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Novak Djokovic Enters Wimbledon On High Note - Mondays with Bob Greene

 

STARS

Karolina Pliskova beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 64 to win the Aegon International women’s singles in Eastbourne, Great Britain

Novak Djokovic beat Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4 to win the Aegon International men’s singles in Eastbourne, Great Britain

Yuichi Sugita beat Adrian Mannarino 6-1 7-6 (4) to win the Antalya Open in Antalya, Turkey

Tatjana Maria beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2 6-2 to win the Aegon Southsea Trophy in Southsea, Great Britain

 

SAYING

“This is the most emotional moment of my career. I’ve won many Futures and Challenger titles, but never at a big tournament like this. It’s just amazing. I can’t believe it.” – Yuichi Sugita, who won his first ATP World Tour title by capturing the Antalya Open.

“I’m going to go step-by-step and hopefully I can go far at Wimbledon.” – Karolina Pliskova, who has lost in the second round at the last three Wimbledons.

“It’s quite interesting that I actually get to play her again. I guess in terms of the probability of playing each other first round in a slam twice in a row, that’s actually pretty cool.” – Johanna Konta, noting her first-round opponent at Wimbledon is Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan, who upset Konta in the first round of the French Open last month.

“For me, it’s now the next tournament, the next Grand Slam here. You know that everything is possible, especially in this big tournament. I’m starting from zero here. My mind is just day by day here, like last year. I will try to play good tennis again.” – Angelique Kerber, on playing Wimbledon after losing in the first round at the French Open.

“I feel super happy. To win my third title this year and my first team title with Robert is great.” – Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who teamed with Robert Lindstedt to win the Antalya Open doubles.

“Since we started playing together, every match we played has been getting better and better. I’m sure if I (was) the one who didn’t feel so well, she would be the one covering on the grass, so we’re just covering each other every single match.” – Chan Yung-Jan, who teamed with Martina Hingis to win the women’s doubles title at Eastbourne.

“First of all, he’s my very good friend. He played semis of Wimbledon, beat (Roger) Federer when he was, I think, only a teenager. He was very, very talented but he was very unfortunate with injuries and some illnesses that ended his career. But we always stayed in touch and he’s one of the closest friends I have ever had on the tour. I dragged him back to the sport.” – Novak Djokovic, announcing former player Mario Ancic will join his coaching team at Wimbledon.

“I love it when people say that there’s no chance of Serena coming back. … If she comes back, she will do everything in her power to win Grand Slams again. She won’t play again if she thinks she couldn’t win Grand Slams again.” – Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches Serena Williams.

“Serena’s the kind of person who, if you tell her that something is impossible, will only want to do it even more. She will want to prove people wrong. That’s her personality.” – Patrick Mouratoglou.

 

SOLID PERFORMANCE

Novak Djokovic is back in the winner’s circle. Finally. The Serbian right-handed beat Frenchman Gael Monfils in straight sets to capture the Aegon International men’s singles title in Eastbourne two days before the start of Wimbledon. “It was a great week,” said Djokovic, who asked for and got a wild-card entry into the tournament. “Obviously it feels right, looking back on the decision-making process and whether or not I should come here.” It was the first title since January for the Serb, who has dropped to fourth in the world in the rankings. Djokovic broke Monfils in the opening game and controlled play throughout. Djokovic saved all three break points and finished the match with another service break. He has never lost to his French foe in their 14 ATP World Tour matchups. “I tried my best today,” Monfils said. “I think he played very good, returned very good. Obviously in the first set he served very good. It was very tough to handle his first serve. I had some opportunities, and he had a bit of luck and managed it very good. I think I played a tough match.”

