Sport | Tennis

Novak Djokovic sets up camp in Abu Dhabi

World No 1 to make debut in this month's Mubadala World Tennis Championship

  • By M. Satya Narayan, Chief Sports Reporter
  • Published: 00:05 December 18, 2011
  • Gulf News

Novak Djokovic during a press conference on the Abu Dhabi Corniche
  • Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
  • Novak Djokovic during a press conference on the Abu Dhabi Corniche on Saturday. The Serbian world No 1 will make his debut at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship this month.

Abu Dhabi: Novak Djokovic has set up base in Abu Dhabi as he prepares to make his debut in the year-ending Mubadala World Tennis Championship, where he will launch his defence of his world No 1 ranking.

Speaking to reporters at the Abu Dhabi Corniche yesterday, Djokovic also announced his full recovery from the injuries that plagued him towards the end of what has been a magnificent year for the 24-year-old.

"Injuries are past at this moment," said the man who won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as five other ATP titles in a 41-match winning streak.

"I am happy to announce that it has been a couple of weeks since my last match and I have had enough time to recover physically and mentally and to get back into shape."

‘A lot of nice things'

In reply to a question from Gulf News on why he chose the UAE capital this year and what he changed to help him achieve an unbelievable run of success, Djokovic said: "I have heard a lot of nice things about the Abu Dhabi championship.

"That's why I have decided to come here and start off the 2012 series strongly by playing against the world's top players.

"Yes, 2011 was the best season of my career.

"It was the result of the hard work put in over many years.

"And the experience I got over the last three or four years playing at the top level which I used this year.

"And knowing what to do in the important matches.

"This is what I missed in the last three or four years, especially when competing against [Roger] Federer and [Rafal] Nadal — they were the biggest rivals and I just could not believe I could win majors.

"So that experience and belief could be a significant change which brought the success this year."

Djokovic will be based here until the December 29 start of the three-day $250,000 (Dh918,200) event before defending the Australian Open, which starts on January 17.

Commenting on his preparations, he said: "I'm sticking with the same regime and same diet. Same way of practising. Nothing has changed. The approach is as simple as it was.

‘Many years to come'

"I am dedicated and motivated in the sport, I am only 24 and there are many years to come and to have lots of success."

He added: "There is still room for improvement, still more Grand Slam titles I am aiming for.

"I need to improve certain strokes in my game by a small percentage and keep improving.

"This year's success gives me a reason to believe that I can win again. Why not?

"I think it doesn't make any sense to be anything [other] than optimistic.

"I need to believe in my qualities and my abilities and I need to believe that I can repeat the success again.

"Of course it is going to be an incredibly difficult task to achieve, but you never know, nothing is really impossible."

Djokovic admitted that playing schedules are an issue and discussions are ongoing with the ATP.

The Serb, who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said he was very keen to compete next year in London.

"Every sportsman in the world is excited about the Olympic Games," he said.

"Just watching it on TV is amazing — it's the most prestigious, most historic event which we can remember.

"I had the honour of being part of it in Beijing and it was an unforgettable experience, something I cannot compare to any other individual tennis event."

Gulf News
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