Novak Djokovic Passes His Idol and Sets a New Target: Roger Federer

MELBOURNE, Australia — The first tennis player to capture Novak Djokovic’s imagination was a big-serving American with a beautiful one-handed backhand. A grade-school-aged Djokovic, living in the Serbian mountain resort town of Kopaonik, watched on television as Pete Sampras won one of his seven Wimbledon titles and fell madly in love with tennis. “I did not have a tennis tradition […]

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Another Source of Conflict in Tennis: Are You Up or Down on Doubles?

MELBOURNE, Australia — After bowing out of the Australian Open this week, Jack Sock and his childhood friend and doubles partner, Jackson Withrow, ended up on opposite sides of a great divide. Withrow’s childhood dream was to play professional tennis; doubles proved to be his only portal. Sock, the world’s second-ranked doubles player, has an Olympic gold medal from 2016 […]

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Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille Advance to Semifinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Lucas Pouille had lost every Australian Open match he played until he hired Amélie Mauresmo as coach. A couple of months later, he’s into a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time. Pouille, a 24-year-old Frenchman, will next play Novak Djokovic, who is aiming for a men’s record seventh Australian title, so things will get tougher. Djokovic […]

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Serena Williams’s Absence Gave Her Foes the Chance to Improve

MELBOURNE, Australia — Time did not freeze, like a televised sporting event placed on pause, during the 13 months Serena Williams spent away from tennis. The absence of Williams, who has averaged one title in every three majors played, allowed younger players to wade deeper into the draws and grow their games and their confidence. Karolina Pliskova, 26, was already […]

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Serena Williams Defeats Halep to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams took a big step toward winning a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title on Monday, defeating the top-seeded Simona Halep, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, in a round of 16 slugfest. “It was really an intense match, some incredible points,” Williams said in an on-court television interview afterward. “I really needed to elevate my game. She is […]

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For Australian Men, Off-Court Drama Overshadows the Tennis

MELBOURNE, Australia — As the tennis world was transfixed on Andy Murray as he played what may have been the final match of his career last Monday night, another drama was beginning in Interview Room 2 at the Australian Open. After a first-round loss, Australia’s Bernard Tomic launched the opening volley in an off-court rift between Lleyton Hewitt and some […]

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