London :After two years of turbulence Novak Djokovic was flying high in clear blue skies again after winning a fourth Wimbledon title he believes can act as a springboard to a glorious new chapter in his career.
A 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3) defeat of Kevin Anderson on Centre Court ended a two-year hiatus in his Grand Slam title collecting and put him on 13 — fourth on the all-time list behind Pete Sampras (14), Rafael Nadal (17) and Roger Federer (20).
“I can’t look too far on the road because I have to embrace and cherish this kind of accomplishment,” the 31-year-old Serbian told reporters.
“If you asked me a month and a half ago whether I think I can win Wimbledon, part of me would say yes, I hope, but maybe I wasn’t that sure at that time of my level.
“This is obviously very pleasing and satisfying to be able to play the way I played in the last couple of tournaments, in Queen’s and Wimbledon.
“This is going to be a huge confidence boost and springboard for whatever is coming up and for the rest of my career.”
Novak Djokovic picks out a blade of grass and eats it as he celebrates his victory over Kevin Anderson
When Djokovic won his first French Open in 2016 he became the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time. He was top of the rankings and his iron-like grip on men’s tennis appeared unshakable.
Two years on he was bundled out of the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato — his form still erratic after admitting he came back too early from surgery he underwent on his elbow in February.
That injury forced him to retire hurt at last year’s Wimbledon, miss the U.S. Open and bow out early at this year’s Australian Open.
He even suggested in a furious reaction to the Cecchinato defeat he might not even play at Wimbledon.
All that now looks like ancient history with Djokovic set to return to the world’s top 10 after falling outside the top 20 for the first time since 2006.
“There were several moments where I was frustrated and questioning whether I can get back to the desired level,” Djokovic, who produced a vintage performance to beat Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-finals, said.
“That makes this whole journey even more special for me. It’s easy to talk now. But I look back at it and I’m grateful that I went through these mixed emotions, turbulences, mentally moments of doubt and disappointment and frustration.
“It’s usually in a struggle that you get to know yourself, you get to have an opportunity to rise like a phoenix and evolve and get better.”
Djokovic said returning to work with long-time coach and mentor Marian Vajda this year had been a key part of the return to form. He had begun the year with former Czech player Czech Radek Stepanek and Andre Agassi as part of his entourage.
“We talked actually post-match (today). It seems like (Marian’s) planning to keep on working with me, which is great news. We going to keep on working till the end of the year for sure, then we’ll see after that,” Djokovic said.
Women’s football team better than men’s, says Chhetri
New Delhi: The FIFA ranking says so and India football captain Sunil Chhetri too has no qualms in conceding that the national women’s team is better than the men’s side. The men’s team is currently ranked 103rd out of 211 countries, after being in the top-100 last year. The women’s side is currently 62nd out of 152 nations.
Chhetri, the poster boy of Indian football with second-most goals among active international players, praised the national women’s team for its fifth consecutive SAFF title win. “Extremely proud of all of you. I have always maintained that the women’s team is much better than the men,” Chhetri said.
The women’s team will feature in Round 2 of the Olympics qualifiers, which kick off in Mandalay in Myanmar on April 3.
I will be first one to hang my boots when time comes: Yuvraj on retirement
Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh’s cricketing future has been a topic of discussion for some years now but the player said he would be the first one to bid adieu when he felt that his time is up.
Out of national team’s scheme of things for good, Yuvraj has had a poor track record in the IPL but started on a bright note with a half-century for his latest franchise Mumbai Indians.
“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang my boots,” Yuvraj told the media after MI’s 37-run defeat against Delhi Capitals in the IPL opener.
However, India’s 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup hero did admit that at times he felt indecisive about carrying on.
“The last two years, have been up and down (for me). And I could not decide on what to do,” said the 37-year-old.
Yuvraj said when on introspection, he found that he is still enjoying the game just as he did as an U-16 cricketer not thinking about national team selection.
“The main thing for me was why I played the game when I started off. I played the game because I enjoyed playing cricket. When I enjoyed playing cricket, I was not playing for India. I was playing for U-14s and U-16s. So till the time, I enjoy playing cricket, I am going to play.”
The veteran left-hander spoke to Sachin Tendulkar, who could relate with his situation as to how he felt when he was at the business end of his career.
“I have been speaking to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through that time when he was 37-38-39 (and how he felt). Talking to him makes things easier for me. And I am just playing because I enjoy playing cricket pretty much,” he signed off.
Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid job : Mourinho
London: Jose Mourinho has said that he believes Zinedine Zidane is the right man for the Real Madrid managerial position.
Zidane was re-appointed as Madrid’s head coach earlier this month, just 10 months after he had resigned from the same position.
After Solari’s dismissal, many tipped Mourinho to return to the Santiago Bernabeu after he had been sacked as Manchester United boss in December.
Mourinho was Madrid’s manager from 2010 to 2013, but the Blancos instead opted to bring back three-time Champions League winner Zidane.
And Mourinho himself has now said that the Blancos made the right call, adding that the Frenchman is just getting started in his managerial career despite what he has already achieved.
“I do not think we can talk about a career for him yet,” Mourinho said of Zidane on Canal Plus.
“But in a very short time, he did what no one had done before, that is winning three consecutive Champions Leagues”.
“Now he is starting a new step in his career. He has to build a team, he has to make choices, buy players, sell them. He has to train them, give them his philosophy of play.
“I think he’s probably the best person for this club.”
Mourinho has not been shy about his desire to return to club management, and said this week he has already turned down a number of job offers.
The Portuguese said that he’s growing more eager to return every day.
“Day after day, I miss training. I’m not going to hide it,” Mourinho said.
“There’s something going on in my head, winning a fifth league and a new Champions League with a third club.”