SHOWS: BELGRADE, SERBIA (OCTOBER 22, 2020) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL) 1. NOVAK DJOKOVIC APPROACHING MEDIA TO SPEAK 2. SHADOW OF DJOKOVIC ON THE GROUND 3. (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING: “Well, there is certainly a small regret because I didn’t take one of these two grand slams in US Open or Roland Garros. I think I was exceptionally fit in both grand slams. Of course, in Paris I made it up to the finals, and then I simply had a much better rival that day, I was not at my level, and that’s it. The finals is, of course, a great result. On the other hand, in the US Open happened the situation that was simply a little bit unlucky for me, and because of which I was disqualified. But I won the other tournaments where I participated – Cincinnati, Rome… Let me say – if I don’t count that disqualification in New York – I lost one match this year, to Nadal in Paris. I think that I am playing maybe even the tennis of my life this season.” 4. DJOKOVIC STANDING, TALKING 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING: “My goal is to be the historically longest number one, and I am working on it and it is indeed my highest priority. I don’t think I am in a difficult situation or that there is too much pressure or burden (imposed) upon me, or that the conversation regarding the Association hampers me too much. I simply know how to find a balance and of course that sometimes I get shaken in all that, I get tired mentally and maybe physically, etc. But that’s all life, I mean, nobody is perfect, and you somehow learn throughout life, and every day you acquire some new knowledge and insights into yourself, and then you try to use that in the best possible way so as to be the best version of yourself both professionally and in in private life. So that – Association of Players is something that I feel deep inside as, simply, a vocation, as some kind of a responsibility and obligation to – as a player at the peak of the career, as a tennis player who is at the position where he is and who is (inside) tennis – help the ones who do not have that voice, who do not have that power.” 6. NOVAK DJOKOVIC STANDING, TALKING TO MEDIA 7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING: “Well, first of all, I decided to skip the Paris Masters because I felt I played a lot lately and I wanted to play Vienna Tournament because of the new ranking, temporary ranking system which basically allows me not to drop points that I earned last year, and I have the opportunity to earn points in Vienna, and the points that I won by winning the tournament in Paris last year is protected. So, I felt that at this point, you know, I’m focusing on that kind of goal of trying to build more points difference between me and the second player on the rankings and trying to achieve that historic number one goal, which I’ve been talking about and being open about it, so I’m going to play Vienna and then finish with London Masters in O2 Arena.” 8. MEDIA TAKING PICTURES, DJOKOVIC TALKING 9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING: “Australian Open is of course for me the biggest priority and I will try to aim to go there, you know, I am intending to go to Australia, but obviously we’ll have to wait and see.” 10. VARIOUS OF ENTRANCE TO ‘NOVAK’ TENNIS CENTRE STORY: Novak Djokovic has played some of the best tennis of his life in 2020 but he regrets the failure to win either the U.S. Open or the French Open in his bid to become the world’s most trophy-laden player, the world number one said on Thursday (October 22). Having won the Australian Open in January, Djokovic was disqualified at the U.S. Open after inadvertently hitting a line judge in the neck with a petulant swipe of the ball during his fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta. He was then blown away by Carreno Busta’s Spanish compatriot and world number two Rafael Nadal in straight sets at Roland Garros. Djokovic has 17 grand slam titles while Nadal and Federer are on 20 each after the Spaniard clinched a record 13th French Open title. “There is a lingering regret that I didn’t win either the U.S. Open or the Roland Garros this year,” a bearded Djokovic told reporters in drenching sun at his tennis academy in downtown Belgrade by the Danube river. “I was in outstanding form at both events but having reached the French Open final, I was beaten by a player who was much better on the day. “I was below par and that’s it. As far as the U.S. Open is concerned, I got myself into an unfortunate situation and was disqualified, but I won several other big tournaments. “The U.S. Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life.” Djokovic dismissed suggestions he was under intense presure to overhaul Nadal and Federer in their three-way race to become the greatest male player of all time. “Pressure has been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve learned how to deal with it,” he said. “It comes with the territory if you are a top-level athlete and it can also galvanise you. You take physical and mental knocks along the way but it’s all part of the learning curve. “If I retired now I’d be happy with everything I have achieved but I still enjoy competing and every tournament I enter gives me so much motivation and joy.” Djokovic, who will enter the Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 tournament in Vienna and the season ending ATP Finals in London, said he had decided to pull out of the Nov. 2-8 Paris Masters after consultations with his team. “I feel I have played a lot lately. The new temporary ranking system allows me not to drop points I earned in Paris last year while I have an opportunity to earn points in Vienna. “I am trying to build on the points difference between myself and the second-ranked player. Both my team and I felt that adding Paris to Vienna and the season-ending event in London would have been too much.” Production: Branko Filipovic, Marko Djurica
Novak Djokovic has decided not to enter the Nov. 2-8 event because he has no points to win in his bid to retain the world No. 1 spot.
It was deja vu in Paris as Man United snatched a late win over PSG, with Marcus Rashford the hero among illustrious company. Now he has to perform consistently on the biggest stage.
Marcus Rashford scored late at Paris with Barcelona, Juventus and Lazio among other opening winners.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has denied youngster Mason Greenwood has been dropped from the Manchester United squad for disciplinary reasons.
