Djokovic: Pressure to stay No. 1 ‘a privilege’

Novak Djokovic hits a return shot against Denis Shapovalov of Canada. (AP )
Updated 10 October 2019

Djokovic: Pressure to stay No. 1 ‘a privilege’

  • The 32-year-old from Serbia made a fast start to his title defense

SHANGHAI: Novak Djokovic said on Wednesday that he was “embracing” the pressure of being world No. 1 and reigning champion at the Shanghai Masters this week.

The 32-year-old from Serbia made a fast start to his title defense, easing past young Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-3 with minimum fuss.

Fresh from winning career title 76 in Tokyo, Djokovic will play big-serving American John Isner in the last 16 in China.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion said he had no pain from the shoulder injury that forced him out of the US Open last 16 and is “confident that I can perform at my best.” 

Djokovic said that sky-high expectations are “part of what we do.” 

“But it’s also a privilege and a sign or kind of an indicator that you’re doing something that is important and that you’re doing well,” he said.

“I think when you feel pressure you’re doing well.

“It’s something that is inevitable so you might as well embrace it and accept it.”

Two rising stars of men’s tennis went toe-to-toe when Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Felix Auger-Aliassime clashed.

Tsitsipas defeated the 19-year-old 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3) for his first victory over the Canadian stretching all the way back to their junior days.

The 21-year-old Tsitsipas, who plays Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the last 16, said that he had always been behind Auger-Aliassime in his physical development — until now.

Standing 6-foot-4 (193cm), the seventh-ranked Greek insists he is still not as strong as some on the ATP Tour.

“I think something that probably I’m trying to cover that deficiency that I have is not concentrate too much on my power and my strength and how hard I can hit,” he said.

“Maybe play smarter and play more with my mind and not with my physical power.”

Another of the new generation hoping to usurp the likes of Djokovic and Federer is the 22-year-old Alexander Zverev.

The young German had a bout of dizziness during an incident-packed victory over French underdog Jeremy Chardy, 7-6 (15/13), 7-6 (7/3).

Zverev apologized to a television cameraman after he accidentally hit a ball square into his jaw in winning a point.

Zverev was also seen by a doctor in the first set and in another colorful moment he smashed his racquet on the floor during the mammoth first-set tie break.

The second-set tie break had a lighter moment — Zverev losing his grip while hitting a shot, his racquet flying into the crowd.

“It was definitely interesting,” smiled Zverev, who plays Russia’s Andrey Rublev.


Fury and Wilder weigh in big for their big heavyweight fight

Updated 41 min 47 sec ago

Fury and Wilder weigh in big for their big heavyweight fight

  • The two unbeaten heavyweights meet in a showdown just 14 months after they fought to a draw in a dramatic fight in Los Angeles

LAS VEGAS: Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder made one last appearance Friday before their big heavyweight title fight, weighing in and taunting each other before a raucous crowd at the MGM Grand arena.
Wilder weighed 231 pounds, the heaviest of his career, for his 11th title defense. Fury, meanwhile, tipped the scales at 273 pounds, just 3 pounds short of his heaviest ever, too, for Saturday night’s rematch.
The fighters jawed at each other from a distance after getting on the scales in the arena. Nevada boxing officials ruled they would not have a faceoff after pushing each other at the final press conference on Wednesday.
Thousands of fans, most of them supporting Fury, jammed the arena, waiting for several hours for the fighters to make their brief appearance on the scales. Though separated, the two fighters jawed at each other, much like they did at the press conference promoting the pay-per-view bout.
``I just told him, `24 hours, 24 hours,’’’ Wilder said. ``He’s nervous, nervous energy as always.’’
The two unbeaten heavyweights meet in a showdown just 14 months after they fought to a draw in a dramatic fight in Los Angeles. The fight is arguably the biggest heavyweight bout since Lennox Lewis demolished Mike Tyson in 2002, and both fighters could make some $40 million if the pay-per-view sells well.

Wilder weighed in at 231 pounds. (AFP)

Fury weighed in 16.5 pounds heavier than the first fight, and just 3 pounds short of what he weighed in his first comeback fight in 2018 after being out of the ring with drug and alcohol problems. Wilder was also heavier than expected, weighing 18.5 pounds more than the first fight.
``The weight’s not a problem,’’ the 6-foot-9 Fury said. ``It’s 273 pounds of pure British beef.’’
A fight that promises intriguing matchups matches two fighters with claims to titles — Fury’s is the mythical lineal crown — in a rematch of their draw a little more than a year ago. In that fight, Fury dominated the boxing but Wilder knocked him down in the ninth and 12th rounds before the judges scored it a draw.
Fury (29-0-1, 20 knockouts) predicted in the weeks leading up to the fight he would weigh about 270 pounds. He said he added the weight because he intends to go after Wilder from the opening bell in the rematch to try and score an early knockout.
``At the end of the day, we’re heavyweights,’’ Wilder said. ``So it doesn’t really matter about the weight.’’
In addition to the weight, Fury will have to deal with the possibility of the cut suffered around his right eye in his last fight will reopen. He usually trains without headgear but used it for the rematch because of the 47 stitches it took to sew the cut up after his hard-fought win in September against Sweden’s Otto Wallin.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 knockouts) is making the 11th defense of the crown he won in 2015, the same year Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko to win a piece of the title. Fury didn’t fight for more than two years after that, giving up his crown as he descended into mental and drug problems and his weight ballooned to 375 pounds.