Sport | Tennis

Another first beckons Federer

After finishing 2011 with a bang, the Swiss legend looks for his maiden Abu Dhabi title

  • By Jaydip Sengupta, Deputy Editor-Sports
  • Published: 00:00 December 22, 2011
  • XPRESS

Roger Federer
  • Image Credit: EPA
  • Roger Federer

Dubai: Incredible, amazing are just two words that come to mind when one talks of Roger Federer. Possibly the same two words come to mind when one realises that the 16-time Grand Slam champion is yet to win at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in three attempts!

But true to form, the rejuvenated former world No 1 has set his sights firmly on his first win in Abu Dhabi in the December 29-31 event as the perfect way to kick-start the 2012 season and reclaim his world number one spot.

Federer's best finish in Abu Dhabi came last year when he advanced to the final against eventual champion Rafael Nadal. The Swiss star is aiming to improve his record in the capital and get his season off to the best possible start ahead of the Australian Open in January following a hugely successful end to the 2011 season.

The maestro will be the focus of attention on day 2 of the championship with the potential mouth-watering semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic sure to be the first of many such battles ahead in the new year.

By his exemplary standards, the early part of 2011 saw some indifferent results for Federer. But like all truly great champions this has only served to make the Swiss superstar even more determined to regain his past crowns and the coveted ATP number one spot. He comes to Abu Dhabi on the back of a 17-match unbeaten run and finished the year in ominous form with a record-breaking sixth victory at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

"For me, it was the strongest finish I've ever had in my career, which I'm very proud of. I'm already looking forward to the new season which for me starts at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship," Federer said.

"I feel my game is in really good shape and the desire to train hard remains. Everything is in a good place and to continue the winning streak in Abu Dhabi would be a good start to the new season."

"Each year the support I receive is amazing and appreciated. The fans in Abu Dhabi give me a great welcome and it's part of the reason I come back. It would be nice to get an early win for the fans but also to see where my game is ahead of the Australian Open," he added.

5 reasons why you shouldn't miss Day 1

World number one Novak Djokovic will be gracing centre court in his first ever Abu Dhabi appearance. The Serb will be battling it out against Frenchman Gael Monfils at 5pm

Spaniard David Ferrer kicks off proceedings at 3pm against MWTC favourite Jo Wilfried Tsonga. The pair last went head to head in Wimbledon with Tsonga taking the glory, but at number 5 and Number 6 in the world, the two are closely matched with very different styles of play.

Legendary Swiss star and perennial crowd favourite Roger Federer and Day 1 player David Ferrer will be signing autographs and answering questions in the Kid's question time session from 9.30am - 12pm.

Autograph sessions with Federer and Rafael Nadal also happening from 1.30 -2.30pm and open to all ages, so no one misses out.

Check out Federer and Nadal hosting clinics from 10am -11am FREE to the public to watch!

XPRESS
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