Sunday, 20 February 2011

Novak Djokovic - Back in Dubai

Courtesy: ATP

Djokovic© Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Novak Djokovic is bidding to win a third straight Dubai title this week. World No. 3 Novak Djokovic wants to continue his run of form at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by lifting his third straight title at The Aviation Club. The two-time major champion has been drawn to meet France's Michael Llodra in the first round.

"Coming back to Dubai is a pleasure again," said Djokovic on Sunday. "I love coming here and feel good playing and practising at the tournament. I'm quite fresh and I look forward to the challenges. It's important to do well here in order to keep up the good rhythm."

Since winning his second Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Murray), Djokovic has been relaxing in Monaco.

"I spent time relaxing, taking it easy, going to the beach and nice walks around the Cote d'Azur. I get to really rest in Monaco as the people don't bother you too much. I miss a lot of things about Serbia, the food, my family and friends. Belgrade has so much to offer for young people. In this moment, I prefer to live elsewhere."

Last year, Djokovic reached the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Berdych), the US Open final (l. to Nadal) and helped Serbia clinch the Davis Cup title (d. France). The 23 year old is wary of pacing himself and scheduling his tournaments this year.

"Starting from the Wimbledon semi-finals, where I played the game that I felt good with, it has been uphill," he said.

"If I want to stay near the top, I cannot have any more big ups and downs especially at the Grand Slams. That's how I got to No. 3 and once to No. 2. We [my team and I] have made our schedule in advance to prioritise the major events, so not to expend excess energy.

"I played the best tennis of my life in Australia, besides the Davis Cup. I'm hoping to continue to rise to the occasion on the big stage. Since winning the Australian Open in 2008, I've learned a lot about pressure and expectations. I'm more mature now and I hope to keep doing well.

When asked whether he could rise to No. 1 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings this year, the Serbian said it would be tricky. "[Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal are the best in the world and they keep winning Grand Slams. It's tough to get to number one past them, but I'm working at it.

"My priority is the major events this season. Winning Australia again was a big relief. It showed me that I have reason to believe I can do it again. I have the ability to beat any of the leading guys."

Djokovic also revealed he will be playing doubles with Andy Murray at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami next month.

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