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Staying fit remains Djokovic’s priority for the season ahead

Serb believes hard work in perfecting the serve is helping him

Rising to the occasion
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Novok Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his win over Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Dubai Duty Free TennisChampionship final on Saturday.
Gulf News

Dubai: Though satisfied with his winning form Novak Djokovic says staying healthy on the tour for the remainder of the season is his priority.

"I guess I rose to the occasion. I was aware of the challenge that was expected from me on court, and I was aware of the fact that I need to be on top of my game in order to beat Roger. So the focus was there," Djokovic said after his 6-3, 6-3 win against the former four-time champion at the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open.

"It was just the perfect performance overall," he smiled.

The Serb won his second career Grand Slam when he beat Andy Murray in straight sets in Melbourne last month. And now in Dubai he has had a perfect winning record of 15 matches, winning three titles in the process — something that has been achieved here only by Federer — who has four so far.

However, Djokovic is not too keen on looking far ahead and setting lofty goals for the remainder of the season. "I want to take one tournament at a time. I've been talking about my goals too many times in the past years, and right now I just want to be playing consistently well. That's all I want," said the world number three.

Good chance

"I want to keep up the good form that I have, be fit, and just take care of my health and my physical condition. I've done it really well in the last two months, and this is the goal basically. I know that if I feel and play this way, I have a good chance to stay in the top three."

Djokovic admitted that he has evolved as a player over the past few months. "Yeah I'm a different player from in last year. I have a serve. Last year the serve was not there and I was struggling a lot. I was using a lot of energy. Now I get to have some free points, which is important," he noted.

And a lot of hard work has gone into perfecting the serve, now such an important element in his overall game. "I have been asked a million times about my serve in the last 12 months. Why did you change? I didn't want to change. It just happened like that. I had some trouble with the shoulder, and I just got into the bad habit motion, some different motion than the one that was working for me quite well in 2008 and 2009. But look, that's behind me. Now I have my serve back, and I've been working really hard. I needed to believe that it's going to come back, and it did," Djokovic said.

Dubai Duty Free conducted the Finest Surprise draw for an Audi Q7 (Ibis White) immediately after the awarding ceremony of the men's final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2011. The winning ticket was drawn by the world's No. 3 and champion of the tournament, Novak Djokovic.

The winner of the car was Mr. Sawamoto Hiroshi, a Japanese national based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mr. Hiroshi, a regular participant of the Dubai Duty Free's Finest Surprise Promotion was delighted to receive a once in a life time phone call from Dubai Duty Free announcing that he just became a proud owner of the luxurious Audi Q7 in Series 1450 with ticket no. 1000.

Commenting on his luck, Mr. Hiroshi said: "I always enjoy shopping at Dubai Duty Free and never miss a chance to buy a ticket in the Finest Surprise Promotion. I am so excited to get the prize! It was always my dream and I'm looking forward to having the first ride on my brand new car".

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