This disrupted tennis season is not getting any better for Andy Murray, who has withdrawn from this week’s ATP event in Cologne because of tendinitis in his left psoas – a body part more often referred to as the hip flexor. The latest in a series of frustrating setbacks, Murray’s new injury afflicts the opposite side to the hip he underwent surgery on at the start of last year. But the evidence of the past 18 months underlines the challenge of playing elite tennis with a metal implant, especially when – as Murray explained last week – “it changes the way your pelvis moves”. Murray first reported this tendinitis issue a couple of days ahead of last month’s French Open, saying that he had been carrying it since the US Open a month before that. On Sunday, in a video posted on his Facebook page, he added: “I’ve been trying to deal with it in training and the matches. Unfortunately after my match here this week it’s flared up again. After playing some points today, I decided that it was not going to be good enough to play.” It seems ironic that Tuesday is the first anniversary of what could potentially be the last flourish of Murray’s storied career: his 46th ATP title in Antwerp. All that week, Murray was in the lightest and brightest of moods. “I need to now start talking more about my future,” he said, after beating Stan Wawrinka in the final, “and I am certainly a lot more optimistic now.” Had Murray had any idea how 2020 would turn out, he might have struck a more cautious note. The malaise really began at the very end of 2019, when he experienced soreness in the right hip caused by bone deposits forming around the unfamiliar metal implants. Murray was unable to recover fitness before the suspension of elite tennis in early March. And although he made a promising start in New York on the resumption in mid-August, beating Frances Tiafoe and world No7 Alexander Zverev back to back, he has lost four of five matches since – all of them, uncharacteristically, in straight sets. The left hip has been an issue since Murray flew home from the US Open, where he crept through a first-round meeting with Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in five sets before being crushed in the second round by rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime. He was already suffering from tendinitis then, but was unable to get it checked out for a few days after arriving in Surrey because of Covid-19 protocols and the slow return of a swab test. Murray’s season is not necessarily over. While his management said that he would probably have to abandon plans to play in Vienna in a week’s time, he has not yet given up on the Paris Masters – the final event of the regular calendar – which begins in a fortnight. Having said that, however, there must be a case for putting specific tennis training away for the next couple of months while Murray concentrates on dealing with this latest niggle. With the benefit of hindsight, we can probably now say that his below-par performances against Stan Wawrinka at the French Open and Fernando Verdasco last week were both influenced by the fact that he wasn’t fully fit. This reading of events does at least have one encouraging corollary. If Murray can somehow shrug off the series of ailments that have afflicted him in 2020, it is possible that we might see him recapture his level from Antwerp last year. The all-conquering form of 2016 is probably too much to hope for.
Next year’s Wimbledon Championships could be held without spectators amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the grasscourt Grand Slam said on Friday. The tournament in England was cancelled this year for the first time since World War Two due to the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 43,000 people in the United Kingdom. It was the only Grand Slam, however, to be cancelled in 2020 as the U.S. Open in New York and the French Open in Paris were held in bio-secure environments after the Australian Open was held in normal circumstances at the beginning of the year.
American tennis star Sam Querrey reportedly crossed the Russian border in a private jet and is now hiding in an unknown country.
Andy Murray loses in straight sets to Fernando Verdasco as he struggles for form in latest comeback attempt
An ace from Fernando Verdasco completed another disappointing night for Andy Murray, who is struggling to gain any momentum in his latest comeback attempt. There were such promising signs for Murray when he beat world No 7 Alexander Zverev at the Western & Southern Open in late August. Since then, though, he has lacked any consistency and has now lost his last eight sets. Admittedly, his draws could have been friendlier. Stan Wawrinka, his opponent at the recent French Open, was not the sort of player anyone wants to come up against in the first round. But Murray is also not helping himself. During the second set of Tuesday’s 6-4, 6-4 defeat, he managed to land only 41 per cent of his first serves. At an indoor tournament, that is an unacceptably low figure. In this equivalent week of last year, Murray won the title in Antwerp – ironically by beating Wawrinka in the final. His play here suggested that he has recovered enough belief in his body to go deep at these sorts of events. But he is out of sorts and low on confidence in his game. The lack of fans at Cologne’s inelegantly named Bett1HULKS Indoors event probably did not help. There were a few scattered spectators lying on mattresses as part of a publicity stunt for a sponsor, but Murray might have been able to use the energy of a full crowd to get himself going. As it is, he has been curiously flat since the US Open. He said in Paris that he had been trying to stop himself swearing and raging during his matches, because “it was something that was brought up to me”. Here, he kept making “calm down” gestures both at himself and his support staff but he never quite found the right level of engagement. “It was tough,” said Murray after the match. “I had a few chances, a lot of break points, but I didn’t get them. I didn’t serve that well and on these courts, they’re quite slow, it’s important to try to get some free points with the serve. Yeah, he played better than me.” Asked to compare this effort with the Wawrinka beatdown from a couple of weeks ago, Murray replied: “It wasn’t that big an improvement. There were some things I did a little bit better. But then this is a surface which I am a bit more comfortable on, so you could probably put it down to that.” “I need to practice,” Murray added. “I need to play matches, I need to get better, I need to get back to playing my game on the court. I have gone away from that a little bit, which is maybe why I am making a few more mistakes than usual.” Asked whether he planned to stay in Cologne for another week – as this venue is hosting back-to-back tournaments – he replied: “I will speak to my team tonight, and see what they say, but the plan is to play here next week. Over the next few days I can hopefully get some practice in.”
The proposal to “save” English soccer, led by officials from Liverpool and Man United, would help the game, but at what actual cost?