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Novak Djokovic thinks family celebrations are more important than sports achievements

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In a press conference at the Vienna Open, the world no. 1 spoke about his attachment to Serbia and how spending time with family and celebrating occasions at home outweighs any of the countless sporting achievements he has earned in his career.

 

 

 

The Serb had a fruitful clay season, winning his record-breaking 36th Masters title in Rome. He also reached the finals of the French Open. After losing to Rafael Nadal, he took a break from sports and returned home to spend time with his family.

 

 

 

During this time, he celebrated his son’s birthday at home. He also visited the Bosnian Pyramids, a cluster of hills in neighboring Bosnia & Herzegovina.

 

 

 

At the Vienna Open press conference, Djokovic said, “There is always a reason to celebrate. You don’t have to wait for a tournament, just as you don’t have to wait for a child’s birthday or any other festive occasion, privately or professionally. There is always a reason. However, definitely family celebrations and marking some important dates in our lives are far more important to me than any sporting achievement.”

 

 

 

The World No. 1, who is almost certain to be crowned the year-end world no. 1 by the ATP, is currently playing at the Vienna Open, where he has reached the quarterfinals. After this tournament, he will play at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals at London in November.

 

 

 

Despite his hectic schedule involving travels to various unique places, the Serb always longs to come back home. He said, “I always long for Belgrade and Serbia and I am looking forward to coming here. My stay in my hometown is always short, but filled with numerous private and professional obligations. It gives me great pleasure to be here, surrounded by my people, people who speak the same language as me, to be able to go back to my roots.”

 

 

 

He added that the visits provide him with some added motivation and strength to compete at the highest level and clinch as many titles as possible. On this, he added, “It fills me with energy all this, though probably to the same extent that it exhausts me at the same time. However, it gives me that additional encouragement and motivation that I need, inspires me to continue travelling the world and write some new pages in the history of tennis.”

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Oleksandr Usyk sends warning to Tyson Fury ahead of Anthony Joshua rematch

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Oleksandr Usyk will put his newly won WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight belts on the line in his rematch with Anthony Joshua next year, but he’s already thinking about taking on Tyson Fury. The Ukrainian, 34, left British boxing fans stunned when he outclassed Joshua in London last month, scuppering hopes of a long awaited clash between Fury and ‘AJ’ in early 2022.

Joshua, 31, did promptly trigger his rematch clause however, before Fury came through his stunning trilogy bout with Deontay Wilder to retain his WBO and Ring Magazine titles.

Now Usyk, who after Evander Holyfied and David Haye is only the third fighter to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight level, is plotting to again get past Joshua before targeting a lucrative unification fight with ‘The Gypsy King’.

Speaking to The Sun, he was asked if he could see a clash with Fury happening: “Yes, of course, I do regard this fight a huge one. I see him as a very good fighter, good athlete, he talks a lot, he has a tongue.

“He claims he’s the king of the kings, but it’s only he who thinks that. That’s what I can say about him.”

Usyk, who won Olympic Gold at heavyweight level in the London 2012 Olympics, now has a professional record of 19-0-0, but was second favourite to beat Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

He cites that factor as further reason as to why he can potentially overcome Fury.

“Before my Joshua fight everyone was saying that I haven’t got a single chance to win and beat Joshua,” he continued.

“I used to hear those types of things throughout my life, but I am capable of beating Fury because I’m not boasting that I can just punish and beat every boxer in the world, but I just go to the gym and do my job.”

Hughie Fury could fight Derek Chisora in huge domestic fight
Since beating Wilder in Las Vegas, Fury, 33, has declared himself the beat heavyweight of this generation, and Usyk appeared to take a dig at that claim by adding “I’m not trying to present myself as the king of the Universe.

“I do what I have to do. I concentrate and I’m focused and I get the result according to my effort.”
The Ukrainian did however, acknowledge that Fury’s unique boxing style made him successful and brought him victories, which he said was the “main thing.”
As for Fury’s next opponent, that remains unclear after Dillian Whyte was forced to postpone his bout with Otto Wallin because of a shoulder injury.
Fury’s next opponent is unclear

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn takes dig at Tyson Fury

Whyte, 33, is the mandatory challenger to Fury’s WBO crown, and it was widely thought a win over Wallin on October 30 would pave the way for a world title shot for ‘The Body Snatcher’.

Whyte, who has long been embroiled in an online war of words with Fury, said this week: “I am devastated as I had a great camp, was in great shape, and had great sparring.

“I was looking forward to knocking Wallin out and would have done so in the first half of the fight.”

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Tennis great’s message to Emma Raducanu amid coaching drama

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British teenage tennis phenomenon Emma Raducanu has been urged to find some coaching stability after a tumultuous period in the wake of her historic US Open title.

Raducanu raised eyebrows after parting ways with coach Andrew Richardson after her US Open victory – in a move that surprised many tennis commentators.

Richardson coached the teenage star for two years at youth level and linked up with her again in July on a short-term deal for the duration of her time in the United States.

