Down Under Diary, Day 10
by James Buddell|
Djokovic Has Nothing To Fear
Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, who plays four-time former champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Thursday night, said: "I have nothing to lose playing Federer, who's the title defender here.
"We all know everything about him. I have to believe in myself in order to win that match. I feel like I'm starting to play my best tennis in last five, six months. I have more experience on the court. Physically I'm fit. I'm hitting the ball better and I have more variety in the game.
"We're rivals, but we have big respect for each other. I've won against him on different occasions, mostly on hard courts, so this is a chance for me."
Former US Open semi-finalist Wally Masur says Djokovic must show courage to have any chance of beating Federer. In an interview with Melbourne Radio, Masur asked, "We talk a lot about the Djokovic game, but how well does he move?.
"He is always balanced and he always gets the ball out of the middle. He is a tough man to break down. There is no way easy way through Novak Djokovic. He is awfully quick, so he can blunt Roger's power and he is also skilful, so if Roger chips the ball or plays a drop shot, he has got great hands and he can improvise and he can deal with that change of pace quite well."
Bollettieri Previews Federer-Djokovic Semi-final
Veteran American coach Nick Bollettieri says he is "very impressed with how Federer is playing and right now it’s going to take an unbelievable effort to beat Federer but I do feel Djokovic has the talent to test him.
"Both men are playing fantastic tennis and both are more than capable of winning this tournament. If Djokovic is to win this match, I think he needs to win it in straight sets or in a quick four sets."
Early Life In The Murray Household
Judy Murray, mother to Andy Murray and Jamie Murray, told The New York Times a few snippets of early life in the family home. "When it was winter, [Andy] and Jamie would line up all their little trophies and things across the middle of the living room, and that would be their net," said Judy Murray. "A sponge ball isn’t going to hurt anything. I didn’t mind.
“I think Andy benefited enormously from having a big brother who was very gifted as a youngster. The first overseas tournament Andy went to, he was nine and Jamie went as well. It was an under-11 tournament in Rouen, France, and Andy got to the semi-final and lost in three long sets to Gael Monfils, and Jamie got to the final and beat Monfils one and love. And the whole way back home, Andy was saying, ‘You only won because I tired him out for you!’ It was just hilarious.”
Far From A Comfort Break
Alexandr Dolgopolov admitted his Australian coach, Jack Reader, was temporarily barred from re-entering the stadium during his four-set quarter-final loss to fifth seed Andy Murray.
A security guard would not let Reader back in at the start of the fourth set. "He went to the toilet, he told me," said Dolgopolov. "They were giving him a hard time getting back because they were saying, 'you don't have a box pass'. He's like, 'look, it's coach Dolgopolov'.
He wasn't there for a few games. You just look up to see someone cheer for you and it makes you feel better. But if he's not there, he went somewhere for his business. I mean, it's not like a tragedy or anything."
Reader, usually as relaxed as his laidback charge, joked to Channel 7 that he had "had to give up the dhurries (cigarettes), so my nerves are shot."
Davidson Inducted Into Australian Hall Of Fame
Owen Davidson, who reached the 1966 Wimbledon semi-finals and won a clay-year mixed doubles Grand Slam in 1967, was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame. He partnered Lesley Bowery at the Australian Championships, then Billie Jean King at the sports other three major championships.
"Lesley Bowery who I don't think gets enough credit, [is] one of the great Australian players," said Davidson. "None of this would have happened without meeting and playing with the wonderful Billie Jean King. I got the opportunity to play mixed with her, I said yes. We won the first tournament. She didn't go for long relationships in those days, she asked me if I'd play the next tournament, I said: 'Yes'. We won that. She said: 'Do you want to play the next one' and I said: 'Yes' and we won that. We didn't make big long commitment but we did play for seven years and only lost a couple of matches."
Davidson, who also won men's doubles title at the 1972 Australian Open and 1973 US Open, unveiled a bronze statue of himself that take its place alongside other legends in Garden Square at Melbourne Park.
Mr Stats Notches Century
Leo Levin, who was first appointed as a statistics man at the 1983 US Open, is celebrating working at his 100th Grand Slam championship. He plays a key role in IBM's scoring and technology team.
"[In 1983] I was working with Arthur Ashe to do stats on the top players, both the Americans and the foreign players, so he could get a snapshot of how his guys were playing and also an idea for scouting on how the foreign players were playing," Levin told the tournament website.
"Nobody had ever seen the statistics we were gathering and they didn't understand what they meant and how they related to winning and losing on the tennis court. So I spent the first few years training and teaching tennis Hall-of-Famers (among others) about the game of tennis.
"Next thing I knew, instead of doing statistics courtside at a match, I was doing stats from the television booth next to the commentators... helping them to target their commentary to the areas where players might be winning or losing the match."