All General Discussion concerning WTA and ATP
Roger lost all his skills in those TBs... his UE's were ridiculous. Took too much risks, and lost his accuracy.
How on earth did he miss those MPs on own serve on GRASS!!!
Pyotr: congrats on your ATP PGame Slam victory . You defended your ATP Wimbledon slam title (as I did on the WTA side...)
"Never argue with an idiot - they take you down to their level and then beat you on experience"
"Don't wrestle with a pig: you both get dirty, but the pig actually likes it"
Novak Djokovic: How 1999 Nato bombings of Belgrade shaped his career
As you go inside, a prison-style gate with vertical metal bars guards the white front door of the first flat on the left.
This was the home of Novak Djokovic's grandfather Vladimir.
Here, the world's leading male tennis player sheltered as a small child while Nato bombed the Serbian capital between March and June 1999.
When the head-pounding drone of air-raid sirens rang out, families spanning several generations, along with neighbours and friends from nearby blocks, all filed down the stairs, through several steel doors and into the basement.
This was a formative time for Djokovic, now a 16-time Grand Slam singles champion after winning a fifth Wimbledon title against Roger Federer.
As he celebrated his 12th birthday in May 1999, a decade-long crisis was tearing the Balkans apart and Belgrade was a focal point. Twenty years on, there is still tension over how Nato bombed Serbia for 11 weeks in an effort to push Serbian forces out of Kosovo, accusing them of atrocities against ethnic Albanians.
"When they sounded the alarm and the planes started to buzz, you never knew where the bombs would hit," says Djordjo Milenic, an elderly man who was friends with Djokovic's grandfather and lives in the adjacent block.
"They bombed whatever they wanted. 'Collateral damage,' they said. They bombed bridges, hospitals, pregnant women died."
His voice trails off. "It's hard, it's hard."
We are in Banjica, a residential area about 7km south of downtown Belgrade. Locals describe it as "an average suburb", populated by working-class families from a Serbian ethnic background who live in moderately cheap high-rise flats.
Djokovic's grandfather Vlada, as he was known by those close to him, lived in a two-bedroom flat here until his death in 2012.
Now it is unoccupied, owned - according to neighbours, at least - by one of Djokovic's aunts, who they think lives in Switzerland.
Nevertheless, it will always be intrinsically linked to the story of how Djokovic rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest tennis players that has ever lived.
Djokovic was here with his widowed grandfather because his parents, father Srdjan and mother Dijana, spent most of their time away from Belgrade as they toiled to provide for their three sons - eldest Novak and his two younger brothers Marko and Djordje.
That meant spending most of the year in Kopaonik, a mountain resort near Kosovo, more than four hours' drive from Belgrade.
By day they gave skiing lessons, by night they served pizza in the restaurant they owned. Srdjan and Dijana worked tirelessly to make ends meet while funding Novak's burgeoning tennis career.
Not wishing to disrupt their children's education, the Djokovic boys stayed with granddad Vlada.
"The basement is practically where we stayed. Everyone who could fit here they came, there was no limitation," Novak said in an American TV documentary made by CBS in 2011.
"We were waking up every single night at 2am or 3am for two and a half months because of the bombings," he said of those 78 days in 1999.
"In a way these experiences made me a champion, it made us tougher, made us more hungry for success."
Many people around Banjica know the Djokovic family. Some shared the basement where they sheltered.
Milica Milivojevic is a 31-year-old woman who lives upstairs in Djokovic's old block.
She says there were about "20 or 30" people inside the shelter, remembering it smelt of "moisture and humidity".
"We heard bombs, but not while we were in the shelter," she says.
"From outside we could hear bombs falling on Avala (a hill on the edge of Belgrade targeted because there was a telecommunications tower).
"Friends gathered in the basement, especially younger people. We played some board games - Monopoly or Risk - some older kids were drinking or doing drugs."
She starts laughing: "A lot was going on."
Of course there is no suggestion Djokovic, a child prodigy who had already appeared on national television proclaiming his dream was to win Wimbledon, took part in the 'edgier' adolescent activities.
