Djokovic wants government to 'support' players over Australian Open preparations

By Sports Desk November 18, 2020

Novak Djokovic urged the government to support players heading into the Australian Open, the world number one calling for authorities to sanction lead-up tournaments while quarantining.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is confident the 2021 Australian Open will go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic and concerns over international travel.

There have been reports pre-Australian Open events will be held in Victoria, rather than around Australia in cities like Sydney and Brisbane, in order to minimise travel ahead of the year's opening grand slam in Melbourne.

Initial reports suggested players would arrive in Australia in mid-December to undertake mandatory quarantine of two weeks before competing, though the ATP has since pointed to plans for January.

Asked about the looming Australian Open, defending champion and record-setting eight-time winner Djokovic told reporters following his ATP Finals loss to Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday: "There's several options I hear that are on the table and I think Tennis Australia has been very communicative and very open with the process with us players.

"I'm very pleased with the way Craig Tiley and the other staff from Tennis Australia have been trying to fight for us as best conditions as is possible for the players. But it's also not in their hands obviously, the government of Australia decides and Victoria on the conditions and restrictions and so forth.

"As far as I know so far, the Australian Open will happen whether it's in the current week or the week later. If that's what's necessary then yes I would understand the Australian Open being pushed a week later. Even though the tournaments post-Australian Open would get hurt.

"So we have to, as men's and women's tennis and the ATP, WTA, everybody involved, we have to consider what are the ramifications of maybe potentially some decisions that are going to be made in terms of the calendar in Australia and how that's going to affect the Tour after that. I'm planning to play the Australian Open for sure, I would like to go there and I'm ready to quarantine for two weeks and whatever is necessary for me to be able to play.

"I hope that there's going to be support and understanding from the Australian government for the players and for Tennis Australia and they will allow players to compete in the second week of quarantine and hopefully that's going to help immensely with the calendar and everything and you won't be then losing a week, you'll be able to have a tournament or two prior to the Australian Open which for the majority of the players is important obviously for a lot of the players.

"They were done with the season in Paris and then potentially having no tournaments or official matches before the Australian Open, before a grand slam, is a huge thing. Hopefully we'll be able to have at least a tournament before the Australian Open."

Djokovic was easily swept aside by Russian star Medvedev 6-3 6-3 at the O2 Arena in London midweek.

Eyeing a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals trophy, Djokovic uncharacteristically tallied 28 unforced errors as he tasted defeat for just the fourth time this year, compared to 40 wins.

"I was a little bit [feeling unwell]," the 17-time major champion said about his fitness. "Especially towards the end of the first set and beginning of the second. I kind of regrouped and felt better towards the end of the match. But just an unfortunate 15-20 minutes for me that resulted with seven games in a row lost. Against a player like Medvedev then the match is done."

Djokovic – who will next meet Alexander Zverev for a spot in the final four – added: "He was a better player and deserved to win, no doubt about it."

Related items

  • Brocchi dreaming of Milan reunion as Berlusconi's Serie A-chasing Monza try to recreate Rossoneri Brocchi dreaming of Milan reunion as Berlusconi's Serie A-chasing Monza try to recreate Rossoneri

    Silvio Berlusconi, Adriano Galliani, Cristian Brocchi, Mario Balotelli, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Gabriel Paletta.

    There is a real Milan vibe about Monza, who are nestled 15 kilometres north of the Lombardy capital, as the ambitious club stand closer than ever to achieving their goal of Serie A promotion after spending their entire existence in the lower leagues.

    Monza are owned by former Milan president and Italy prime minister Berlusconi, who returned to football in 2018 after selling his beloved Rossoneri a year earlier.

    After purchasing the club through his Fininvest company, Berlusconi turned to his trusted right-hand man Galliani – who was born in Monza – as CEO. Their partnership helped turn the Rossoneri into a superpower, with eight Serie A titles and five Champions League/European Cup crowns among the 29 pieces of silverware between 1986 and 2017.

    Monza are also coached by former Milan midfielder and boss Brocchi, while the Serie B outfit also boasts ex-Rossoneri players Balotelli, Boateng and Paletta.

    After completing their rise from Serie C to the second tier of Italian football amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2019-20, Monza are well and truly in the promotion mix – fourth and six points adrift of leaders Empoli, while they are only two points behind Cittadella, who occupy the final automatic spot through 18 games.

