2014/11/01

No. 1 Djokovic is Looking Back, Looking Forward To 2013

Novak Djokovic Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 27, 2012) ABU DHABI – Coming off one of the most successful seasons a player has ever had on tour in 2011, the question for Novak Djokovic for 2012 was how much would a letdown 2012 be? It’s hard to expect a player to repeat the kind of peak performance Djokovic achieved in 2011, but suffice to say, 2012 was not a disappointing year for him. He defended his Australian Open title, won the ATP World Tour Finals,  three Masters 1000 events and ended the year as world No. 1 again.

In a way, it was impressive the way he was able to maintain his consistency, hold off plenty of challengers, and defend as many points as he did to reclaim the No. 1 position he lost in the middle of the year. Despite the bumps and losses along the way, Djokovic’s mentality through 2012 was most impressive. In fact, in the pre-tournament interview he gave today at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, he regards his 2012 year as the more successful year psychologically. “I had to face many circumstances on and off court that were not easy. I overcomed [sic] it and right now, I feel relieved in a way because I got another good year,” assessed Djokovic. And ending the year strongly, winning the World Tour Finals, cementing his world No. 1 status, brings an ever-confident Djokovic to the new year.

Djokovic has been working hard in his pre-season training the past three weeks already, where he started with fitness training before gradually increasing the hours spent on the tennis court. Though he feels he’s still not at a 100% the way he was at the end of the season, he knows he’s slowly getting there. Choosing to play two exhibition tournaments, here in Abu Dhabi and later the Hopman Cup is also all part of the plan to get to the Australian Open in peak form. Explaining his decision not to enter any ATP tournaments at the start of the year, Djokovic said he didn’t want to face right away the stress of winning every single match he plays. He wants to take his time working on his game, a luxury they don’t get during the rest of the year. “I feel very fit right now,” adds Djokovic, and just a couple more weeks and he feels he’ll reach his top fitness level and tennis game again. Just in time for his Australian Open title defense.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
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All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama
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New Season, New Goals

Andy Murray 12 26 Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 26, 2012) ABU DHABI – Six of the top eleven players in the world,  are gathered in Abu Dhabi to start their season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships (MWTC). Three of the players, namely Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray showed up on Tuesday for their pre-tournament news conferences.  No. 11 Nicolas Almagro replaced Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the event with a stomach virus.

Despite all three belonging in the top 10, and despite the small gap in their rankings, these three players are in vastly different stages in their careers with varying expectations, pressures and goals. And the goals they’ve set for themselves for the new season give an interesting insight to how they see their careers, where they’re at now and what they feel they should be able to accomplish.
Tipsarevic, the relative newcomer in the top 10 has set his sights on qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London. And with his best showing at a grand slam only consisting of two quarterfinal appearances, both at the US Open this year and last, he aims to have deeper runs at the slams this year. His tight quarterfinal loss against David Ferrer at this year’s US Open has shown him that though he’s not quite there yet in the level he needs to challenge the top players, he’s getting close.
Tomas Berdych meanwhile has already made finals and a couple of semifinals at the majors. His goal now, is to hold that trophy. Saying that he was happy for Andy Murray finally winning his slam, noting that it’s good that someone had once again broken the stranglehold Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had on winning the majors, could acknowledging Murray’s breakthrough give Berdych the inspiration to try to win one for himself as well? Davis Cup this year, a grand slam next year?
As for Andy Murray, after finally winning that major he’s been working so hard for and been pressured on winning since he was first considered a contender in 2008, how does he re-set his goals? Murray is a short-term goal-setter which he says he’s always been with his career. So, it’s one major at a time for him, now focusing solely on the Australian Open trophy. Asked if reaching no.1 is a top priority, Murray answers that it’s not, as that ranking only comes with the results from every tournament he plays.
And as the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starts on Wednesday, we’ll get to see these three players finally begin their first step towards their goals.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
[nggallery id=69]
All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama
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