He was too busy pursuing his dream of becoming world number one.
Bogdan Obradovic has seen a lot in a life which has been dominated by tennis and politics.
A promising junior player who moved into coaching aged 18, Obradovic was approached by Djokovic's father Srdjan to guide his 10-year-old boy.
Later, Obradovic went on to become Serbia's Davis Cup captain - leading them to one of the nation's greatest sporting triumphs when the team containing Djokovic won the trophy in 2010. Now 52, he serves as a member of Serbia's parliament.
"Novak's father and I had some mutual friends and they told him I was a good coach and could maybe help him," he says.
"We did one practice and I was completely shocked.
"He was completely prepared. He was warming up, he had a bottle of water, a banana, a towel, everything. I had never seen that from a kid so young."
Obradovic knew he was a player - at that time "weighing around 25kg" - destined for the top.
During the bombings he says they worked together "every day", going around Belgrade in search of courts they didn't have to pay to use.
"By that time people knew Novak and he was already popular so they helped him a lot. We trained at many different clubs," he says. "It was improvisation but that's how we did it.
"You know Only Fools and Horses? We love it here. And that is actually our mentality. We do everything through fun. And we always think, like Del Boy, our luck will change.
"We were in a terrible situation during the bombings. You hear the sound and see on the news, people were killed and everything is destroyed. But you can do nothing, and we found a way how to make fun.
"I was with Novak all the time, we practised together and every day was like normal. He was focused but having so much fun at that time. He laughed so much."
Djokovic often trained at the Partizan Tennis Club, an arm of the multi-sport body which also includes the 27-time national champion football team, plus successful basketball, water polo and volleyball sides.
Dusan Grujic has been the Partizan president for 22 years and says this is the club Djokovic "has in his heart".
"When you spend 11 years somewhere, like he did here, I don't know how we could say anything different," he adds.
"Novak made his first steps at Kopaonik, but that was only for a short time. When he was six, he came to Partizan. We provided him with everything we could and everything he wanted."
Photos of their greatest son, along with other alumni including 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, line the walls of a modest clubhouse.
One shows a boyish Novak wearing a Partizan baseball cap and scarf, alongside childhood friend Ivanovic. Djokovic's neighbour Djordjo Milenic says he used to tell grandfather Vlada that Novak "should marry her".
Another shows Djokovic at 16, wearing the club's black and white stripes as he concentrates intently on gearing up a double-handed backhand, a shot he has since honed into one of his most potent.
The clubhouse is being given its annual lick of paint on the day we arrive. Chairs and tables are stacked in the middle of the room while dust sheets cover the windows.
Dragan Gavrilovic - one of the members responsible for maintaining the 75-year-old club - is more than happy to down tools and talk tennis.
Pulling out a cigarette with white emulsion flicked over his fingers, he says: "When Novak was still small, from about 12 to 15, he used to come to play here and people from all over the city came to watch.
"They knew - and we knew - he was destined for big things. Everybody wanted to see him. They wanted to see history being born."
Back in Banjica, behind his old apartment block, a colourful mural shows Djokovic flanked on one side by the patriarchal grandfather he doted on, childhood coach Jelena Gencic on the other.
Locals wander past without blinking an eye. Some may not even realise Djokovic lived there, but not many.
A woman sweeping up leaves and dirt outside the one flat which has a garden stops to speak with us. "Yes, you should write about Novak, you should," she says.
"He's like from heaven. He's not human, yet he is a modest, normal guy."
She has lived here for 40 years. She points to the concrete football pitch behind us, where a few stray dogs are sleeping in the sun.
"That's where he used to play football. When he had time, of course, because he trained so much.
"Then he became famous, but he would still come here as often as he could, if it was for one day or five minutes."
The woman is reluctant to give her name and disappears back into her yard saying she doesn't want to talk any more.
But she returns a few minutes later, clearly unable to stop herself sharing the pride and love she has for Djokovic.
She was one of the many who spent nights down in the basement bomb shelter. Once that subject comes up, she retreats again.
"Let's not talk about that," she says. "It's not nice to talk about what your neighbours did in such a delicate time."