    Moving up to Serie A would mean a Milan reunion for many of Monza's staff and players, as well as Brocchi – who won the Scudetto and two Champions League titles among other honours at San Siro between 2001 and 2008 before spending a brief period in charge eight years later.

    "It is a dream that hopefully will come true. To have brought the Milan mentality coming from our board – always striving to build an important organisation similar to the Milan that won so much worldwide," Brocchi told Stats Perform News.

    "Board, manager and some players have worn that shirt and the dream to recreate Milan here in Monza is beautiful and emotional."

    "It is a tough season. There are many strong clubs, the ones relegated from A [in 2019-20] who have retained all the important players and those who last season had built up a squad for promotion and failed, so I think this year's Serie B is the hardest of recent times," he continued.

    Monza – back in Serie B following a 19-year absence – are no ordinary second-tier team in Italy, with all eyes on the Bagai due to Berlusconi.

    Berlusconi's presence has changed the landscape for Monza, who tried to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the star striker opted to return to Milan in January last year. However, Monza have since lured Balotelli and Boateng to the club.

    "Working for Berlusconi and Galliani's club is grand because all media attention is on you. For sure everybody thinks Monza have to win every game because these two people have gone down in football history winning so much. And this is exactly our goal," Brocchi said.

    "I know very well Berlusconi and Galliani's wish is to reach Serie A and win every game. We share the same mindset because I have grown up with them since I was nine. To me it is an honour to be the manager here.

    "For sure it is beautiful and important for me to manage in a club like Monza that are very ambitious. It is not easy to take a club from Serie C to Serie A but it is emotional because you have a lot of responsibilities and adrenaline is always rushing. As I said, to face strong clubs with your own aim and manage to overcome them, would make this even better." 

    Brocchi, who oversaw just seven matches as Milan coach before being replaced by Vincenzo Montella, continued: "Monza's aim is to improve. We started from C, we are in B and we want Serie A. The difference between us and other clubs is that once in Serie A we won't have the goal of avoiding relegation at the last game, but to rank in the top 10.

    "Mr Galliani wants us to always be a strong team going for great objectives. This is what will happen should we win this league."

    Balotelli and Boateng are set to play a key role in Monza's push for promotion following their high-profile arrivals.

    Boateng has made an immediate impact, with the former Milan and Barcelona midfielder – on average – scoring a goal every 243 minutes in Serie B this season, the best average among Monza players with at least 90 minutes played.

    Only Dany Mota has fired more shots on target than Boateng (23 to 10) among Monza players this term and the talented Portuguese forward has four league goals.

    Balotelli – coming off a difficult spell at Brescia before their relegation from Serie A – scored with his first touch in Serie B on debut for Monza last month before being sidelined through injury.

    "They [Balotelli and Boateng] arrived here in Serie B thanks to the acquaintance they had with Berlusconi and Galliani and even with me as a manager, since I trained them at Milan and we had a great relationship," said Brocchi, who was handed his first senior head-coaching role at Milan after replacing Sinisa Mihajlovic almost five years ago, having previously worked with the club's youth team.

    "They settled in very well, they always train hard, they lead by example by showing the will to take me, Berlusconi, Galliani and Monza to Serie A. So far they have been important, let's hope they can give us even more in order to make this dream come true."

    The experience of Balotelli and Boateng complements an exciting core of Monza players, including Mota and Brazilian full-back Carlos Augusto, as well as talented loanees Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo), Andrea Colpani (Atalanta) and Davide Bettella (Atalanta).

    Both Balotelli and Boateng have tasted Serie A success in their careers to go with respective Premier League and LaLiga honours, with the latter part of the last Milan team to celebrate Scudetto glory in 2010-11.

    The strategy of sporting director Filippo Antonelli and Brocchi to invest in promising young talent has continued to deliver results on the pitch.

    Monza have allowed the fewest headed goals (one) in Serie B this season, while Brocchi's side have conceded 10 goals from inside the box – the least in the league, while they have scored five goals inside the opening 15 minutes of play – the joint most in 2020-21.

    "Monza are a mix of experienced players and great young talents. The right mix to achieve our goals. Players like Balotelli and Boateng can help Mota, Carlos Augusto, Frattesi, Colpani or Bettella, all under-21 players for Italy and Portugal," the 44-year-old Brocchi said.

