Abu Dhabi Tennis Exo Schedule: Djokovic, Federer And Nadal Ready For Battle
by Tom Gainey | December 28th, 2011, 10:23 am

It’s not the official first ball, but pro tennis action begins Thursday in the Middle East, home of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The money-rich event is loaded again with star power. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils, David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will compete for a first place check of $250,000.

The knock out tournament begins tomorrow with Ferrer against Tsonga at 3pm (6am ET) followed by Djokovic and Monfils at 5pm (8am ET).

Federer and Nadal, who have byes, will be on site signing autographs and taking part in clinics. Federer and Ferrer will host a free clinic for kids at 11am. Nadal will be available for autographs at 2pm followed by Federer.

“I feel my game is in really good shape and the desire to train hard remains,” Federer told the GulfNews earlier this week. “Everything is in a good place and to continue the winning streak in Abu Dhabi would be a good start to the new season.”

“Each year the support I receive is amazing and appreciated. The fans in Abu Dhabi give me a great welcome and it’s part of the reason I come back. It would be nice to get an early win for the fans but also to see where my game is ahead of the Australian Open,” Federer added.

On Friday, Federer will play the Djokovic-Monfils winner at 3pm. Nadal will play his semifinal against the Ferrer-Tsonga victor at 5pm.

The Saturday final is set for 5pm local time. For more visit the Abu Dhabi website.

If I find any live streaming options or TV coverage I will post here. Tennis Channel will show a replay of the event on Monday.

3pm Ferrer v. Tsonga
5pm Djokovic v. Monfils

3pm Federer v. Djokovic/Monfils
5pm Nadal v. Ferrer/Tsonga

3pm Third Place Match (semifinal losers)
5pm Finals

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51 Comments for Abu Dhabi Tennis Exo Schedule: Djokovic, Federer And Nadal Ready For Battle

RSP Says:

Any reason why Federer, and not Djokovic, got the bye?

Tom Gainey Says:

Unless I’m mistaken Federer and Nadal were confirmed for the event before Djokovic. With scheduling set in advance they were given the extra day.

The event is an Exo so it doesn’t follow any tour ranking/seeding rules.

skeezerweezer Says:

Ha! First come, first serve ;)

sandapanda Says:

actually they got a bye because last years finalists (Federer and Nadal) get a bye to the semis, not the top 2 seeds.

dave Says:

The Mubadala organizers pay huge appearance fees to Federer (as well as to Nadal and Djokovic) to say things like he wants to continue his winning streak in a non-ATP exhibition event that does not count in his official win-loss record.

Federer doesn’t take such exo tourneys that seriously. He rarely wins them even though he has played a lot of exos. He certainly doesn’t want to waste too much energy before Doha next week.

In his career Federer has won only two exhibition tourneys before the Australian Open: the 2005 and 2009 AAMI Classic in Kooyong, Melbourne. In both years he did not win the Australian Open. In the four years Federer did win the Australian Open (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010), he lost in the exo tourney. Federer reached only two other pre-AO exo finals (2007, 2011). In 2007, Roddick beat Federer in the final of the AAMI Classic. Two weeks later Federer blitzed Roddick in straight sets in their Australian Open semifinal match.

Some dumb pundits will claim that the Mubadala exo results indicate the status of the players for the Australian Open. Only Andre Agassi has won both the AAMI Classic and Australian Open (2000, 2001, 2003). Since 1988, no other player who won either the AAMI Classic or Mubadala Championship has gone on to win the Australian Open.

Humble Rafa Says:

Some dumb pundits will claim that the Mubadala exo results indicate the status of the players

LOL. There are some engines in my body that only work well after so many matches. Slow starter engines. So, I have to play them.

dave Says:

There are some engines in my body that only work well after so many matches. Slow starter engines.

A Spanish car engine needs a good driver to press the ‘start button’… A Spanish car doesn’t need tennis matches.

jane Says:

Nadal said: “From Indian Wells to Wimbledon and the Olympic Games is where I have to recover my best level.”

