Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents the trophy to Novak Djokovic. — KT photo by Nezar Balout
If early indications are anything to go by, the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray might face an uphill task in the Grand Slams next year. Novak Djokovic is simply in irresistible form and the Serbian world number two made it in three-in-a-row with a thumping win over a gritty Spaniard in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Saturday.
The six-time Grand Slam winner beat world number three David Ferrer 7-5 6-2 in one hour and 22 minutes to take his third Abu Dhabi title. The supreme baseliner had also won the tournament in 2011 and 2012. It was a commanding performance from the four –time Australian Open champion as he even showed some great athleticism at the net, playing those volleys and bringing smiles to Boris Becker’s face.
Becker, his new coach and one of the greatest serve and volley players in the history of the game, could not have been happier as their partnership got off to a flying start.
Ferrer did try to unsettle him in the first set, but Djokovic was able to deal with almost everything. “I felt good on the court. The crowd was right behind me. So I am really happy to have won the title again,” Djokovic later told reporters in the post-match Press conference.
“It was a quick court so there were not many rallies. We played many short points. On a court like this you need to serve well. I am glad that I served pretty well today,” Djokovic, who hit seven aces and won 81 per cent of points on his first serve, said. “The thing is you need to be careful when you play against a player like David who is so consistent. He is a big fighter. He has been playing at a very high level for a long time. So I am happy with the way I performed today against a top quality player like David. It was, after all, my first tournament this season.” Djokovic beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-3 in the semi-final on Friday, while Ferrer stunned world number one Nadal 6-4 6-4 in the other semi-final on the same day.
“It’s obviously difficult to win the finals. And today I lost to the number two player in the world,” Ferrer, the French Open finalist, said after the match. “Overall I think I played at a very good level in Abu Dhabi. This is the first tournament in the new season for me and I played three matches in three days and I played the number one and two in the last two days. So I am satisfied with what I have done. I don’t have a problem physically, so I am feeling good now,” added the Spaniard.
Ferrer had no problem with the fast court in Abu Dhabi. “Yeah it was pretty fast, but it was the same for all the players. It’s good to play on such courts. You have to play a different game.” Earlier, Nadal overcame a feisty Tsonga (7-6 6-3) to take the third place.
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