Yet she adds: "When we were there I told the younger ones to run, to leave the country. At that time we thought they will not bomb the civilians. But they did."
Nato - the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the world's most powerful regional defence alliance - began its air strikes against Serbia on 24 March 1999.
Accused of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic's regime was targeted in an attempt to force their troops out and allow international peacekeepers in, after diplomatic efforts failed.
The bombing campaign ended on 10 June 1999, when Yugoslav troops began to withdraw from Kosovo.
Nato said intervention was necessary to "halt the humanitarian catastrophe that was unfolding". But a number of attacks were "unlawful", according to Human Rights Watch - an independent organisation which investigates rights abuses across the world.
Wounds still run deep in Serbia, and resentment towards Nato - and the countries which make it up - is prevalent on the streets of Belgrade.
"We are trying to be 'part of Europe'. How come, when we are now part of Europe? How will they accept us, when we are European right now?" Djordjo Milenic, Djokovic's old neighbour, says.
"They bombed us and now they say we are friends. That's all organised by America and Britain."
Kosovo especially remains a major topic. A political message outside the Partizan Tennis Club - one of many such slogans daubed around Belgrade - reads: 'Kosovo is a holy Serbian land.'
Many feel the 'Western' media are obsessed with portraying a negative stereotype of the country as aggressive, unfriendly or hostile. That is another recurring topic of conversation in the city. And yet many others would rather move on.
"People think we are bad people," says George Mitic, a 37-year-old taxi driver.
"But they don't come and see for themselves. If you only watch the news you have a completely different view."
He tells a story from the previous night.
"I picked up some Scandinavians from the airport, they had come for business. They said they were scared.
"I said, 'why are you scared?' They replied, 'because you've had war here'."
"I told them we are open and friendly people."
Sasa Ozmo, a journalist for Sport Klub, describes Djokovic as a "national hero" who deeply understands the responsibility he has of promoting the nation's image across the world.
"But not only is he an ambassador outwards to the world, but he is also an ambassador within," he says.
"For example, there is a huge rivalry with Croatia - obviously there was the war and things stay fresh - but Novak is always very public about his support for the Croatian national football team.
"That doesn't sit well with a lot of people here, but he is trying to change perspective. He's really good at that responsibility."
Recently Djokovic finished top of a national newspaper poll which asked young people in Serbia who they looked up to the most.
"He is a huge role model. We've had some really huge athletes who have inspired generations but they haven't inspired people in the same way Novak has done," Ozmo adds.
"For example, we have a basketball player called Vlade Divac who is also a huge global ambassador and played in the NBA during the bombings.
"But Novak's range is much wider - he is a 'catch all' hero in Serbia. The way his personality is he can identify with people.
"Tennis is the country's third sport behind football and basketball - but Novak is the most popular."
Novak Djokovic deserves more respect after Wimbledon victory - Boris Becker
Tennis fans must "wake up to the greatness" of Novak Djokovic after he won his 16th Grand Slam, says his former coach Boris Becker.
Serbia's Djokovic, 32, won his fifth Wimbledon title by beating Centre Court favourite Roger Federer in a classic.
Victory in the longest ever Wimbledon singles final moved him closer to Federer's men's record of 20 major triumphs. Rafael Nadal, with 18, separates the pair.
Djokovic struggled to win over a pro-Federer crowd, who clapped some of his misses and jeered him at one point during a tense final set.
"It triggered him to fight in the fifth set," said Becker, who coached Djokovic between 2013 and 2016.
"He got a bit riled and gave some stares to people in the crowd but that's how he works, that's how he ticks.
"There comes a point when you get frustrated, but I thought he handled himself well and was mentally well prepared."
Swiss second seed Federer, 37, was aiming for a record-extending ninth men's singles title at the All England Club, which would have matched Martina Navratilova's all-time leading tally.
Federer is the darling of the Centre Court crowd and was backed by the majority of the 15,000 fans in what became an increasingly partisan atmosphere.
That was most apparent when Djokovic was booed when he went over to chair umpire Damian Steiner to discuss what he felt was a late Hawk-Eye challenge from Federer.
