Federer arrives for Brisbane International
BRISBANE, Australia — Roger Federer arrived Down Under on Saturday for the Brisbane International with a refreshed outlook for 2014, no injuries and a new coach on his team.
“It’s the first time in a year that I could practice three, four weeks in a row without any setbacks … I was able to do more than I thought which is very encouraging,” Federer said of his offseason. “I didn’t play any exhibitions which allowed me to train extremely hard and for a longer period of time.”
Federer will use the Brisbane event as his only warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open that begins Jan. 13 in Melbourne. The winner of a record 17 Grand Slams, Federer finished 2013 ranked No. 6 after struggling with a bad back for much of the season.
“Every time I had training (in the past) I had setbacks, little aches and pains, especially in the back from time to time … which cost me confidence,” Federer said. “These last few months have been important for me, feeling that movement is not an issue any more.”
The Brisbane tournament is also a WTA event that includes Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova as its top draw cards.
Djokovic wins Abu Dhabi final
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Novak Djokovic maintained his unbeaten record in Abu Dhabi by beating David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 Saturday to win his third straight World Tennis Championship title.
Djokovic, who finished the year with a 24-match winning streak on the ATP tour since losing the U.S. Open final to Rafael Nadal, needed just 82 minutes to dispatch the third-ranked Ferrer in the final of the invitational exhibition tournament.
Djokovic converted his third match point to take home the $250,000 winner’s check.
Earlier, top-ranked Nadal won a third-place playoff match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Azarenka beats Serena in exhibition
HUA HIN, Thailand — Victoria Azarenka beat top-ranked Serena Williams in straight sets Saturday in an exhibition match between the world’s top two women’s players.
The second-ranked Azarenka defeated Williams 7-5, 6-3 in front of about 3,000 fans at the Hua Hin World Tennis Invitation in a match both players used as a warm-up ahead of the Australian Open.
By wire sources