 

STRONG GRASS PLAY

Ranked third in the world, Karolina Pliskova has been flying under the radar, with most of the talk surrounding the top-ranked Angelique Kerber and the pregnant Serena Williams. But riding her big serves and crushing groundstrokes, the Czech won the Aegon International on the grass at Eastbourne, defeating Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets for her third title this year. “This feels better,” the 25-year-old Pliskova said of winning Eastbourne this year compared to last year when she lost in the final. “My service is definitely my biggest weapon and if it’s working it causes the other player a lot of problems.” Pliskova banged 10 aces to become the first Czech to win Eastbourne since Jana Novotna in 1998. Novotna went on to win Wimbledon that year. Pliskova has lost in the second round at Wimbledon in each of the last three years.

 

SUGITA SHINES

Yuichi Sugita joined an exclusive club when he toppled Adrian Mannarino to win the Antalya Open. In winning his first ATP World Tour title, Sugita became just the third Japanese player to win a title on the men’s circuit, joining Shuzo Matsuoka and Kei Nishikori. “I’m really happy to be the first champion in Antalya,” said Sugita, who has surged nearly 100 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings since January. The fourth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this year, Sugita needed one hour and 29 minutes to stop Mannarino for the second time in their third career meeting. Sugita also became the first player to win a grass-court event on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour in the same season. He won his ninth Challenger title at the Aegon Surbiton Trophy three weeks before his success in Antalya, Turkey. The Frenchman Mannarino was also seeking his maiden ATP World Tour title in his third final. “Yuichi was just the better player today, he deserved to win,” Mannarino said. “It is still a great week for me.”

 

SUCCESS AT LAST

Twins Bob and Mike Bryan won their first ATP World Tour doubles title of the season when they captured the rain-plagued Aegon International in Eastbourne by winning two matches on both Thursday and Friday. It was a record 113th title for the American brothers. Their last victory was at the Rome Masters in May 2016. “Mike and I are excited to win this title, not only because it’s been awhile, but because we are competing at a level that we are both proud of,” Bob Bryan said. “This win is a great shot of confidence heading into next week.” The victory came after the Bryans reunited last month with coach David Macpherson. They beat Rohan Bopanna and Andre Sa in the final. Bopanna an Sa were playing together for the first time. Both have won tournaments this year with other partners.

 

SET FOR WIMBLEDON

Great Britain’s Johanna Konta says she has recovered from a fall and will play Wimbledon this week. Seeded sixth in the year’s third Grand Slam tournament, Konta had to pull out of the Aegon International in Eastbourne when she tumbled to the grass, hurting her back and banging her head. She withdrew from her semifinal match and there were questions as to whether she would be able to play Wimbledon. “I’m definitely recovering really well,” the 26-year-old said. “I definitely looking forward to playing my first round.” By the quirk of the draw, Konta’s first-round opponent is Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan, who upset Konta in the first round of the French Open last month. “I know she enjoys the grass,” Konta said of Hsieh. “She’s a Wimbledon champion in doubles here on the grass, so she definitely can play on this surface. … She will definitely look to make things difficult for me.”

 

SEEKING HELP

Former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez will be joining the coaching staff of Garbiñe Muguruza for the upcoming fortnight. The Spaniard will serve as Muguruza’s temporary coach and advisor after her current coach, Sam Sumyk, had to return home for “a family matter” and was unable to be at Wimbledon. Martinez previously worked with Muguruza during the US Open in 2015.

Novak Djokovic his strengthened his coaching team for Wimbledon. He added Mario Ancic along with Andre Agassi. The 33-year-old Ancic, who reached as high as seventh in the world, stopped playing on the tour in 2011 because of injuries. Now a banker, Ancic had to negotiate getting time off from his job to joint Djokovic at Wimbledon. “I had to do a series of talks and get permission from all over (the company). I negotiated all last week and, luckily, got the green light coming into Wimbledon and I will be available for Novak,” Ancic told the Sportarena newspaper.

 

SEEDING HOLDS

Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi upheld their seeding to win the Antalya Open doubles. The top seeds were leading 7-5 4-1 when the second-seeded team of Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic were forced to retire. “You always leave a tournament with a lot of amazing feelings and happiness when you win, so it’s incredible to come out on top,” Lindstedt said. While Lindstedt and Qureshi teamed up together last year in Nottingham, the inaugural Antalya event was their first pairing of 2017. On the road to the final, they had to save a match point in their semifinal against Jonathan Erlich and Nikola Mektic. This was Qureshi’s third doubles title this year with three different partners. Lindstedt was playing his first final of 2017.