"Federer is the greatest of all-time here and has the right to get that love, but on the other side you have to respect a four-time champion a little bit more," said Becker, a three-time winner at SW19.
"I hope next year, if they played again, it would be more even.
"He came into the party that was the Roger and Rafa party and he became the party pooper.
"Now, after 16 majors, people have got to wake up to the greatness of Novak Djokovic."
Djokovic retained his Wimbledon title by fighting off two championship points before beating Federer with a record four hours 57 minutes on the clock.
And Becker believes the world number one will not rest until he has surpassed Federer and Nadal.
"Novak is not quite happy yet," the German said. "He's one of the greatest of all of time but he wants to be the greatest of all time.
"He should be more than proud to have achieved 16 majors. If you told him that 15 years ago he would have said 'I don't believe you' and he would have taken one or two."
Djokovic's triumph means he has now won four of the past five Grand Slam titles and, being almost six years younger than Federer, could add plenty more barring a loss of form or fitness.
His pursuit of Federer and Nadal is made more remarkable by the fact he won his first major in 2008 - when Federer had claimed 13 and Nadal five - and only added a second three years later.
"Honestly I think he can overtake them, but I wouldn't like to say that for sure," said Becker. "The race is on.
"This endless talk of who will be the most successful will continue as long as all three of them are playing.
"I don't see the end of the road for any of the three. I believe all of them will win more Grand Slams.
"Novak's work ethic is 24/7 and he actually admitted at the end that Federer - still reaching Grand Slam finals at the age of 37 - inspired him."
Tim Henman, a former British number one and three-time Wimbledon semi-finalist, also believes Djokovic's hunger will only increase.
"This victory will motivate him to keep putting in the hard work and winning more titles. Federer and Nadal are very much in his sights," he added.
"He's a year younger than Nadal and five younger than Federer - we all know he fancies overtaking those two."
Djokovic's fifth Wimbledon win, in addition to triumphs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2018, saw him move alongside Swedish great Bjorn Borg in terms of Open era victories.
Only Federer (eight) and Pete Sampras (seven) have won more since the sport became open to professional players in 1968.
"I think because of Federer winning eight, it is sometimes lost that Djokovic is one of the greatest grass-court players in history," Henman said.
"He's up to five and you wouldn't put it past him winning more titles in future."
Federer, who turns 38 next month, was bidding to become the oldest Grand Slam men's singles champion in the Open era and missed two opportunities for the title at 8-7 in the decider before going on to lose about 45 minutes later.
"There's no doubt Federer will be massively disappointed," Henman said.
"In terms of disappointments in his career this will be right up there. To have two match points and against one of his biggest rivals on his favourite court - it will hurt.
"I know he's good at controlling his emotions, but this will sting for a long, long time."
Becker does not think Federer has seen his last chance of Wimbledon glory disappear, however.
"I think he can go from strength to strength. I was very impressed with his fitness and his quality of play against Nadal and Federer," he added.
"I don't see him slowing down yet."
Thanks! I was so far back I didn't even think I had a chance. Forgot that 32pts. were awarded for the
correct prediction in a Slam final and that it was doubled because I had picked Novak for my uWP.
Just last Saturday on my way to play tennis, this woman was screeching at a guy hitting on her, "I got a man, I got a man, I got a man" she kept yelling. Mind you, given the way she was dressed you'd think she was on the hunt for sure. She was wearing a pink lace bra as a top, bare midriff and painted on denim with gaping holes everywhere. In fact, she was wearing denim threads at best.
This was at work during lunch, so I was professionally dressed (red top and maxi length black skirt). I work at a large pharma company, so this guy must be new to the building (several international locations). I told him I had to go because my boss just returned from a three week vacation, and he said: "Oh yeah, whose your boss??" Everyone knows my boss (4th ranking in company), so I'm bracing, lol lol lol.
BTW, he's about 6'7" and thin, maybe a Latino/Black/European mix. No one can guess my age or ethnicity, lol, so he was studying me hard. Oh God!!