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Djokovic keen to defend Abu Dhabi title

World No 1 and Murray among top stars scheduled to appear at December Mubadala event

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Novak Djokovic, the reigning Mubadala World Tennis Championship title holder and current world number one, has signalled his intent to build on this year’s success by claiming his second successive title in Abu Dhabi.

The Serbian superstar aims to defend his title in the capital, where he will be up against an all-star cast including top ten-ranked players Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Janko Tipsarevic.

The tournament, organised by Flash Entertainment and held in partnership with investment and development company Mubadala, is expected to attract big crowds to the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City when it returns from December 27 to 29.

Djokovic said: “Becoming World Number one was a lifelong ambition and I’ve had another solid season, playing some good tennis to get back to that position. But I want to stay there and build towards the next Grand Slam by getting into the winning habit early and it’s a habit I want to keep in Abu Dhabi. I want to defend my title but it won’t be easy as it’s a world-class line-up.

“Going back as the defending champion is always special, but I’ve some very good memories from last year, especially of the fans and beautiful weather. I arrived early in Abu Dhabi to enjoy what it has to offer and obviously the place and the tournament helped to kick-start my season, so I want more of the same.”

A sold-out crowd at last year’s tournament was treated to three explosive performances by Djokovic on his debut in Abu Dhabi as the player from Belgrade captured the title with a commanding victory against Ferrer.

New Paris Masters champion Ferrer said: “This season has been like a dream for me as I’ve won more titles than any other player and they are important titles that I’ve always wanted to win. I’m proud of my achievements but I want to keep improving and challenging in the biggest tournaments.

“I’ve learnt how to challenge and peak at the right time and for me it all starts again in Abu Dhabi. I want the Mubadala World Tennis Championship to help me build for the season ahead, just as it did last year.”

The tournament offers a winner-takes-all prize of $250,000 [Dh918,272] and two matches each day in championship format.

John Lickrish of Flash Entertainment said: “The two biggest stories in global tennis right now prove just how special the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will be this year. With a World Number one in the line-up you know it’s going to be an outstanding tournament, especially when it’s Novak Djokovic.

“He proved what a star he is to all that were lucky enough to see him in action in Abu Dhabi last year. On and off the court he’s a born entertainer. Everyone loves him and we can’t wait to have him back to defend his title, especially when we have players like Andy Murray trying to take it off him.

“But as David Ferrer just proved in Paris and all season, alongside players like Tomas Berdych, tennis is no longer just about one or two players. All of the world’s greatest players are capable of beating the other. That’s the beauty of the game right now and the stage is set in Abu Dhabi for more drama that can’t be missed.”

Premier hospitality packages — including courtside seating, gourmet food in the hospitality area, access to exclusive Q&A sessions with the players and premier parking access — are available. All tickets can be bought from or by calling 800 FLASH (35274). For more information visit