In preparation for what promises to be an interesting year in tennis, the top names, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are competing in an exhibition-style tennis tournament in Abu Dhabi.
Here's a preview of the matches to come:
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic
The big question on most tennis fans' lips, apart from Nadal's prospects this season, is how Novak Djokovic will fare after the 2011 season he had.
Coming into this match with the emotional and mental exertions from earlier this season in tow, Djokovic will do incredibly well to play at his best for an extended period.
While I expect the meeting to be competitive, I think that the longer the match goes, the more the odds favor the much fresher Federer. The contest will certainly be a much-needed tune-up for both players, but I doubt the result will have much of an impact on the coming season.
Federer to win in two sets; three sets if Djokovic's serve is on and UEs low.
Rafael Nadal vs David Ferrer
Rafael Nadal enjoys a healthy head-to-head record against his fellow Spaniard, David Ferrer, and I fully expect him to win this match.
There has been much press coverage about Nadal's comments about having a "lack of passion" for the game and plenty of commentary on how the Djokovic situation will affect Nadal in the coming season. However, in this relatively relaxed environment of Abu Dhabi, I don't think any of those things will be on the world No. 2's mind.
Ferrer will offer a stern test, and he won't be easy to shake off as he showed against Tsonga today, so I expect an exciting contest that will showcase the best of rally tennis.
Injury (?) withstanding, Nadal to win in two sets if his serve is firing.
Novak Djokovic has defeated Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1 to progress to the final.
David Ferrer has defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 to meet Djokovic in the final.
Rafael Nadal will face Roger Federer in a third-place playoff.