 

SIXTY AND COUNTING

With yet another perfect partner, Martina Hingis continues her record-book career. “My partner was really on fire today,” Hingis said after she and Chan Yung-Jan won the Aegon International doubles title in Eastbourne. The victory over Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua was the fifth title for Hingis and Chan this year and the 60th WTA doubles title for Hingis. “It felt like I just needed to stand there on court, she was firing right and left. She was playing really great, and I hope we can take the (form of) the last two weeks into Wimbledon.” The last time Hingis won the doubles at Eastbourne, her partner was Anna Kournikova in 1999. Hingis also reached the Eastbourne doubles final in 2014, partnering Flavia Pennetta, but lost to Chan and her sister, Chan Hao-Ching.

 

SUING VENUS

A lawyer says the family of a man who died in a car crash involving Venus Williams plans to sue the tennis star. Jerome Barson suffered head injuries in the June 9 crash in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA. He died two weeks later. Although the police report said Williams was at fault, she has not been charged with an offense. A statement from Williams’ attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, called the incident “an unfortunate accident” and said, “Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.” According to Cunningham, Williams entered an intersection on a green light and became stuck because of the traffic when the light turned red. The police report said Williams was deemed at fault for blocking the right of way of the other vehicle. “The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 mph

(8 kmh) when Mrs. (Linda) Barson crashed into her,” Cunningham said. Currently ranked 11th in the world, Williams is seeded 10th at Wimbledon, which she has won five times.

 

SUSPENDED

Isaac Frost of Australia has been provisionally suspended from playing professional tennis. The suspension will last “until the conclusion of Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) investigations into alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program,” the TIU said without divulging any more details. The 28-year-old player was previously sanctioned under the sport’s anti-corruption program for not cooperating with a TIU investigation. He was suspended from October 2013 to September 2014.

 

SAD NEWS

Tennis photographer Russ Adams is dead at the age of 86. Known as the dean of modern tennis photography, Adams was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007. He died just weeks after the death of his wife, Betty, who traveled the world with Russ. Adams worked for newspapers in Massachusetts and developed the camera systems used today for check-cashing and ATM machines. In 1955, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He was presented with the United States Tennis Association’s lifetime achievement award in 2002. A joint memorial will be held July 14 in Reading, Massachusetts, USA.

 

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Antalya: Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi beat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-5 4-1, retired

Eastbourne (men): Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Rohan Bopanna and Andre Sa 6-7 (4) 6-4 10-3 (match tiebreak)

Eastbourne (women): Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis beat Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 6-3 7-5

Southsea: Shuko Aoyama and Yang Zhaoxuan beat Viktorija Golubic and Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-7 (7) 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak

 

SURFING

Wimbledon: www.wimbledon.com/index.html

Sparkassen: www.sparkassen-open.de/

Budapest: www.hungarianprocircuit.com

Contrexeville: www.lorraine-open88.fr

 

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

 

MEN and WOMEN

Wimbledon, London, Great Britain, grass (first week)

 

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

 

MEN

Wimbledon, London, Great Britain (second week)

$144,898 Sparkassen Open, Braunschweig, Germany, clay

 

WOMEN

Wimbledon, London, Great Britain (second week)

$100,000 Hungarian Pro Circuit Ladies Open, Budapest, Hungary, clay

$100,000 Grand Est Open 88, Contrexeville, France, clay

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic



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About Admin
Randy Walker is a communications and marketing specialist, writer, tennis historian and the managing partner of New Chapter Media – www.NewChapterMedia.com. He was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s marketing and communications division where he worked as the press officer for 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties, three Olympic tennis teams and was an integral part of USTA media services team for 14 US Opens. He is the author of the books ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY and THE DAYS OF ROGER FEDERER

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