Tearful Novak Djokovic felt relief and sadness after his Grand Slam dream died with a US Open final defeat, overcome by loss but winning heartfelt support from New York fans last Sunday.
World number one Djokovic missed the first calendar-year Slam since 1969 at the final hurdle, losing to Russia’s second-ranked Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Relief. I was glad it was over,” Djokovic said about his feelings in the moments after the defeat.
“The buildup for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to handle,” Djokovic said.
“I was just glad that finally the run is over. At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they created for me on the court.”
Djokovic also missed out on a fourth US Open title and 21st career Grand Slam, leaving him deadlocked on the men’s record 20 Slam trophies with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“So many different emotions,” he said. “Part of me is very sad. It’s a tough one to swallow, this loss, considering everything that was on the line.
“But on the other hand I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York. The crowd made me very special. They pleasantly surprised me.”
Down two sets and two breaks, US Open fans cheered for a Djokovic fightback with a spirit he said will stay with him as long as a Grand Slam might have.
“The amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something I’ll remember forever,” Djokovic said. “That’s the reason on the changeover I just teared up. The emotion, the energy was so strong.
“It’s as strong as winning 21 Grand Slams. That’s how I felt, very special. They touched my heart. These are the kind of moments that you cherish. It was just wonderful.”
Djokovic admitted he didn’t have the game to stay with a determined Medvedev from the start.
“I was just below par with my game,” Djokovic said. “My legs were not there. I was trying. I did my best. I made a lot of unforced errors. I didn’t have no serve really.
“Just one of these days where unfortunately wasn’t meant to be.
“I know I could have and should have done better. It’s a very tough loss.”
Djokovic took the first look back at a year that brought Australian and French Open titles and a Wimbledon crown but heartache at New York and no medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“It was also emotionally very demanding period for me in the last five, six months,” he said.
“Unfortunately I didn’t make it in the final step. But when you draw a line, you have to be very satisfied with the year. Three wins, three slams and a final. I have to be proud of everything I’ve achieved.
“In tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page. Very soon there are more challenges, more things coming up. I’ve learned to overcome these kind of tough losses in the finals of slams, the ones that hurt the most.
“I’ll try to draw some lessons from them, learn, be stronger, and keep going. As long as there is motivation and that flair, I’ll keep riding.”
Djokovic has to face a new set of rising 20-something stars, including Medvedev and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who beat him in the Olympic semi-finals and took him to five sets in the US Open semi-finals.
And there is the inevitable time when legends like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic must step aside.
“The older guys are still hanging on. We’re still trying to shine the light on the tennis world as much as we possibly can,” he said.
“I still want to keep going, try to win more Slams, play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most I think at this point.
“But the new generation is not anyone new. It’s already current. Established. Of course, they are going to take over. I think tennis is in good hands.”
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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