By Mario Sarmento
Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer – three giants of the sport – come into the 2014 Sony Open Tennis tournament brimming with confidence, but for different reasons. The three spoke about their chances to take home another title at the Sony Open on Thursday.
World No. 2 Djokovic is feeling positive about his chances, having won his first title of the year in the previous tournament at Indian Wells. “I feel I’m playing good on the court,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time when things are going to click. I’m glad that they already clicked at Indian Wells.”
And he is happy to be back in Miami. “It’s a different tournament, it’s actually one of the nicest ones we have on tour,” he added. “It’s a lot of fun, a lot of entertainment, very international crowd… I always look forward to coming back to Miami this time of the year.” Djokvic makes his tournament debut Friday against Jeremy Chardy, who defeated Juan Monaco in the first round Wednesday.
Murray is also feeling good about his game, and his timing couldn’t be more perfect as he looks to defend his Sony Open Tennis crown. “I always enjoy being here,” he said. “My hard work here and preparation, it always gives me a good feeling coming back.” Murray, the sixth seed at the Sony Open, plays his first match against Australia’s Matthew Ebden Friday. “I played him once in Shanghai a few years ago,” Murray said. “I chat with him a little bit, I know him fairly well.”
He will continue to work with his good friend, former University of Miami tennis star Danny Valverdu, who has helped coach him since early in Murray’s career. “I’ve known him since I was 15 when I went to Barcelona,” Murray said. “I used to practice with him a lot; I spent a lot of time traveling with him to tournaments.”
Federer is also on a good run, having won 11 of his last 12 matches and reaching the finals at Indian Wells. “I’m happy to be playing good tennis, and that leads the ranking in the right direction,” he said. “I’ve been playing well now the past six, seven tournaments and it started last year. And now I feel I’ve found a good level of form.”
Federer has climbed to No. 5 in the rankings, and he attributes part of the reason for his recent success to his newer, bigger racquet. “I trained the entire month with this racquet in December, and I was feeling really good,” he said. “The question is, can you pull off the shots you need at 4-all, 30-all in the third set? Those kinds of things you don’t feel with a racquet… We really enjoy this new racquet, and I definitely think it’s part of the reason I’m playing so well right now.” Federer takes on the hard-serving Ivo Karlovic Friday in his first-round match.