Everything is reminiscent of the series of victories from 2011
Djokovic has travelled from Dubai to his exhibition matches in LA with 18 wins in a row (13 in 2013), brimming with confidence and planning to triumph in Indian Wells and Miami.
Dubai - Novak Djokovic has embarked on another streak. But, whereas the one of two years ago seemed like a miracle, like proof a new tennis great was coming to the fore, this one gives the impression of being the logical consequence of the quality the world´s best tennis player possesses.
When Djokovic won Dubai after the AO two years ago, nobody could even imagine he would not taste the bitterness of defeat until the semi final of Roland Garros.
Now it´s a different story. Winning these two tournaments already reminds us of what happened in the spring of 2011, when only the misfortune of not playing the quarter final match on the Parisian clay (the Italian Fognini withdrew two days beforehand), but an excellent Federer in the semi final as well, stopped him from breaking John McEnroe´s record of 42 straight wins from the beginning of the season.
Now Djokovic leaves Dubai with 18 victories in a row. He started his streak in November by winning the World Tennis Tournament in London and that is why the first five matches don´t count in the streak if you start counting from the beginning of the season, but they do count in the overall streak without a loss.
- It does remind me of that streak and it surely gives me even more self confidence. The very fact I´ve won this many matches in a row means a lot to me - Novak agreed contentedly when reminded of the days when we was unbeatable in 2011.
But that´s it as far as good memories are concerned. The number 1 is aware staying in the present is not only unavoidable, but the only way he can achieve further success as well. One can not live from good memories alone.
- I certainly have good memories of that streak in 2011. But I do not wish to get lost in them, nor do I wish to be overly focussed on the future. I wish to enjoy this win and to keep the way I handle matches psychologically as simple as possible. This means that I focus on what I can do in the here and now, and that means preparing myself for the next tournament in the best way I can.
Just like how he left for Belgium to the Davis Cup match a couple of hours after his victory in Melbourne, he didn´t have a lot of time for festivities now in Dubai. Already in the morning he has flown to LA where tonight a true spectacle awaits him. He´ll play an exhibition match with Pete Sampras.
- It will be very interesting and fun. It will be a tennis match and a testimonial at the same time. The cause is humanitarian, which is an added reason to be satisfied for me. I will play with Sampras for the first time in my life, on the same side of the court to boot. It will probably be phenomenal, because he is my idol - Djokovic said thrilled at the prospect of playing with the legendary Pete against the Bryan brothers.
Traditionally, March is reserved for two big tournaments in America of the Masters 1000 level, in Indian Wells and Miami. Djokovic has won them both, the first tournament twice, the second three times.
- I enjoy those tournaments. Perhaps I like Miami a little bit better, because the courts and the circumstances suit my game more. On the other hand, Indian Wells suits me as well. These two tournaments last four weeks all in all. There is time, the schedule is not congested, after some matches you even get a day of rest. That gives me joy, for I will be 100 % ready, both physically and mentally to fight for the trophy in both tournaments.
With his win in Dubai Djokovic extended his lead over Federer at the top of the ATP ranking list to 3745 points. That is a huge difference, which will help him extend his reign tremendously, perhaps until autumn even. However, he is fonder of the tennis racket than of the ´calculator´.
- I don´t want to involve myself with these calculations. I can not influence them. I can only influence my own game and my results. Mentally, it means a lot to me that I have won another tournament and that I haven´t lost as of yet. Such results will keep me in first place - he ex¨plained.
Djokovic underlined oncemore how good he feels in the Emirates and he has surely left Dubai stronger than he was when he came there. He has added a trophy to his collection, but he has also gained the knowledge that none of his top 10 rivals have managed to take a set from him, despite not being in top shape yet.
For Djokovic this was the first tournament he played after winning the Australian Open. It´s expected he will raise his form during the coming months, while striving to peak during Roland Garros. A triumph in Paris would gain him a trophy he has never taken home with him, as well as mark the halfway point on the road to a Grand Slam, the biggest success imaginable in tennis - winning all four of the biggest tournaments of the world in the same year.
Melbourne has already been won, if the same happens at RG, ´only´ Wimbledon and the USO remain, and he has won both of those tournaments in the same year once already (2011), so why would he not be able to do it again?
Schedule in LA
Djokovic´ first match in LA begins after midnight CET. The exhibition tournament will be opened by Tommy Haas and James Blake, after which Djokovic will play a singles´ match with Mardy Fish and subsequently he will play a doubles´ match with Pete Sampras against the Bryan brothers.
Two years ago, Djokovic halted at 41 wins in a row from the start of the season and at 43 victories overall, because he won twice at the tail end of 2010, when Serbia won the Davis Cup.
John McEnroe only had one more win (42) in 1984 as far as the best season start is concerned. The record holder of the most matches won in a row overall is Bjorn Borg, who stopped at 49 matches in 1979.
Djokovic now has 18 victories in a row, and 13 from the season beginning, for he won the first five in London in November. The road to the record is long, but Djokovic is playing better now than he did two years ago, and his rivals seem to be playing worse.
The loss to Querrey was the last
Sam Querrey was the last man to beat Djokovic - it happened last autumn in Paris. Since that match Djokovic won the WTF (5 matches), the AO (7), one Davis Cup match in Belgium and Dubai (5).
Yoga gives me stability
One of the details not many know about when the best tennis player of the world is concerned is his performance of yoga.
- There is nothing secret there, although I do not like to talk about things pertaining to my preparation for training and matches and the everyday work I do. I perform yoga and I am glad I´ve been able to get to know people who are true experts in this field. Yoga is one of the things which keep me stable, flexible and collected - Djokovic explains.
Yoga is not a novelty in Djokovic´ life:
- I´ve been doing it for 7, 8 years now. I do not go to any extremes, it´s not as if I am doing it for hours during a day. I do certain exercises that suit me. Several yoga masters have taught me certain technniques and I use those that suit me. Those are different for a professional athlete as opposed to someone who does not do any sports.