Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his first title of the year after emerging victorious at the Dubai Men's Championships on Saturday.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his first title of the year after emerging victorious at the Dubai Men's Championships on Saturday.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his first title of the year after emerging victorious at the Dubai Men's Championships on Saturday.

Djokovic gunning for more trophies

The world No 3 now ventures to the clay courts in Benidorm as the young Serbian seeks more silverware after his Dubai success.

DUBAI // Novak Djokovic proved he is a man for all seasons as he eventually adapted his powerful game from the carpets of a shivering Marseilles to the stamina-sapping heat of Dubai's hard courts with barely a moment to draw breath in between.

The world No 3 from Serbia, who will this weekend be seen on the Spanish clay of Benidorm before travelling to the US as the defending Indian Wells champion, made a slow, unimpressive start to his challenge to win a first Dubai title. By the end of the week, however, he was delighted to be the last man standing at a tournament which had been deprived for various reasons of the talents of most of the world's top 10.

Lucky to survive a marathon semi-final against France's Gilles Simon when temperatures at the two-week festival reached their peak, Djokovic, who laboured through the earlier rounds, regained his top form to take on the resurgent Spaniard David Ferrer in Saturday night's battle for the US$383,000 (Dh1.4m) first prize. Ferrer, fourth in the world a year ago but now fighting to regain a top-10 rating, had produced probably the best performance of the week on Friday night in ruthlessly sweeping aside what had looked to be a powerful semi-final rival in France's Richard Gasquet. He was powerless, though, to prevent Djokovic from claiming his 12th career title.

"This has a history of being one of the strongest events on the tour and it has been this year despite all the pull outs, so I'm delighted to have come out on top," said Djokovic after his 7-5, 6-3 triumph. "I was really proud of myself to have reached the final after so little time to prepare, so I felt I had nothing to lose because nobody is favourite in a final," he said. Not that he ever looked like losing. He knows he should not have been detained for long as 97 minutes by Ferrer after twice surrendering the advantage of a service break in the opening set.

Despite the experience of winning his first grand slam title and the Tennis Masters Cup last year, Djokovic, 21, admitted to being emotional as he clinched his first title of 2009 in front of a capacity 5,000 Dubai crowd. "I really try to enjoy every single victory I make, because I'm still young," he said. "The whole world is playing this sport, and to be No 3 in the world is a big success. "So I am satisfied with what I am doing while still having high ambitions. Winning a grand slam at my age and a couple of other big events, it's quite good, but I think I have a quality to do more.

"This is a very important success for me. I had not started the year the way I maybe wanted to and the way maybe the people were expecting me to." Djokovic then made a hasty retreat to board a flight to Belgrade to spend one day at home before turning his mind to this week's Davis Cup tie against the holders Spain before seeking to defend one of the six titles he won last year in California. wjohnson@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National