Slowly squeeze and drown Alexander Zverev little by little, until the liberating moment arrives: with 3-1 down in the third set and the German more and more threatening, Novak Djokovic bursts the racket against the floor of the center and the graphite splinters are scattered across the bottom. It is the beginning of the end. The beginning of the end of his rival. The three impacts have a cathartic effect for the number one, which from then on unlocks the duel with the office of the chosen ones and a tennis available to very few. After 3h 30m, the Serbian signs his access to the semifinals (6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-4 and 7-6 (6) and meets the Russian Aslan Karatsev, a tennis player who disputes his first big and occupies 114th place in the ranking .
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Djokovic enlarges at the right time. Beyond suspicions about his ailments on the right side , the Balkan has offered an endurance recital in a pulse that has turned him uphill and in which he has shown the best of his repertoire, although still with room for progression. Zverev has made them have a hard time for a long time, but Nole is Nole, and he is always there. He should never be considered dead. Feel more or less pain, the Belgrade man defends his sovereignty on a track that belongs to him, like Roger Federer at Wimbledon or Rafael Nadal at Roland. Garros. Melbourne is part of its territory, so it will go with everything.
“It has been a relief for me, although I would not recommend doing it, ”he jokes when asked about that gesture that marked the turning point of the match, a true emotional and sporting roller coaster. “Of course I'm not proud of these kinds of moments, but in circumstances like this you go through an inner battle. I have my own demons, and surely others too. We are all different. I have not done it with the intention of helping me, but it has really helped me. Poor racket… ”, explains the current king of the circuit, who deals with an adverse present: the muscle that entangles and, above all, the tension of winning the 18th big that would narrow the great historic race.
Nole explains that at this point, and in the situation in which he finds himself, and in reality the majority because the quarantine is wreaking havoc on the bodies of the tennis players, who since he began to suffer the problems he has stopped training, and that he is one hundred percent concentrated in your recovery. "The priority is recovery," he says.
"I don't feel like I need to train for an hour and a half, because in the last two months I've already worked what I had to do in terms of tennis," he adds satisfied, after having a bad time while against Zverev. In any case, almost always accurate to put out fires on the track. Each break option (six out of nine at the end) is a paradise for him, while again and again he denies the German (3/12), who has a cannon on the right (225 km / h) but runs into that masterful subtractor that returns everything. Only in this way can he succeed in a tournament in which the service weighs more if possible, with the fast track at its best. Applied
, Djokovic closes his intervention towards the semifinals with 23 aces , two more than his rival. But before that, he had to solve a big mess. When it seemed that he was going to take the first set he escaped, and when he began to build the victory, Zverev slows him down and accelerates in the third. Then comes the fury, the racket. The devils already known. Also, redemption. "We have pushed ourselves to the limit," he details. On and on at the same time, he scratches five consecutive games to win the set. Now yes, he is closer to where he wanted, but the boy from Hamburg wants to fight and starts like a shot in the fourth, with a ball to make it 4-0 and lead the match towards the alley that interests him. , does not hit, does not let Djokovic and this goes into combustion. He balances and begins to tighten the rope, although Zverev resists. But the fate of the German is already decided. Nole wears a spear and shield, and catches a victory that tastes like glory and places him in a position of strength in the face of Thursday's litigation with first-time Karatsev.
"THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH"
In the appearance after his victory, Djokovic was asked if there is a relationship between the physical problems of the players and the formula used by the Australian Federation for the tournament to be played. And the Serbian, of course, prolonged his answer for several minutes. “I don't want to sit here and complain,” he started, “but this is not normal. There are those who have had a worse time than me and the other top , but realistically, this is not good for us from a mental or physical point of view, "he continued. “We hope [the quarantine thing] is temporary. I have spoken with many players and they do not want to continue in this way if we are going to have to do one in each tournament we go to. I have spoken with some members of the Players Council and they have told me that they are in talks with the ATP, and I am waiting for answers ”, continued Nole. According to him, he has contacted some members of the Players Council, who in turn discuss the issue with the ATP. "I'm waiting for answers," he said; “This is definitely not good for us in terms of health. If we talk about economic aspects, here the usual prizes are distributed and obviously that is one of the reasons why many have come here, accepting the quarantine. But it will not be in other tournaments like the 250 or the 500, which have drastically reduced them ”. And he concluded: “I am not singled out, I only tell the truth, I tell what is happening. And we have to talk. We have to come up with a solution, maybe something like the NBA bubble; choose a place and play all the tournaments there, on that surface and that place. I don't know what will happen. Realistically, here in Australia the experience is much better than in Europe, in terms of restrictions. The physical well-being of the players is a very important issue, and it has to be scheduled. ”
Australia: results (Tuesday 15) and order of play (Wednesday 16) .