If you’re a supporter of Novak Djokovic, you are going to be relieved to grasp that he used to be no longer injured wearing that monstrous Tel Aviv trophy to his subsequent forestall on the Astana Open.
“No,” he stated in a Tuesday interview with ATP Media in Kazakhstan. “That’s an original size that stays in Tel Aviv. We got the smaller replica version. It’s better, more convenient for travelling.”
Djokovic amassed that gleaming silver trophy (it used to be nearly as vast and tall as his torso) by means of defeating Marin Cilic within the Sunday ultimate 6-3, 6-4.
“Winning gives you confidence,” Djokovic stated. “I haven’t played an official tournament in three months, so it’s been a while. I’m just excited to compete more.”
Indeed, since successful his 7th Wimbledon identify in July, he had handiest performed two Laver Cup suits heading into Tel Aviv. After successful 4 suits in Israel, he’ll attempt to cross one higher in Kazakhstan, an ATP 500 tournament. The adventure starts Wednesday when he performs Cristian Garin of Chile within the first night time fit (6 p.m. native time) on the National Tennis Center. The Serbian megastar holds a 2-0 ATP Head2Headvert benefit over Garin, maximum not too long ago a straight-sets victory in ultimate 12 months’s Wimbledon Round of 16. Botic Van de Zandschulp awaits the winner in the second one spherical.
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It’s a contemporary get started for the 21-time Grand Slam singles champion after what has thus far been a turbulent, disjointed season. A 12 months in the past, despite the fact that, Djokovic couldn’t had been a lot better.
He gained the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, then discovered himself one set from a calendar-year Grand Slam. He used to be attempting to enroll in Don Budge (1938), and Rod Laver (1962, 1969) as handiest the 3rd guy to reach that impressive feat, however Daniil Medvedev denied him on the US Open.
Nonetheless, Djokovic completed the season having gained 55 of 62 suits and situated himself to take regulate of the three-way race with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer that discovered all of them tied with a document 20 main titles apiece. It didn’t reasonably determine that method.
Nadal started the 12 months by means of successful the Australian Open and Roland Garros, even supposing the Serb narrowed the Spaniard’s result in 22-21 by means of successful Wimbledon.
Djokovic stated that in spite of the an identical indoor hard-court venues, stipulations in Astana range very much from Tel Aviv.
“Tel Aviv was fast, so if you serve well, the ball skids through the court and you get a lot of free points,” stated Djokovic, who served exceptionally neatly in Israel. “Here, it’s no longer one of these nice asset. It’s difficult to penetrate the court docket. You have to make use of the techniques of clay, setting up the issues.
“It’s going to be much more physical.”
Djokovic, in spite of taking part in handiest 34 suits this 12 months (28-6), is the one ATP Tour participant to assemble titles on 3 other surfaces: Rome (clay), Wimbledon (grass) and Tel Aviv (difficult).
“Considering the small amount of tournaments I played this year, it’s a great success to play consistently well on the different surfaces,” Djokovic stated. “That’s always a goal to play well all around.”
Djokovic Builds Buffer As Turin Hopes Strengthen
His quick function, in fact, is to win this Astana Open, however there’s a better problem as neatly. Djokovic is these days No. 15 within the Pepperstone ATP Race to Turin, and there are handiest 5 weeks left within the common season. Provided he stays throughout the Top 20, he’s going to protected a Nitto ATP Finals berth in keeping with his standing as a current-year Grand Slam champion.
“Hopefully, I can accumulate some points that will secure me a spot in Turin,” Djokovic stated. “That’s one big goal to the end for the year, to qualify.”