(Photo credit: MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
When Novak Djokovic was asked on court after he won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship yesterday evening if he believed he can repeat his 2011 success in 2012, the Serb’s answer was concise. “Yes!” said the world No1 as the Abu Dhabi crowd roared with applause.
And to everyone who watched the Serb dismantle Roger Federer on Friday and David Ferrer in the final yesterday, Djokovic’s response could not have been more appropriate.
Djokovic eased past the resilient Ferrer 6-2, 6-1 in 63 minutes to take the Abu Dhabi title on debut, hitting with such pace, that makes it hard to conceive anyone on Tour would be able to counter.
The world’s No3 and 5 tried in Abu Dhabi but to no avail.
Djokovic broke early to go up 4-1 and Ferrer did everything in his power to hold on for 4-2, but no number of accurate passing shots or decent returns from the Spaniard were enough to stop the top seed from breaking again in the eighth game with a lightning fast crosscourt forehand winner to take the first set 6-2.
Ferrer had a look on two break points in the first game of the second set, but Djokovic’s serve came to the rescue and the Belgrade-born quickly raced to a 3-0 lead.
The pair had some of the biggest rallies witnessed all weekend but still Djokovic had the answer to every shot from Ferrer, who was forced into defence mode more often than he would have liked, and it wasn’t long before Djokovic sealed it all with an ace to record the same scoreline from his victory over Federer the day before, to take the trophy and a $250,000 winner's cheque.
“This is the best way to start off the 2012 season. I must say I am very very happy with the way I’m playing because playing against the top players in the world in this way is something that gives me a lot of confidence,” says Djokovic, who admitted he didn’t expect to be match-ready so soon in his preparation.
“I’m a little bit surprised to be honest because I know that it is only mid period of preparation so usually at this stage you’re still trying to find your speed on the court and agility, just dynamics of every stroke in general, but I found it already to be honest, and the surface itself is quite similar to Melbourne which is a great way for me to prepare for the Australian Open.
“I’m going to take some time and work on my physical strength again and just maintain the level that I’m playing at, I think this is where I want to be.”
Meanwhile Ferrer was happy with his performance over the three days in the UAE capital but believes Djokovic is just too difficult to beat when he is playing at this level.
“He was better than me, we played a really good match. I tried but maybe I played very defensive all the time and nothing else.
“I fought but with Djokovic at this moment it’s very difficult to beat him because when he’s playing really good it’s difficult to make points. He serves really good, his return is unbelievable, and he has more power than me. It’s difficult to beat him when I’m not playing aggressive.
“I’m happy with my game of course. I played three good matches. And now I will go to Auckland with confidence.”