Dubai Tennis Championships 2013: Novak Djokovic Continues to Raise His Game

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 4, 2013

Jan 27, 2013; Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; Novak Djokovic (SRB) returns a shot against Andy Murray (GBR) in the men's final of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park.  Djokovic won 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Pierre Lahalle/Presse Sports via USA TODAY Sports
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

After a record-breaking 2011 and a 75-12 singles campaign in 2012, Novak Djokovic continues to elevate his game to new heights.

The 25-year-old Serb has gone a perfect 12-0 in singles play in 2013, winning the Australian Open and now Dubai.

Djokovic took care of No. 4 seed Juan Martin del Potro and No. 3 seed Tomas Berdych in the semifinals and final, respectively. He beat both of them in straight sets. In fact, he didn't drop a set all tournament.

Djokovic's stats after Dubai show that he's still a masterful returner. According to ATPWorldTour.com, he's ranked fourth on the tour in first-serve return points won, third in second-serve return points won and fifth in return games won.

We all know Djokovic has one of the sweetest return games in the business, though. The question is: What is he doing to improve his overall game?

Well, quite a bit.

In 2012, Djokovic ranked 13th in first-serve points won, fifth in second-serve points won and sixth in service games won, per ATPWorldTour.com.

This year, Djokovic ranks third in first-serve points won, second in second-serve points won and third in service games won.

Granted, this is a small sample. Djokovic has only played singles in two tournaments thus far in 2013.

Still, there has been a significant rise in his percentages. The fact that a player primarily known for his sterling return game is serving like this is scary. While Djokovic may never equal what he did in 2011 again, he's becoming a more well-rounded player on the court, and that's not good news for the rest of the ATP field.

In just over two years on tour, Djokovic has posted a combined 157-18 singles record with 18 singles titles. That includes five Grand Slam singles titles during that span (he has six for his career).

He has also gone 7-3 against Roger Federer, 7-3 against Rafael Nadal and 7-4 against Andy Murray in that time.

Djokovic is the unquestionable No. 1 player in the world (in the rankings and using common sense) and he's only getting better.

 

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