However, Raducanu said she was looking for a coach with more experience at the elite level of world tennis.

The 18-year-old parted ways with coach Nigel Sears after her breakthrough Wimbledon run to the last 16, where she eventually succumbed to breathing difficulties.

She then linked up with Richardson to claim an almost unthinkable maiden grand slam title at Flushing Meadows, before again deciding to move on to new pastures.

Raducanu’s partnership with Katie Boulter’s coach Jeremy Bates was always going to be a stop-gap situation for the Indian Wells tournament in which the Brit crashed out in her first match.

Pictured here, Emma Raducanu speaks to the media at the Indian Wells tournament.
Emma Raducanu’s search for a new coach has taken many in the tennis world by surprise. Pic: AAP
The World No.24 is now set to link up with Spaniard Esteban Carril – who previously worked with fellow Brit Johanna Konta, before being axed just weeks after she was named most improved player of 2016 and broke into the world’s top ten.

Raducanu in set to play in the Transylvania Open in her father’s native Romania, but Carril is not set to start his tenure with the Brit until after the tournament.

Carril will be Raducanu’s fourth different coach in four months and British tennis great Greg Rusedksi says the teenager needs to find some stability for her game to flourish.

“Esteban (Carril) did a great job with Jo Konta when she had her big breakthrough and got into the top 10 in the world,” he said.

“Hopefully this works out for Emma. But she needs consistency from a team point of view to push on with all the success she has had at the US Open.”

Former British tennis player Barry Cowan said despite enjoying success at Wimbledon and then the US Open, Raducanu simply cannot keep churning through the coaches.

Teen warned about chopping and changing
“She made the Last 16 of Wimbledon and the coach got fired. She won the US Open and the coach got fired,” Cowan said.

“You cannot keep running your career like that. It will eventually catch up with you.

“Certainly she needs to build up and strike a relationship with Esteban. I hope it is successful and lasts.

“I don’t care who you are, whether you are Emma Raducanu, Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic, if you are having coaches short-term, it’s going to come back to bite you.”

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‘Not our favourite’: Karl blasts Novak Djokovic over vaccine saga

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Channel Nine identity Karl Stefanovic has taken a swipe at Novak Djokovic over the controversial vaccine debate that threatens the World No.1’s participation at the Australian Open.

Djokovic – the 20-time grand slam champion and defending Australian Open champion – revealed he would rather miss the grand slam than prove his vaccination status.

Unvaccinated stars will likely be banned from competing at the Melbourne tournament as Victoria recovers from a third wave of coronavirus.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes competing in domestic sporting leagues and has hinted tennis stars who haven’t been double jabbed may not be granted entry to the state.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke also confirmed on Wednesday that Djokovic would not be allowed into Australia unless he was double-vaccinated.

Djokovic – who has admitted his opposition to vaccinations in the past – this week refused to confirm or deny whether he’s had a Covid-19 jab.

“Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic told the online edition of Serbian daily Blic.

“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

“People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person.

“Whatever you say ‘yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it’, they will take advantage.”

The issue has sparked plenty of debate, with Today Show co-host Stefanovic the latest to take aim at the Serbian superstar after supporting Victoria’s stance.

Novak Djokovic's (pictured) vaccine status is unknown. (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic’s (pictured) vaccine status is unknown. (Getty Images)
“You’re going to have people going to the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is going to be incredible,” Stefanovic said.

“A shame not to have him there. You’ll have double vaccinated people in the crowd, you can’t let him in.

“He is not our favourite anyway.”

Co-host Allison Langdon added: “He is not well liked, is he?”

Victoria’s premier said unvaccinated players would be unlikely to receive a visa to enter Australia and, if they were, they would likely have to complete two weeks of quarantine.

Record quest could dictate Novak Djokovic decision
However, tennis commentator and coach Roger Rasheed doubts Djokovic will miss the Australian Open and says there is plenty of time for circumstances to change.

“I think it’s a given that (Novak Djokovic) will be here in January,” Rasheed said on SEN Sportsday.

“We’ll get to a vaccination rate here in Australia by then; the circumstances are going to change in the next few weeks. We’re getting closer and closer to unravelling everything and the circumstances will be different by the end of the year.

“Novak is probably only interested in what’s happening towards the end of December, because those conditions will probably dictate how it works when he gets into Australia.

“He wants to break the record, it would be brilliant for us to have it in Australia and we’d want to have him break that record here as that’s something that will stand up in world sport.”

One of the reasons why people find it hard to believe Djokovic would willingly miss the Australian Open is his desire to stand alone at the pinnacle of men’s tennis.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times and would be heavy favourite to take his tally into double digits.

The added incentive to overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the grand slam title race also looms as irresistible factor for the Serb.

The absence of Djokovic in Melbourne, couple with doubts over whether Federer plays, would give Nadal a terrific chance win a record-breaking 21st men’s major.

“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament,” Djokovic said.

“I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

“I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision (on Covid-19 related restrictions) will be made in two weeks.

“I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.

“My manager, who is in contact with the Australian tennis federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.”

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