Rapid fire with Julia Goerges: German reveals dream mixed doubles partner, guilty pleasure and more

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She’s been playing the best tennis of her career in the past six months and managed to crack the top-10 for the first time last month.

Julia Goerges is known to be one of the nicest players on tour and was happy to share some details about her life when we caught up with her at Indian Wells this week.

The 29-year-old takes on Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in the BNP Paribas Open third round on Monday.









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Juan Martin del Potro: Football needs to see Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophy

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Juan Martin del Potro believes his countryman Lionel Messi is doing everything he can for the Argentinean national team and that the world of football “needs” too see him with the World Cup trophy.

The World Cup is a competition that has remained elusive for Messi, who is arguably the most talented footballer on the planet and has scooped up countless trophies on the club level with Barcelona.

“I think Argentina and everybody wants to see Messi with the World Cup, no?” Del Potro said on Sunday following his straight-sets win over Alex de Minaur in the Indian Wells second round.

“The soccer world needs Messi with that trophy. And, in my country, we have very high expectation in Russia. And I know the players feels that pressure, because I felt it when I was playing Davis Cup. It was similar.

“But Lio is a great guy and he deserves to win, but he’s doing more than he can for our country, and I’m very proud to have Messi with the Argentinian flags around the world, and hopefully Argentina can win the World Cup.”

La Albiceleste have not won the World Cup since 1986, and were runners-up in the most recent edition, losing the final to Germany in Brazil in 2014.

Argentina struggled during the qualifying campaign for Russia 2018 but have made it and headline Group D alongside Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.

Del Potro next takes on David Ferrer in the third round in the California desert.

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Novak Djokovic felt 'weird' on court in defeat to Taro Daniel at Indian Wells

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Finding his way: Novak Djokovic.

A bemused-looking Novak Djokovic described his feeling on the court during his three-set defeat to world No. 109 Taro Daniel as “very weird” and that “it felt like first match I ever played on the tour”.

Djokovic, who was playing just his second tournament of the year and his first match since undergoing elbow surgery early last month, fell 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1 to the Japanese qualifier in the Indian Wells second round on Sunday.

It was Djokovic’s earliest defeat at Indian Wells since his opening round loss on his debut back in 2006. The Serb is a five-time champion in the California desert and was seeded 10th this week.

The 30-year-old fell to 3-2 win-loss in 2018, having lost in the Australian Open fourth round in his only other competition this year.

“For me it felt like first match I ever played on the tour. Very weird. I mean, I just completely lost rhythm, everything. Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks,” said Djokovic, who appears to be dealing with the flu.

“But yeah, it was just – I was grateful to be out on the court after surgery that quickly. But at the same time, just didn’t feel good at all.”

Daniel came to Indian Wells carrying a 0-5 record this season in main draw tour-level matches. He then won two matches to qualify for Indian Wells and ousted fellow qualifier Cameron Norrie before pulling off the upset over Djokovic.

“Warming up this morning, I was like, ‘crap, this court is really big’. I was actually pretty nervous playing the match,” said the 25-year-old Daniel.

“But he obviously wasn’t in his top form, so I was able to take advantage of it. And even if I lost the second set, I still had faith I could pull something off in the third. And I was able to stay pretty tough, so I’m pretty proud of that.”

Djokovic served for the opening set at 5-3 but a sloppy service game saw him get broken. Daniel went up 4-1 in the tiebreak before Djokovic got the minibreak back. Daniel was unfazed as he clinched the next three points to take a one-set lead.

The New York-born Japanese went toe-to-toe with Djokovic in the long rallies, and would fire a down-the-line backhand every now and then that wowed the day session crowd.

Early in the second set, Djokovic experimented with drop shots to avoid the lengthy rallies with Daniel, and the plan was mostly working.

The Serb broke for 4-3 and it was all he needed to level the match as he secured the second set with a down-the-line backhand winner.

Daniel faced break points in the opening game of the decider but he brushed them away and it was the 25-year-old who then broke to open up a 4-1 lead and never looked back, handing Djokovic his first opening round defeat at a Masters 1000 tournament since Monte Carlo 2016.

“I just wanted to go out and see. I mean, I had no expectations,” said Djokovic.

“I was not even supposed to be here because of the surgery that was only five, six weeks ago. But I recovered very quickly, and I got myself ready. That’s it.”

Djokovic was sidelined with his elbow issue for six months in the second half of last season, and Indian Wells is just his second event in nine months.

The ex-world No. 1 says he is yet to find his rhythm in practice as well but is glad he recovered sooner than expected from his surgery and that he managed to get on a match court this week.

Did he struggle more mentally, physically or technically against Daniel?

“Everything. I mean, nerves were there. I made so many unforced errors that it was just one of those days where you’re not able to find the rhythm from the baseline, especially from the backhand side. That has always been a rock-solid shot for me throughout my career,” said Djokovic, who hit 61 unforced errors throughout the two-hour 31-minute match.

“Just some inexplicable, uncharacteristic errors.”

The Serb concedes that being sidelined for so long and struggling with a lengthy injury is new to him and he says he spoke to his countryman Viktor Troicki about how he dealt with his return to the game after getting suspended by the ITF for refusing to take a drugs test.

Asked if he felt scared on the court about reinjuring himself, or if he felt pain, Djokovic replied: “Obviously having only played a couple of matches in nine months, you’re still, in a way, battling inside of your mind whether you’re fit or not.

“And even though you don’t have pain, you’re still thinking about it, because it’s been something that I have been feeling and dragging for over two years.”

For Daniel, this counts as the biggest win of his career and takes him into a third round meeting with Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, who defeated lucky loser Ruben Bemelmans, a late replacement for Kei Nishikori (withdrew with an illness) on Sunday.

“The Djokovic I know is like the Djokovic I have seen on TV, and he never misses a ball. He puts the ball wherever he wants,” said Daniel.

“Today, obviously he was missing a lot of balls, but, I mean, even then you still have to beat him. Especially, you know, in a crowd like this, it’s pretty amazing to do it, and I’m pretty happy… it’s going to be a huge win for my career in the future, for sure.”

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