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“I will be proud for the rest of my life.” Djokovic broke a crazy record in Cincinnati in 2018

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 16:20:46

Carlos Alcaras and Novak Djokovic will meet this year in the final of the Cincinnati Masters. Alcaraz, 20, is yet to win a title in Ohio, and Djokovic, 36, will attempt to lift the cup here for the third time.

Cincinnati has long been perhaps the most uncomfortable tournament for Novak. The Serb won his first title at this Masters only in 2018, beating Roger Federer in the final (6: 4, 6: 4). Then Djokovic’s five-match losing streak in the Cincinnati final was finally snapped (he lost twice to Andy Murray, three times to Federer).

In addition, Novak conquered a record of madness. The Serb became the first tennis player in history to collect the Golden Masters: he won all nine tournaments in this series. In 2020, Djokovic won again in Cincinnati, and now he has two career Masters, which can generally be called unthinkable. Until the end of his career, he may have more if he beats Alcaraz in the next match and wins again in Monte Carlo. But it was five years ago that Novak accomplished a major feat, snapping a losing streak in Cincinnati.

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Few predicted that Djokovic would win in Cincinnati in 2018

By August 2018, Novak Djokovic’s track record included 30 Masters wins in total and eight out of a possible nine (Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Toronto/Montreal, Cincinnati, Shanghai, Paris). Surprisingly, Novak did not submit to the tough Cincinnati, although even the unpaved roads of Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome, which were considered Rafael Nadal’s heritage, he won at least a couple of times.

Why didn’t Djokovic do business in Cincinnati? Largely due to an unfortunate set of circumstances. The 21-year-old Novak lost his first final in 2008 to fellow Briton Andy Murray (6:7, 6:7) in a bitter fight. A year later, Djokovic lost to Roger Federer, the most experienced main (1: 6, 5: 7). Novak was unable to finish the 2011 final with Murray himself (4-6, 0-3) due to injury, although everything was going to defeat the Serb anyway. In 2012 and 2015, Federer stood in his way again (0:6, 6:7 and 6:7, 3:6), who performed better on the fast court in Cincinnati: 7 of the 28 Masters won by Roger ” by one run fell to Ohio. The Swiss celebrated a triumph here after almost every second visit (17 appearances).

Novak Djokovic lost three times to Roger Federer in the Cincinnati Masters final

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

In general, Cincinnati for Djokovic for a long time was a kind of analogue of Miami for Rafael Nadal, who also lost five times in the final matches in Florida. In 2018, this statement ceased to be relevant.

Novak was only the 10th seed in the historic tournament, following an injury-troubled season in 2017. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Juan Martín del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov made up the top five. Djokovic was listed above the bottom three, but few still believed he would take the title in Cincinnati even after Nadal’s elimination in a desire to save strength before the US Open. Still, Federer stayed in the game, and a week earlier, Novak disappointed at the Toronto Masters, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.

Djokovic did not fare very well over the tournament distance in Cincinnati. In the first round, Novak not without difficulty broke the little-known American Steve Johnson (6: 4, 7: 6), and in the next matches on the way to the final, he needed three sets to defeat the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino ( 4:6, 6:2, 6:1), the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (2:6, 6:3, 6:4), the Canadian Milos Raonic (7:5, 4:6, 6:3) and the Croatian Marin Cilic ( 6:4, 3:6, 6:3).

Novak Djokovic at the 2018 Cincinnati Masters

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Novak’s opponent in the final was expected to be Roger Federer. At the start of the Cincinnati Masters, the Swiss beat the German Peter Goevchik (6:4, 6:4) and the Argentine Leonardo Mayer (6:1, 7:6) in two sets, after which he had many difficulties facing to his compatriot Stan Wawrinka (6:7, 7:6, 6:2). In the semifinals, Roger did not expend much energy, as his Belgian opponent David Goffin withdrew due to health problems at the beginning of the second set with a score of 6:7, 1:1.

Federer kept more fresh, while Novak was exhausted. Behind Roger there was a success story in Cincinnati, including in the finals with Djokovic. Hard in Ohio is considered one of the fastest on the tour. All this spoke in favor of the 37-year-old Federer, although age was already taking its toll, and Novak’s chances of taking the title in Ohio were definitely higher than before.

In the first set, Djokovic completed 45% of the losing innings without giving Federer a single break point. At the same time, Novak held on to the opponent’s advance and made a break when the score was 3:3. In the decisive moment of the match, Federer double-faulted and then missed the ball, without calculating the rebound. After that, the Swiss cursed for a long time and received an unusual reprimand for profanity. Roger suddenly stopped working forehand, attempts to improve the game resulted in stupid mistakes. This determined the result of the first game in favor of Djokovic – 6:4.

Early in the second set, Federer seemed to recover and immediately hit a break, but then gave up his own serve due to repeated attacking failures. Roger couldn’t land a simple spike, he hit the wire as he reached the net. Novak took full advantage of such “gifts” and restored equality.

