Grand Slams, especially Wimbledon. So I'm really glad that I've been managing to continuously make that great success in reaching at least the final eight.
Q. Does it feel like business as usual reaching the semis?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You have to work for that. It's not that easy. It doesn't come to you.
Q. We know your dog Pierre is an important fellow.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, very important.
Q. Have you brought him over?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's back home waiting for me. When I come back from my work, first thing I see when I open the door of the house is him. He greets me. That's a huge joy.
Q. He's here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He's here, yes. And I can't wait to go and see him, if you don't mind (smiling).
Can Rafael Nadal Rule at Roland Garros and Wimbledon Again?
While Novak Djokovic is the undisputed number one in men's tennis, there is no doubt that he is the second favorite going into the Roland Garros grand slam. The French Open is, and has always been, Rafael Nadal's home court. He may be from Spain, but Nadal has made the clay of Paris the court where he feels most comfortable. He has only lost ONE match at Roland Garros during his entire career. That is an incredible run, spanning close to a decade. His only loss came when he was half injured, so what chance does Djokovic, or anyone for that matter, have of beating Nadal?
The greatest threat to Nadal will come from the world number one, and the two are set to meet in the semi final stage. This will be a monumental clash, with Novak Djokovic determined to break Nadal's stranglehold at Roland Garros. Interestingly, Djokovic has never had the best record in the French Open. So he has two reasons for wanting to do very well there this season. The two will give everything in their semi final, which could play into the hands of another tennis great. Roger Federer will most likely be the one waiting for the outcome of the Nadal/Djokovic semi final, with his route to the final considerably easier.
Federer does not have Murray to deal with this time, as Andy suffered an injury before this tournament. In addition, Gael Monfis just took care of the seventh seed, Tomas Berdych. If Federer plays anywhere close to his best tennis, he is a shoe in for the final. In addition, the fatigue of Nadal and Djokovic could play into his hands as he bids to win this grand slam. Those two will end up playing a three to five hour semi final, while Federer's match should be a lot shorter.
The French Open is here, who dares to bet against Nadal?
Is this time of the year again, the time when Rafael Nadal makes history and breaks records at the French Open.
The defending champion has wonthe major in Paris 7 times and has a 52-1 record which makes it very difficult to think that anothertennis player can take this title away from him if he is healthy and playing the way he has being playing lately.
Rafa played eight tennis tournaments in 2013, has claimed the trophy in six occasions with a 36-2 match record.
He lost the final of Viña del Mar to Horacio Zeballos in his first tournament of the season after 7 month out the ATP Tour because of injury, and was beaten by Novak Djokovic at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final in April.
No one expected what happened on Tuesday afternoon as world number one, Novak Djokovic, crashed out early at the Madrid Open with a defeat that casts his chances of winning the Roland Garros crown this summer into serious doubt.
Djokovic lost in the second round on clay 7-6 6-7 6-3 to Bulgaria’s Gregor Dimitrov, who had not earned a set over the Serb in their previous two meetings.
Yet the 21-year-old did not let history repeat itself and after saving set point at 5-4 down in the first careered to an early lead before finishing Djokovic off in the last.
The result shocked many sports betting news reporters simply because Djokovic was on course to win this title after recovering from an ankle injury to win the Monte Carlo crown.