Thiem wins Adria Tour event, Ultimate Tennis Showdown begins

  • Reuters / ausopen.com

An emotional Novak Djokovic could not hold back the tears on Sunday at the charity event he hosted at his tennis complex by the Danube River in Belgrade.

Although the world No.1 missed out on the Adria Tour final – ultimately won by Dominic Thiem – the event brought back a flood of memories for the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

"I was very emotional on the court today," the 33-year-old Djokovic told the capacity 4000 crowd as he received a standing ovation from his compatriots.

Novak Djokovic addresses the crowd at the Adria Tour event in Belgrade. (Getty Images)

"Childhood memories started flooding back, including those of growing up on these courts and playing here as a young boy. I was overwhelmed and those were tears of joy after the match.

"I try to give back to where I come from and be conscious of my childhood and my upbringing.

"This tennis was an epicentre of people from my childhood days getting together for this tournament, including my former coaches. They were all here."

Djokovic staged the exhibition, which used the Fast4 scoring format, while international tennis remains suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Many high quality matches in a great atmosphere, in front of a full crowd, so it was a perfect weekend.”
Dominic Thiem

He beat Germany's Alexander Zverev 4-0 1-4 4-2 in his last round-robin match but failed to secure his place in the final after he, Zverev and Filip Krajinovic ended with 2-1 win-loss records and an identical 5-3 set win-loss record in their group.

Krajinovic, who stunned Djokovic on Saturday, squeezed through on the basis of having the best games differential among the three.
However, he was powerless to stop Thiem in the final, going down 4-3 2-4 4-2.

"This tournament was for a good cause and we all gave our best," Thiem said after finishing off the weekend with a 100 per cent winning record.

"Many high quality matches in a great atmosphere, in front of a full crowd, so it was a perfect weekend.”

Dominic Thiem in action against Filip Krajinovic during the Adria Tour Belgrade final. (Getty Images)

The second leg of the Adria Tour will be held in Croatia's coastal resort Zadar next weekend.

The third leg due in Montenegro on June 27 and 28 was scrapped on Saturday over coronavirus concerns.

The final leg is scheduled for Bosnia's Banja Luka on July 3 and 4.

Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Alexei Popyrin are the early leaders at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

Staged at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in southern France, the event features a radically different scoring system. 

Matches are split into 10-minute quarters, with the winner of each quarter determined by who wins the most points in that span. 

Players aim to win three of the four quarters for an outright victory, yet if quarters are split evenly, a tiebreak is required – players simply play points until one player wins two consecutive points to be crowned the victor.

Tsitsipas, the highest-ranked player in action on Sunday at world No.6, beat Benoit Paire 3-1, while world No.8 Matteo Berrettini scored a 3-1 win over Dustin Brown.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, the 20-year-old ranked No.103, was the first winner at the new event thanks to a 3-1 win over France’s Elliot Benchetrit.

Feliciano Lopez and Richard Gasquet also scored wins on the opening day of play.