jelena gencic

Roland Garros Day 7: Links Roundup with Haas, Federer, Sharapova, Schiavone and more

Roland Garros Roundup takes you through the Slam’s hot stories of the day, both on and off the court.

Shot of the Day: Rafael Nadal sets up for a serve on Philippe Chatrier court as the crowd cheers him on. It may have been a straight set 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 victory, but the Spaniard allowed his opponent Fabio Fognini to get too comfortable, threatening each and every game from the first ball. Nadal will have to step up his game if he wishes to raise the trophy again.

ATP News: In this ATP World Tour article, Roger Federer discusses his life as a dad, Kevin Anderson talks about the future of tennis in Africa, John Isner reveals his increasingly healthy eating habits (sans beer), Grigor Dimitrov dresses up as a clown, Martin Klizan dishes on his calf tattoo, and Ryan Harrison explains his admiration of LeBron James. Who said the ATP is boring?

American women march on: Serena Williams, as comes to no surprise to anyone, will be sticking around for the second week in Paris. Joining her, less expectedly, are Sloane Stephens, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Jamie Hampton. ESPN’s Tennis section discusses the victories of these three women in addition to the victories of Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Jankovic. Moving forward, things are only going to get tougher for the Americans to which Sloane Stephens stated, “This is my favorite tournament but winning it would be a long shot.”

Viktor Troicki looks back: After an impressive first week which included victories over James Blake, Daniel-Gimeno Traver, and Marin Cilic, Viktor Troick took time out with the Roland Garros team. In this video, Troicki talks about his first time playing tennis, his first match as a kid, his first tournament won, and several other firsts in his tennis career.

Sharapova, Bryans want Hawkeye at the French: Taking a position on a debate which I’m sure is going to be hotly contested in years to come, the Bryan Brothers and Maria Sharapova, as Douglas Robson of USA Today reports, “called for the use of Hawkeye after coming out on the losing end of calls.” Sharapova’s main concern was over “the fact that the umpire did not recognize that the mark he pointed out was about a foot away from the actually mark” in a dispute over a call during her third round match against Zheng Jie.

Bob Bryan pulls a Stakhovsky: As a corollary to the USA Today article and as Courtney Nguyen of Sports Illustrated reports, Bob Bryan took a page out of Serigy Stakhovsky’s book during his second-round doubles match Saturday. Bob felt the chair umpire missed a call and was so irritated that he took it upon himself to take out his cell-phone and take a picture of the disputed mark. Not sure if this trend will continue, but the debate over using Hawkeye on clay, as clearly demonstrated, certainly will. 

French Fury: After being issued a point penalty for coaching on set point in the second set of his third round match with Kei Nishikori, Benoit Paire began to angrily argue with chair umpire Enric Molina of Spain. This came after Paire had already received a code violation for breaking a racket. Following the match, which Paire lost in four sets, the Frenchman further ripped into Molina as Sports Illustrated reports. 

“I think that the chair umpire wanted to be a promotion. I think if Rafael Nadal or some good player do the same thing, for sure he doesn’t put warning [penalty point].”

Francesca Schiavone dashes French hopes: In a marvelously played match against Marion Bartoli, Francesca Schiavone eliminated the final Frenchwoman from the tournament. Bartoli applauded the efforts of her Italian opponent stating, “On clay she is a terrific opponent.  On clay this is a player who is very, very dangerous.”

Tommy Haas discusses victory: German Tommy Haas was unable to convert any of the 12 match points he had in the fourth set in his third round match against American John Isner. After falling behind a break in the fifth set, Haas rallied, saved a match point, and took out the American on his 13th match point. In his press conference, Haas commented on the fourth set match points asserting, “The way he was saving those match points, serving the way he did there’s really nothing I could have done.”

Angelique Kerber delighted to advance: David Cox of the New York Times described Angelique Kerber’s reaction after defeating Varvara Lepchenko in the third round as a “primal scream” in which “relief, joy, and pure adrenaline combined to create a spine-tingling moment.” Kerber attested to the thrill this victory gave her saying, “It meant a lot. It was very tough and close match and I had a lot of up and downs so I was so happy to win.”

Jelena Genic passes: In extremely sad news, Novak Djokovic’s childhood coach, the first coach of his tennis career, Jelena Gencic, passed away at the age of 76 as USA Today reports. After crushing Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in his third round match Saturday, the Serb cancelled his post-match interview.

