World number one prepares to defend his Australia Open title.
By ALLON SINAI
Novak Djokovic proved he more than deserves to enter 2012 ranked as the world’s best player after claiming the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-1 win over David Ferrer.The top-ranked Djokovic also routed Roger Federer by the same score line in the semifinals on Friday and is understandably feeling confident ahead of the official start to the new season this week.“This is the best way to start the 2012 season,” Djokovic said. “I must say I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. Playing against the top players in the world in this way gives me a lot of confidence.“Usually at this stage, you are trying to find your speed on the court, agility, just dynamics of every stroke. But I found it already, to be honest, right away after the first match. ... It’s a great way for me to prepare for Melbourne.”Djokovic believes preparation over the next two weeks will be key to defending his Australian Open title."If I have the right mindset, if I do my preparation in the next two weeks as well as I did in 2011 you know I am confident that I can still play well,” Djokovic added.“And if I could repeat the year I had in 2011, that’s something that I can tell you I cannot promise, you know I am looking forward to it. I am enjoying my game now, I have lots of confidence.”Earlier Saturday, Rafael Nadal beat Federer 6-1, 7-5 to take third place in the unorthodox $250,000 six-man tournament. Nadal, who has had a sore left shoulder since the end of last season, was happy with his performance against Federer after a disappointing showing against Ferrer on Friday.“It was a positive match,” said Nadal, who plans to take a break after the Australian Open to rest his shoulder. “I played better than yesterday and that was the most important.”
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