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Sport Djokovic sponsor's unforgiveable pre-final gaffe

04:36  20 february  2021
04:36  20 february  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

Djokovic staggers on through Open drama

  Djokovic staggers on through Open drama Champion Novak Djokovic had to overcome injury to battle through the third round of the Australian Open with a sensational five-set win over Taylor Fritz.Djokovic, struggling with a side injury, ultimately claimed a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 win over Taylor Fritz but admitted afterwards that he didn't know if he'd be fit for the next round of his title defence at Melbourne Park.

New York Times tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg has sent Twitter into a spin the morning before the Australian Open men's final, sharing a screen shot of the Head website congratulating Novak Djokovic on a "record-breaking" ninth Australian Open title.

Head is Djokovic's racquet sponsor, with the Serbian star's image plastered all over its advertising as one of the company's top ambassadors.

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Russia's Aslan Karatsev in their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill) © AP Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Russia's Aslan Karatsev in their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Rothenberg, the journalist whose No Challenges Remaining podcast sent the feud between Nick Kyrgios and Djokovic nuclear after the Aussie gave his brutally honest thoughts on the controversial world No.1, tweeted the screen shot, which appeared to be from a page within Head's website, with the caption: "HEAD getting aHEAD of themselves."

Australian Open 2021: Nick Kyrgios takes swipe at Novak Djokovic over latest injury

  Australian Open 2021: Nick Kyrgios takes swipe at Novak Djokovic over latest injury Nick Kyrgios has taken a subtle swipe at Novak Djokovic as the pair continue their off-court feud. Djokovic took five sets to overcome American Taylor Fritz in their Australian Open third round clash on Friday with the world number one forced to dig deep as he seemingly struggled with injury. Fritz belatedly took to social media to congratulate his opponent on the hard-fought win and Kyrgios was quick to chime in as he questioned Djokovic's use of medical breaks. "Really tough way to go out at #ausopen so close to something big after fighting as hard as I could," Fritz posted on Instagram.

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1362874522920251396?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Wide World of Sports attempted to find the page on Head's website but could not.

Djokovic has won eight Australian Open titles and will play for his ninth tomorrow night when he faces Russian star Daniil Medvedev, who has won 20 straight matches and is arguably the hottest player on the ATP Tour.

While the Serbian star will start Sunday night's match a warm favourite, Medvedev is arguably the toughest match-up you could throw at the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

The pair have played each other seven times with Djokovic holding a narrow 4-3 edge, although the Russian world No.4 has won three of their last four clashes.

They last played in November in the ATP Finals, with Medvedev winning emphatically, 6-3 6-3 on his way to the biggest title of his career. He also beat world No.2 Rafael Nadal and world No.3 Dominic Thiem in that tournament.

Zverev embraces challenge of Djokovic

  Zverev embraces challenge of Djokovic Alexander Zverev knows he will need to be at his very best if he is to topple Melbourne Park specialist Novak Djokovic.After a surprisingly tricky round-one clash with American Marcos Giron, the towering German has hit his stride with three successive straight-sets victories, most recently against Serb Dusan Lajovic.

Daniil Medvedev holding a racket on a court: Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after winning a game in his men's singles semi-final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas. © Getty Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after winning a game in his men's singles semi-final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Speaking ahead of Medvedev's sparkling straight sets semi-final victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas Nine's Jim Courier said Djokovic would be far happier facing the Greek for the trophy on Sunday night.

" ... if he plays against Medvedev it's going to be super physical and keep in mind in the third round of this tournament Novak suffered an injury to his mid-section and that stymied him a little bit," Courier told Wide World of Sports' The Morning Serve yesterday.

"He's managed his way to another final, don't get me wrong, he knows how to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but he hasn't been 100 per cent and going up against Medvedev promises to be a very, very physical encounter one would think.


Video: Osaka lets Serena back into it (Wide World of Sports)

Qualifier Karatsev's dream run faces Djokovic barrier

  Qualifier Karatsev's dream run faces Djokovic barrier Qualifier Karatsev's dream run faces Djokovic barrierThe top-ranked men's player would not be the only one in the tennis circuit who would not have previously heard of the 114th-ranked Russian Aslan Karatsev, 27, before 2021.

"And I think that Novak would relish something that was a little bit more predictable and possibly a little shorter."

There is already a bit of an edge to the final, with Djokovic telling Eurosport on Thursday night that, having won all eight Australian Open finals he has played on Rod Laver Arena, he had nothing to fear from a 'next gen' opponent that is yet to change tennis' world order, with 'the big three' of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer still the giants of the sport.

"Certainly they will be the leaders of the future of tennis, without a doubt, but I'm not going to stand here and hand it over to them," he said.

"I'm going to make them work their a--- off for it,

"With all my respect about the other guys, they still have a lot of work to do."

Medvedev, who is never one to shirk a fight, used Djokovic's words against him after winning his semi-final, claiming that he was under no pressure to win, because the Serbian had to make every post a winner to chase down Federer and Nadal at the top of the Grand Slam leaderboard.

"I think he's the favorite because he didn't lose. In eight occasions that he was here in the semis he won the tournament," Medvedev said after his semi-final win.

Medvedev sees off Tsitsipas to march into Australian Open final

  Medvedev sees off Tsitsipas to march into Australian Open final Medvedev sees off Tsitsipas to march into Australian Open finalMELBOURNE (Reuters) - Russia's Daniil Medvedev lived up to Novak Djokovic's praise as the "man to beat" at the Australian Open when he charged into his first Melbourne Park final with an impressive 6-4 6-2 7-5 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday.

"I'm the challenger, the guy that challenge the guy who was eight times in the final and won eight times, and I'm happy about it.

"When I say no pressure, for sure when we get out there we both feel pressure. I want to win my first one. He wants to win No. 18. We don't know for who the crowd is going to be.

"It's all the small details. I think if we talk in general, well, I have nothing to lose, to be honest."

Medvedev added that Djokovic had every right to be treated as tennis' king until someone took his throne from him.

"When Novak says he's not gonna hand anything to somebody, I believe him. I'm not gonna say I don't trust him. I trust him," he said.

"So I know that to beat him you need to just show your best tennis, be at your best physically maybe four or five hours, and be at your best mentally maybe for five hours.

"Never know how the match is going to go. I would say to win a Slam, especially against somebody (like) Novak, is already a big motivation, and I don't think there is anything that can make it bigger.

"I like Novak. I appreciate him as a tennis player, and I should say as a person.

"So I don't take these words for sure as something negative. As I say, I'm quite motivated without those words."

Medvedev has grown a reputation for using external sources to put a chip on his shoulder, giving him an edge when he walks out onto the court.

He relishes crowds that barrack against him, in much the same way as Djokovic does.

So, whoever from Head erred by publishing a pre-emptive web page celebrating a Grand Slam victory that Djokovic doesn't have yet may just have given his Russian opponent ammunition for Sunday.

That's bad news for the world No.1, even if he does deserve his 'favourite' tag going in to what looms as an absorbing Australian Open decider.

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Novak Djokovic shifts focus to Grand Slams after achieving 'historic' milestone .
Along with a ninth Australian Open and an 18th Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic quietly ticked off another major milestone with his 7-5 6-2 6-2 win over Daniil Medvedev on Sunday. The Serb now can't be stopped in his efforts to overhaul Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks as world number one. And the achievement could have big implications for Djokovic's pursuit of Federer and Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam win numbers.

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