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Djokovic treats media with chocolates after win

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Djokovic treats media with chocolates after win

LONDON (AP) Always the joker, Novak Djokovic was a man bearing gifts after reaching the championship match at the ATP finals.

The top-ranked Serb beat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday in the semifinals of the season-ending tournament, then handed out chocolates to thank journalists for their ``cooperation throughout the whole year.''

``I have a little chocolate treat for everybody,'' Djokovic said after answering English questions. ``If you would be kind and accept my present to you.''

The Australian Open champion then stepped off the podium and handed out chocolates to anyone who wanted one.

After each tennis match, players are obligated to hold a news conference. Most players, including Djokovic, normally answer questions in English from the international media first and then switch to their native language for journalists from their home countries.

Djokovic, who last week walked out on court at the Paris Masters with a Darth Vader mask to celebrate Halloween, is known for his good humor. Some videos on YouTube of him impersonating rival players have gone viral.

Djokovic was originally scheduled to have his news conference about 1 hour, 20 minutes after his match ended on Sunday. But that was delayed by 15 minutes, and he didn't actually start until about 30 minutes after that.

Of course, Djokovic had a witty answer as to why he was so late - after his serious response.

``We just took a little more time to do all the post-match recovery program because I'm going to play tomorrow,'' Djokovic said. ``I needed to be fresh and ready for a press conference, as you guys always can be very challenging.''

Although Djokovic handed out the chocolates on Sunday, he'll be back for one final match on Monday. He will face Roger Federer in the final at the O2 Arena.

After Federer's 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Andy Murray in the other semifinal, the six-time champion was surprised when told of Djokovic's actions.

``That's very nice and thoughtful,'' Federer said. ``I must say, I'm impressed.''

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

The Capitals had two major items on their to-do list this offseason: Sign a coach and re-sign defenseman John Carlson. Now all they need is a coach.

Carlson was on the verge of becoming one of the most sought-after free agents of the summer on July 1. Instead, he has agreed to a major deal to stay in Washington, it has been confirmed to NBC Sports Washington. The deal will be for eight years, $64 million carrying a cap hit of $8 million per year.

The contract also reportedly includes protection for the lockout seasons.

The Caps attached Brooks Orpik and his $5.5 million cap hit along with Philipp Grubauer in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, helping free up a significant amount of cap space to help re-sign the star defenseman.

Carlson, 28, had a career year with 15 goals and 68 points in 2017-18. He followed that up with an incredibly strong postseason performance with five goals and 20 points in 24 games.

The Carlson contract was one of the biggest decisions of the offseason because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the team's remaining free agents. Now general manager Brian MacLellan knows exactly how much he has to spend on free agents like Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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