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Dazzling Djokovic savours victory over Federer

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Dazzling Djokovic savours victory over Federer | Thaiger

AFTER almost four hours of mental torture, Novak Djokovic sank to his knees, crouched over the hallowed Wimbledon turf, plucked a blade of grass and put it in his mouth – never before had victory tasted so good.

It was a victory that he should have been celebrating almost an hour earlier, it was a victory that almost slipped through his sweaty fingers, it was a victory he had been craving for three years.

At 6.07pm local time on Sunday, Djokovic’s agony finally turned into ecstasy when Roger Federer whipped a backhand into the net to end one of the greatest finals seen at the All England Club and to elevate Djokovic to a double Wimbledon champion with a 6-7(7) 6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 victory.

Fifty two minutes earlier the Serb had also stood one point away from victory at 5-4 in the fourth set – only to watch Hawkeye deliver the cruelest of blows.

The technology that had left Federer seething in the 2007 final, when he yelled “God it’s killing me”, came to his rescue at match point down by ruling the Swiss’s serve had in fact kissed the line after the line judge had called it out.

What should have led to a second serve from Federer had now turned into an ace, producing another twist in the drama that had 15,000 people sitting on the edge of their seats and Djokovic tied up in knots.

“This win has a special importance to me mentally. Because I managed to not just win against my opponent but win against myself as well and find that inner strength that got me the trophy today,” said an emotional Djokovic, who had lost five of his previous six grand slam finals.

SPECIAL FINAL

“I could have easily lost my concentration in the fifth and just handed him the win.

“It’s the most special grand slam final I’ve played. At the time of my career for this grand slam trophy to arrive is crucial, especially after losing several grand slam finals in a row. Started doubting a little bit.

“I needed this win a lot,” added Djokovic, whose Wednesday wedding with long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic, has now turned into a double celebration.

The triumph handed Djokovic a seventh grand slam title – surpassing the total won by his coach Boris Becker – and halted Federer’s bid to become the oldest men’s champion at the All England Club for more than half a century.

“It was a great final. I can’t believe I made it to five, it wasn’t looking good for a while,” the 32-year-old Federer said after missing out on an 18th grand slam title.

“I thought it had everything for fans to like.

“The swing of momentum in the first set, him coming back in the second, staying even in the third, all the back and forth in the fourth set … when things got a bit crazy, and then the drama of the fifth.

“I kept believing… and kept trying to play offensive tennis, I’m very disappointed not being rewarded with victory. I was very sad walking off the court not with the winner’s trophy.

“I already have seven. It’s not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it,” added the Swiss, who was consoled by Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge after walking off court a beaten man.

It was a contest in which Federer fired down 29 screaming aces, including four in one game, produced 75 winners, and won 180 points in total – just six fewer than the champion.

While Federer was disappointed at coming off second best in another five-set final thriller, six years after being beaten by Rafael Nadal in what is dubbed the ‘greatest match ever’, losing was not even an option for Djokovic.

It was therefore little surprise that the man whose tennis had been rather wayward this past fortnight, brought out the heavy artillery on Sunday.

From the off, 20-shot rallies were followed by 22-stroke exchanges as the two gladiators went toe-to-toe, both showing astonishing levels of athleticism as they chased down anything the other threw at them.

“This has been the best quality grand slam final that I’ve ever been part of. Quality-wise from the first to last point, this is definitely the best match,” said Djokovic.

The absence of break points in the first set led the battling duo into a tiebreak, Djokovic carving out the first set point at 6-5 only to see it vanish seconds later when he hit a forehand wide.

SUPER COACHES

Four points later Federer had his usually unflappable coach, Stefan Edberg, leaping to his feat and shouting “Yes” and “C’mon” from the front row of the player’s box when his charge nabbed the first set thanks to a Djokovic backhand error.

With the showdown also billed as the ‘battle of the super-coaches’, Edberg having beaten Becker in two of the three Wimbledon finals they had contested from 1988 to 1990, the clearly agitated German slumped back into his seat.

At the same time the hollering crowd rose to salute the man many call “a tennis god”, the Serb looked up to the heavens, holding his racket grip between pressed palms, praying for some divine intervention.

He did not need any help from outside forces when he broke Federer, who had won 99 percent of his service games during his run to the final, for a 2-1 second-set lead with a blazing crosscourt passing shot.

That was enough to give the top seed the set and when he took the third 7-4 in the tiebreak, it seemed there would be no way back for the crowd favorite.

But Federer loves the feeling of ball on racket, he loves creating magic – and that is exactly what his aging limbs and battle-weary mind produced in the fourth set when he stormed back from 5-2 down, saved match point, thanked Hawkeye, and left Djokovic stunned and deflated.

The cheering crowd wanted more, Djokovic did not.

Holding his arms wide and he gestured skywards, perhaps questioning: “what do I have to do to beat this man?”

After Federer saved three nerve-jangling break points in the eighth game, Djokovic’s prayers were finally and thankfully answered two games later at 6.07 pm, allowing him to enjoy “a nice bite” of grass.

“I thought that there was less grass today than it was a few years ago, so I had a little bit of soil, as well. It tastes like the best meal that I ever had in my life.”

— Reuters

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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