Novak Djokovic: Still the Man to Beat

AndersCorrespondent IIIJanuary 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a forehand during the men's singles match against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 25, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic spent the first nine months of 2011 on a high and ended on a low with two loses at the World Tour Finals in London as injuries and fatigue caught up with him. 

The biggest question going into 2012 was which Novak Djokovic will show up, the one who dominated tennis like few have done before him for the first nine months of 2011? Or the one who lost almost as many matches as he won and retired early, as was the case from September onwards?

With his convincing win in the Abu Dhabi exhibition, it seems as if Djokovic has already given his fans and opponents the answer: "I'm back and as good as ever before."

Gael Monfils was the only opponent who offered up some resistance against the world No. 1 as he clinched the second set in a 2-6, 6-4, 2-6 defeat. Djokovic said he wasn't quite a 100 percent yet. 

Nevertheless, he beat Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1 in 44 minutes in the next match and David Ferrer was beaten with the same score in the final. 

If this was't Djokovic at a 100 percent, his rivals should be very afraid. Rafael Nadal should praise himself lucky that he lost to Ferrer in the semis, so he avoided a meeting and possible routing from Djokovic. 

Instead, he regained some confidence beating Federer 6-1, 7-5 for third place. 

The tennis season has barely started and it's too early to make grand predictions. But we did get a pretty clear sign that Djokovic remains the player to beat, Federer's 17-match winning streak notwithstanding.