Is Djokovic playing mind games with Tsitsipas?

John Millman (right) congratulates Roger Federer after his third round showdown at the 2020 Australian Open.

John Millman (right) congratulates Roger Federer after his third round showdown at the 2020 Australian Open.Credit:Getty Images

Millman grabbed the first set on that occasion before Federer hit back to win. Federer also pushed past him on Halle’s turf – needing a tiebreaker in the first set – and then outlived the Australian in five sets in the third round at the 2020 Australian Open.

“That game in Brisbane was very important to convince me that my game against Roger was good,” said Millman.

“I always felt with Roger that I was trying to bore him with quality cross-court patterns and hoping he would lose interest and try his flairier shots.

“Roger was very different from Rafa in that regard [Nadal] and Novak [Djokovic], where you always felt there might be some unforced errors because he would try so many different styles. My game is supported when my opponent makes unintentional mistakes.”

Rare retirement

American rising star Sebastian Korda’s fairytale hunt to take on his father Petr’s exploits at the Australian Open 25 years later is over, and under unfortunate circumstances.

The 22-year-old reached the Adelaide final earlier in his season, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in an epic that lasted more than three hours and then advanced to a first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Melbourne Park.

But Korda quickly fell behind Russia’s Karen Khachanov and then played all day to retire 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 3-0 with a right wrist injury.

He sought a medical time-out from the problem in the second set and continued to play with wrist strapping, but pulled the pin before the goal.

Interestingly, Korda’s mid-game retirement was the first in both the men’s and women’s singles draws at this year’s tournament.

Shades of Hingis

The unforgettable Martina Hingis won the first of her five Grand Slam titles at the 1997 Australian Open.

One of the main reasons the former World No. 1 was so popular was her elegant, high IQ skillful play that didn’t rely on excessive strength to succeed.

Former Slovak star commentator Daniela Hantuchova, who won her first WTA title against Hingis in Indian Wells in 2002, was reminded of the ‘Swiss Miss’ when she matched Czech sensation Linda Fruhvirtova’s fourth-round run at Melbourne Park this year pursued.


Fruhvirtova is just 17 but will be on the cusp of a top 50 ranking after her breakthrough at the Open, while remarkably her 15-year-old sister Brenda has qualified for the peloton and is already ranked 136th.

“I saw Linda two or three years ago and of course they are both very special,” said Hantuchova.

“They remind me, especially Linda, a bit of Martina Hingis in terms of her shot selection, at such a young age. She’s so smart about big points. She plays properly, which is unusual for her age.

“I remember myself – I would hit the fence or make too many unforced errors while she is very mature for her age. I think that’s one of their strengths.” Is Djokovic playing mind games with Tsitsipas?

Ryan Sederquist

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