Novak Djokovic clinches fourth Mubadala World Tennis Championship with comeback victory over Kevin Anderson

The 31-year-old Djokovic previously claimed the three-day event in the UAE in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and has now matched Rafael Nadal's record of four titles.

Agence France-Presse December 30, 2018 10:45:18 IST
Novak Djokovic clinches fourth Mubadala World Tennis Championship with comeback victory over Kevin Anderson

World No 1 Novak Djokovic won a fourth Mubadala World Tennis Championship title on Saturday, coming back from a set down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.

Djokovic claimed victory on a fifth match point against his South African opponent who won the pre-season exhibition tournament in 2018.

Novak Djokovic clinches fourth Mubadala World Tennis Championship with comeback victory over Kevin Anderson

Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the Mubadala World Tennis Championship 2018. AFP

The 31-year-old Djokovic previously claimed the three-day event in the UAE in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and has now matched Rafael Nadal's record of four titles.

"I'm a bit tired. We weren't expecting to play two hours and 30 minutes just before the start of the season," said Djokovic who is building towards an assault on a possible seventh Australian Open title next month.

Wimbledon and US Open champion Djokovic now heads to neighbouring Doha where he will be top seed at the Qatar Open starting on Monday. He will take on Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur in his tournament opener.

World No 6 Anderson is top seed for the Maharashtra Open in Pune.

Djokovic admitted he'd be "lying" if overhauling Roger Federer's mark of 20 Grand Slam titles was not on his mind, but insisted on Saturday it will be a great challenge to get there, especially with the sport's widely-hyped young generation stepping up.

The 31-year-old Serb is currently six Majors behind Federer and three adrift of Rafael Nadal, but is likely to keep up the pressure on his rivals this upcoming season considering how he recaptured his dominating form in the second half of 2018.

Asked if there is a record he dreams of capturing before the end of his career, Djokovic said: "I would lie if I say I didn't want to get to as high as Grand Slam wins number possible. That's definitely the objective, the desire, the goal.

"Those are probably the tournaments where I want to do my best for the rest of my career, however long that's going to be, and of course trying to also fight for No 1 with everyone else."

Djokovic has lost just three times in the last six months, but all three defeats came against players aged 22 and under (Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto, Karen Khachanov in Paris, and Alexander Zverev in London at the World Tour Finals).

On Thursday, the World No 1 conceded that "the face of tennis is changing" due to the influx of new young talent and he believes the 'Next Gen' will make it harder for him to stay on top.

"There's a new generation of players, Nadal and Federer are still there, (Andy) Murray and (Stan) Wawrinka are coming back, Zverev is the leader of this Next Gen.

"Men's tennis is as good as it can be in terms of competition, in terms of personalities, it's good to see new faces," he said after his fourth title victory on Saturday in the UAE capital.

"For me it's going to be a big challenge and a big ask to stay at such a high level, it's very demanding especially as a family man. It's different in the last couple of years. But I like challenge in life, because from the challenges we grow and we learn. So I try to embrace whatever is in front of me, I have to accept it but I'm working for the best."

 

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