    "You can't only field experienced players, you have to look for the right mix and this is what Antonelli and I looked for. I think experience helps youngsters and their exuberance helps the expert ones."

  • Lakers star Anthony Davis: I suck right now Lakers star Anthony Davis: I suck right now

    Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis provided a scathing assessment of his form despite another road win for the NBA champions, saying "I suck right now".

    The Lakers extended their franchise away record to eight consecutive wins on the road to start the season by topping the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 on Thursday.

    LeBron James posted a season-high 34 points, while All-Star team-mate Davis had 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks for the Western Conference-leading Lakers (12-4).

    Davis, though, was far from pleased with his performance after shooting just eight-of-18 from the field and missing his only three-point attempt.

    "Right now, to be hard on myself, man, I think I suck right now," Davis said post-game.

    "I'm not making shots, I'm not making free throws. But I think tonight my aggressiveness, just being a poster and getting to the paint allowed guys to get open."

    David added: "My aggressiveness tonight. That's the only way I feel like I'm gonna get out of this funk or whatever that I'm in.

    "I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a better basketball player every game, and that's what I'm gonna continue to do."

    "I trust my team-mates. AC [Alex Caruso] hit one for me. Bron hit one and Kenny [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] hit one, and they're in the right spots where I want guys when I have the ball in the post," Davis continued.

    "And just [am] able to make the read with their guys doubling or collapsing to the paint when I get there, and was able to kick it out and those guys made shots."

     

  • LeBron's Lakers extend record after taking down Giannis and Bucks, Curry's 30 not enough LeBron's Lakers extend record after taking down Giannis and Bucks, Curry's 30 not enough

    The Los Angeles Lakers stayed perfect on the road after beating the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 in the NBA on Thursday.

    LeBron James posted a season-high 34 points as defending champions the Lakers extended a franchise record after winning their eighth consecutive away game to start the season.

    James also tallied eight assists and six rebounds to help the Lakers – 8-0 on the road – bounce back from a loss in the first of a seven-game road trip, upstaging reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the process.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 23 points for the Western Conference-leading Lakers (12-4) in Milwaukee, where the Bucks (9-6) dropped back-to-back games.

    Antetokounmpo's double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds were not enough for the Bucks, who also had solid contributions from Jrue Holiday (22 points) and Khris Middleton (20 points).

     

    Curry stars

    Stephen Curry put up 30 points, but the Golden State Warriors still went down 119-104 at home to the New York Knicks. The two-time MVP moved into fourth place on the franchise's all-time games played list after making his 714th regular-season appearance, surpassing Paul Arizin. RJ Barrett's 28 points for the Knicks were a career high.

    Golden State's Eric Paschall scored his 1,000th career point in his 74th game, reaching the 1,000-point mark in the fewest amount of games played by a Warriors second round draft pick in the Modern Draft era (since 1966). Previously, Gilbert Arenas did so in 79 games.

    Donovan Mitchell's season-high 36 points fuelled the Utah Jazz's 129-118 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Mitchell was 11-of-19 shooting from the field, while he made six of eight three-point attempts. The Jazz have won seven straight games.

     

    Schroder struggles in Milwaukee

    Dennis Schroder failed to get going for the Lakers. The offseason recruit was just two of 10 from the field, while missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc for four points in 33 minutes.

    Kelly Oubre Jr. did not perform much better for the beaten Warriors. His seven points were on two-of-11 shooting from the field at home to the Knicks. Oubre also missed all four of his three-point attempts.

     

    Steph with the behind-the-back pass

    While the Warriors were unable to claim the win, Curry produced a couple of highlight moments. His behind-the-back pass to set up Draymond Green for the three-pointer was the pick of the bunch.

     

    Thursday's results

    Los Angeles Lakers 113-106 Milwaukee Bucks
    Utah Jazz 129-118 New Orleans Pelicans
    New York Knicks 119-104 Golden State Warriors

     

    Celtics at 76ers

    The Boston Celtics (8-5) and Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers (10-5) will do battle again at Wells Fargo Center on Friday after Joel Embiid's 42-point double-double inspired Doc Rivers' team midweek.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.