Dejected Novak Djokovic looks for answers after Miami Open defeat

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after losing a game against Benoit Paire of France (not pictured) on day four of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park. Paire won 6-3, 6-4. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 24 March 2018
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Dejected Novak Djokovic looks for answers after Miami Open defeat

MIAMI: Six-time champion Novak Djokovic “ran out of gas” in a straight sets loss to Benoit Paire, while the red-hot Juan Martin Del Potro won his opening match at the ATP Miami Masters on Friday.
It was another setback for the Serbian star Djokovic as he bids to return from the elbow injury that sidelined him for six months and finally saw him have “minor” surgical intervention after a disappointing Australian Open.
“I’m trying, but it’s not working,” said Djokovic, who lost his opener 6-3, 6-4. “That’s all it is. I mean, obviously I’m not feeling great when I’m playing this way.”
“Of course I want to be able to play as well as I want to play. Just, it’s impossible at the moment. That’s all.”
While Djokovic is struggling, world number six Del Potro is headed in the opposite direction. The 29-year-old Argentine showed why he is the hottest player on the ATP Tour right now with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Robin Haase in his second round match.
Paire broke Djokovic at love to seal the win, Djokovic dumping a backhand into the net on the Frenchman’s first match point.
“I felt I started the match well, first six games,” Djokovic said. “Then I just ran out of gas. He was serving well. I just wasn’t able to break him down. He was just coming up with the good shots at the right time. It happened very fast.”
Djokovic had also lost his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters last week. But he was encouraged in Miami this week to find himself playing without pain for the first time “in years.”
He said a lack of match fitness was “one of the things” preventing him from gaining any steam in his bid to return to his top form.
But he said that in attempting to play through injury for so long, “I compromised my game and the movement and everything ... I’m trying to figure things out.
“I wanted to come to Indian Wells and Miami because I wanted to see whether I can play a match,” he said. “I love playing on the hard court. I wanted to get a couple of tournaments before the clay court season starts.
“I obviously wasn’t ready for that.”
Although he had planned for the two Stateside hardcourt tournaments to be a precursor to a full clay court season, Djokovic sounded unsure after the defeat.
“That was the plan,” he said when asked if he felt ready to head into the Monte Carlo Masters Aril 14-22. “But let’s see what happens.”
Former US Open winner Del Potro extended his win streak to 12 straight matches as he seeks his third straight ATP title after winning back-to-back in Acapulco and Indian Wells.
Del Potro blasted five aces and won 79 percent of his first-serve points in the two hour and nine minute match.
Del Potro moves on to the third round where he will battle 26th seeded Kei Nishikori who needed three sets to eliminate Aussie qualifier John Millman 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3
In other matches on Friday, second seed Marin Cilic, of Croatia, eased past Pierre-Hugues Herbert, of France, 7-5, 6-3; Canada’s Milos Raonic rolled over Swede Mikael Ymer 6-3, 6-3; third seeded Grigor Dimitrov defeated Maximilian Marterer 4-6, 6-2, 6-1; and South Korea’s Chung Hyeon toppled unseeded Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-5.


‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

Al-Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Musa (back right) joins (front left to right) Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Habsi and Mohammad Jahfali and (back left) Saleh Alweheemed ahead of this weekend’s 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 December 2018
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‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

  • 22 Formula E drivers will battle it out for glory this weekend
  • "I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports"

JEDDAH: They may be fierce rivals in the Saudi Pro League, but some of the biggest stars of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football got together to tour the venue of one of the most anticipated motor racing events in Saudi history.
The players soaked up the atmosphere as they visited the home of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix.
This weekend the 2.495km track created within the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah will see 22 Formula E drivers battle it out for glory.
Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi said: “I’m totally amazed by what they have built here, the track, the grandstands, the hospitality, it’s incredible what they’ve created for the Formula E.  It’s epic.
“As a professional athlete I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports, this will be a fiercely fought contest which is sure to thrill the fans.”

 (Left to right) Al Hilal star players Alberto Botia, Abdullah Almaiouf, Mohammad Jahfali, Ali Al-Habsi and Carlos Eduardo visit the new Formula E track at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah. (Photo/Supplied)

The racing extravaganza will also be accompanied by fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions.
Three nights of music concerts will feature some of the biggest names in world. 
US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will wrap up the event after the race ends on Saturday with Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab performing from Thursday.
Al Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Mussa said: “We’re all about entertaining fans and bringing people together, that’s what football and sport is all about. These three nights will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen before and I urge our fans to come and be part of history.”