Roger Federer at the 2018 Cincinnati Masters

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Decisive in the match was the seventh game of the second installment. Federer was 0:40 behind on his shot, but found the strength to rally. However, in the game of nerves about “more or less” Djokovic surpassed the Swiss. Novak did not give his opponent a chance to recover, he took two games on his serve without problems, winning the set and the match: 6: 4, 6: 4.

Djokovic took a 24-22 lead over Federer for his third straight victory. This is an important point, but not the main one. The long-awaited Cincinnati Masters Cup was finally in Novak’s hands, and he took it in a battle with the seven-time Swiss champion (all-time tournament record).

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Comments from Djokovic and Federer after Novak’s historic achievement

Djokovic was delighted to be the first player in history to win all nine Masters tournaments.

“Certainly this is one of the highlights of my career. Such achievements in my favorite sport are a great honor and I will be very proud of them for the rest of my life. During the tournament, I said that this trophy motivates me. But at the same time, I tried not to think about the pressure, which could go down in history. I have already had failed attempts. From a psychological point of view, it was not very easy for me, because I lost all the matches on this pitch with Roger. But at the same time, I liked my chances, because as the tournament went on, I felt better and better.

In the final, I showed the best game of this week. It’s a new emotion for me because I won this trophy for the first time and I beat Roger in this tournament. It’s very nice to share the field with a great player, and I mean it sincerely. Federer, Nadal: these guys have played a key role in my life, career, in my tennis evolution. They make me show my best game, he adds. They made me think about what I have to do to be the best in the world. Of course, winning Wimbledon this year shifted my focus to Toronto and Cincinnati. I felt more confident, I felt like I just needed a little more matches.

I didn’t play very well in Toronto, but I felt that if I played two or three games, I could improve, as it happened before. This experience helped me to believe in myself and approach the task correctly. I am happy, proud and very satisfied, full of great emotions. I played in the final five times, but I was not successful. I kept fighting, and it was getting harder and harder. So it’s very nice. It’s hard for me to compare,” Djokovic said.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic after the 2018 Masters final in Cincinnati

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Roger Federer urged to pay tribute to Djokovic and not focus on his own mistakes.

“Novak is a great champion and that should be the main thing. We should talk about this, not my mistakes at the front desk. The main thing is that it rewrites history. We can talk about any kind of joke, but the headlines have to be about Novak. This is an incredible achievement and I hope he is incredibly proud and incredibly happy. All of the player’s achievements will end up in a stack, and you’ll say, “What’s the best thing you’ve ever done?” For Novak, winning every Masters could be the answer, in addition to all the Slams and other things he’s already done.

Winning the Masters is incredibly difficult. These tournaments are not easy. You’ve seen my performance today. The week turned out to be very long, hard, exhausting. The best tennis players play here, the opponents are difficult from the beginning, so there is almost no time to pick up the pace and work on the game during the tournament. Novak does, perhaps best of all. And this is an incredible achievement. I don’t even want to look for reasons why I lost serve three times or took his second serve wrong. It just happened. Novak deserved to win and I didn’t play well enough. Alright. It was a good tournament, but I’m glad it’s over and I need to rest. So it’s okay,” Federer said.

Career Masters or Golden Masters is a crazy achievement for tennis. Of course, the Masters is far from the Grand Slam tournaments in terms of prestige. However, the “Helmet” race is clearly easier to ride. Simply because there are only four different competitions to win, not nine. The “Helmet” career appears on the resume of Djokovic himself, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Fred Perry, Donald Budge. In the “Open Era”, only the “Big Three” in the person of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, Agassi and Laver submitted to such a thing. In addition, Novak has three Slams in his career after the victory at Roland Garros 2023, while Rafa has two.

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There are quite a few names for the TBSH race, which cannot be said for the Masters. Novak Djokovic is the first and so far the only tennis player in history to have won all nine titles in this category. The achievement looks particularly impressive in terms of detail. Federer and Nadal did not take even eight: Roger did not win in Monte Carlo and Rome (losing four finals each), and Rafa cannot boast of triumphing in Miami (five finals) and Paris (one).

In Cincinnati, Novak for the second time did what Federer and Nadal couldn’t. In the 2015-2016 segment, Djokovic won four Grand Slam tournaments in a row. Over time, this list has only expanded. Now Novak is a 23-time TBS champion, ahead of Roger (20) and Rafa (22), also in the Masters – 38 titles against 28 and 36 for the Swiss and the Spanish, respectively. Djokovic has won every Slam at least three times and has a head-to-head advantage over Federer (27:23) and Nadal (30:29). The debate about the greatest tennis player of all time is almost meaningless, and for the rest of his career, Novak certainly won’t leave any significant arguments in favor of the followers of Roger and Rafa.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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