Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer spent some time together before taking to the courts this week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where they are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. Roger “tipped his hat” to Novak’s success and Nole called Roger “iconic” (I think Roger approved of his assessment.)
Both Nole and Roger have done splendidly in Dubai. Novak won his third straight title last year with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Roger in the final and is going for a history-making fourth this year. Roger’s won the title four times, in 2003 – 2005 and in 2007. I’m really interested to see how No. 3 seed Andy Murray does this year, after his impressive semifinal performance vs. eventual Aussie Open champ Novak Djokovic. Andy’s in Novak’s half, with fourth seed Tsonga on course to play yet another match vs. Roger Federer in the semis (unless Del Potro beats Tsonga in the quarterfinals.)
There are plenty of exciting match-ups to look forward to this week, including Davydenko vs. Murray in the second round, Murray vs. Berdych in the quarterfinals. Del Potro vs. Dolgopolov in the first round, Del Potro vs. Tsonga in the quarters. Federer vs. Marseille finalist Michael Llodra in the first round, Federer vs. Fish in the quarters. Also look out for Nole’s younger brother, Marko, who has a wildcard into this tournament and faces Golubev in the first round (Del Po would be his second round match.)
This interesting comment surfaced from Roger’s pre tournament pressers: (via Yahoo!):
The Swiss great last won a major championship at the 2010 Australian Open. He insists this has nothing to do with a declining game but “a bit of confidence not on my side and on my opponent’s side.”
“I’ve had some tough losses over the past couple of years,” Federer said, without referring to any specific matches.
We’ll see how his confidence is, should he play Novak again in the finals, a man who has no shortage of confidence these days (Nole quoted via The National):
“Any tournament that I play in now, I am aiming to win. I have been really experiencing the best time of my career, I am at the peak of my form.
“I am 24 and I believe that I can win most of my matches. I always go with that positive attitude.”
It’s nice being Nole right now.