“After his victory over Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokovic learned of the death of his first coach, Jelena Gencic, who passed away today in Belgrade,” a statement released by French Open officials said. “Clearly affected by this sad news, Novak Djokovic feels unable to give a press conference this evening. He would like to send his apologies to the media.”

Djokovic Visits Former Coach Gencic with Wimbledon Trophy; Talks About Goals and His Head in 2012

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been busy! After finishing up at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, he spent the weekend in Belgrade celebrating and visiting his childhood coach Jelena Gencic, received GQ’s “Ace of the Year” award, filmed a movie cameo in Bulgaria, and traveled to Bosnia to pick up another award, while talking with reporters about his outlook for the 2012 season – and joking about his head.

News broke out on Wednesday that Novak Djokovic would be playing himself in the upcoming Sylvester Stallone-written movie “Expendables 2,” alongside actors Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Filming for the tennis star took place in Sofia, Bulgaria along with some extraneous fun relishing the citiy’s trendy night life.

Interestingly enough, the only clue to Djokovic’s initial post-season adventures came by way of countryman Janko Tipsarevic, who said the two were heading to the Maldives for vacation after the ATP World Tour Finals. But I guess when Sylvester Stallone, your childhood idol, asks you to star in a movie, you don’t deny the opportunity.

First on the agenda though was a weekend of celebrating that included a night out at club Magacin in Belgrade.

The trip to Belgrade, however, was inspired for an entirely different reason. American television company CBS is currently filming a documentary on the world’s #1 tennis player, and it included a sweet reunion with his childhood coach Jelena Gencic after not having seen each other for four-and-a-half years. She also revealed the secret to Djokovic’s match point-saving return forehand winner against Roger Federer in the semifinals of the U.S. Open earlier this year.

Djokovic arrived to her house with a big hug, telling her “I have brought that which we have been dreaming about and which I had promised you I would win.” He then showed her his prized Wimbledon trophy. Gencic held the trophy and replied that her “happiness at this moment has no end.”

Before going into the house, he asked to see her garden. It was the same one which they had spent countless hours conversing in and where he had told her he would one day be #1.

As they entered the house, the jokes began and it became reminiscent of a time many years prior. Gencic teased her pupil and confessed she still had his childhood racquet from where everything had originated 17 years ago.

Gencic: “Do you remember this racquet?”

Djokovic answered jokingly: “Of course, I remember! I know that the cap fell off the bottom of the handle and I know that … oh my, you never changed the strings!”

Gencic replied: “Yes, I did!”

They were like old friends, with Gencic even bringing up his famed forehand return winner against Federer at the U.S. Open: “On match point [down], you played the most impossible shot, the most difficult shot …” But Djokovic interrupted, “How is it impossible when that is the shot we were training for for years?” To which Gencic joked, “But that’s why I’m bringing it up!” followed by laughter from both. Djokovic admitted to media that he learned his signature “crosscourt returns and down-the-line backhands” from Gencic’s unique training style when he was a kid. All things have come full circle as that save on match point has now become his career-defining moment.

Djokovic ended his visit with an invitation for Gencic as his guest for the opening day of Wimbledon in 2012. But she joked, “Nole, prepare me a seat two weeks later when the finals are, so we can celebrate a new [Wimbledon] trophy together!”

“If I didn’t have Jelena Gencic or my parents who believed in me and my potential, I probably wouldn’t have had the desire to become world #1,” Djokovic concluded. See the full video of their reunion below including video footage of Djokovic hitting on court as a kid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH_3zzqReZg

Following this momentous visit, he departed for a short trip to Banja Luka, Bosnia to accept the country’s “Person of the Year” award. There, Djokovic was asked by reporters concerning his movie role to which he said that “he had just filmed his [movie cameo] yesterday,” calling the cast “legends” and jokingly admitted that he’s better as a tennis player than an actor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTxSZUebk3k&feature=player_detailpage#t=96s

During the same news conference, he also talked about his goals for 2012.

“It’s crucial that if I prepare well for next year, I will have a great chance to begin the year [right], and it is that beginning that is crucial for the entire season. So, in Australia I’ll try again to get the title, and I believe [my play at the Australian Open] will give me good knowledge about how the rest of my season could go. I think I’m at the top of my career and my abilities, and I believe in the quality [of my game], and why not? I will always have bigger goals.

When asked about his injury status, he playfully replied: “I don’t have any injuries. I have enough time to heal everything – especially my head, which is a little crazy.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_kPaXJ68v8

(Magacin photo courtesy of HelloMagazin.rs; screen shots via YouTube)