Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Novak Djokovic didn’t hit any serves or volleys Monday at the U.S. Open.
But he did take a shot at a story in the Wall Street Journal attributing his recent run of success to the use of a pressure chamber located in Alpine, N.J.
“Well, all I can say is that I have used it a couple of times last year, and I haven’t used it since,” Djokovic said.
“You know, it’s very interesting technology, but I don’t know the effect of it. It has nothing to do with my success that I had in last ten months.”
Djokovic is the No. 1 player in the world and has won nine titles this year, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He enters the Open with a 57-2 record.
The Journal story said that since last year’s Open, where Djokovic lost to Rafael Nadal in the final, he “has been trying to improve his fitness by climbing into a rare $75,000 egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressure chamber” made by a California-based company called CVAC systems.
The article said Djokovic is currently using a machine that belongs to his friend Gordon Uehling III, a former tour player who now runs a tennis school called CourtSense at the Tenafly Racquet Club in Tenafly, N.J.
Djokovic acknowledged staying with Uehling in New Jersey because “it’s very calm, it’s very private, and we get to relax after, you know, exhausting day here.”
But he denied the Journal’s assertion that he was currently using the chamber.
“No, I haven’t used it this year because I’m really not intending to change my own routines,” he said. “I have my own therapist I have with my team and it’s been working well, so I have no reason to really try change other things.”
The Journal article said that in 2006 the World Anti-Doping Agency ruled that such oxygen tents enhance performance and violate “the spirit of sport.” Still, the organization did not add them to the list of banned substances and methods, indicating they would wait until further studies were conducted.
Djokovic withdrew from his last match on Aug. 21 in the final of Cincinnati against Andy Murray, citing right shoulder trouble. But he said he’s fine entering the Open.
“Yes, my shoulder is feeling fine,” he said.
“I have been serving in last couple of days, playing 100 percent, so I’m ready for the tournament.”
Asked if he was concerned that a two-week grind could take a toll on its shoulder, Djokovic said he couldn’t predict the future.
“Look, I cannot predict anything,” he said. “I cannot say, you know, this is what’s gonna be, you know. You never know what’s gonna happen.”
Between them, Djokovic (3), Nadal (10) and Roger Federer (12) have won 25 of the last 25 majors.
Despite the fact that Federer hasn’t won a major since the 2010 Australian Open, Djokovic said the Swiss star could still challenge Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray (still seeking his first major) for Grand Slam singles titles.
“Even though maybe Roger didn’t have the year as successful as he had in last five, six years, I still think he’s playing really well,” said Djokovic, who could meet Federer in the semifinals. “He’s I’m sure very much motivated to come back to the No. 1 of the world.
“From all of us, he knows the best how it is to win the major events because he’s record holder. He has 16 Grand Slams, has a fantastic career, and so I’m sure he wants to come back there.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.