Kimmi Says:

ferrer pounding tsonga backhand. he is rewarded in the tie breaker.

Tsonga very passive on his backhand side today.

Kimmi Says:

much better on the backhand side from tsonga now

Kimmi Says:

ah, three bh errors from tsonga and he is broken.

Kimmi Says:

tsonga looked resigned at the end. ferrer breaks again to finish the match. congrats to ferrer.

Wog boy Says:

I liked tsonga’s singlehanded BH.
I was thinkig, if Federer has Tsonga’s power on BH side that would be scary , wow.
Let see how sharp is Nole, if I don’t fall asleep.

Kimmi Says:

wog boy – are you in Sydney? what is the time over there?

Kimmi Says:

looks easy for djokovic at the moment.

Kimmi Says:

ha ha some great scrambling from both both players. monfils needs to hold.

ah,too much showing off la monf and he misses.

Kimmi Says:

that was too easy for nole. monfils better wake up.

Kimmi Says:

sloppy nole. monfils breaks early in the second

Kimmi Says:

seriously, these two are playing like exho mode.

Wog boy Says:

Kimmi, it is 1:30 am in Sydney, still awake though I don’t like these couple of games in second set. They should be more serious, it is OK little bit of fun but don’t overdo it .

Kimmi Says:

very late wog boy, you are a true tennis fan. monfils much better in the second set. i agree that djokovic wasn’t serious for the moment there and it cost him.

i am expecting a serious third set from both guys.

Kimmi Says:

ah double fault..sloppy monfils. break point. and djokovic breaks!

Kimmi Says:

djokovic has been good saving break points in the third

Kimmi Says:

hmm, double fault from monfils to end the match. nole goes through. another three see match. congrats nole.

federer next!

van orten Says:

wow nadal says he is not a 100% because of a nagging shoulder injury and so he will skip all february events to rest and practice…hahhahahahhahahahh nadal as always first with the mind games..you cannot take that guy seriously anymore,,,he decided just 2-3 days ago to participate at abu dhabi blah blah blahh…now all season long we are going to hear read and see a rafa not at 100% so if he loses – injured and if he still wins( what he mostly does) wow what a fighter… really getting annoying and predictable …

humble rafa pls tell us about ur sore shoulder pls !!!!!!

Wog boy Says:

Couple of great ala Nole returns and that’s it. He needs more matches, I don’t know if Abu Dhabi is enough practice for Nole before AO. I guess he and his team know what is best for him. I am looking forward for next match against Federer, that might tell us more.
Time for bed, talk to you ,Kimmi, tomorrow.
Good night and good morning.

Wog boy Says:

@van orten:

There is not much in February anyway, I mean masters are in march, rotherdam and Dubai are in february. You are right.

mat4 Says:

Some observations.

First, Djokovic went to the net very often, especially in the first set. It seems to me that his problem, at the net, is a bad selection of shot. He tries to overdo it a bit.

He tried to shorten the points, hitting flat over and over, attacking very early in the exchange. His forehand looked good, especially in the first set. In the following sets, he tried too hard, perhaps, pulling the trigger too soon.

The serve is not good.

He looked a bit rusty.

Kimmi Says:

there is nothing serious in february anyways, so if rafa is taking the whole months off it is no big deal imo. I believe he took Feb off last year too.

The serious stuff is in January and he is playing. so I dont think whatever is bothering him is that serious.

I agree with you van orten though, why do we have to hear so much about rafa’s injuries?

van orten Says:

it s not that i want to write something bad about rafa..i have been very excited about the competition in 2012 and with the top 3 top 4 goin all fired up into next season …but no… rafa always has to find excuses even before competing..such a bummer

Humble Rafa Says:

I agree with you van orten though, why do we have to hear so much about rafa’s injuries?

Sshh. Mind plays. Don’t discuss.

Kimmi Says:

mat4, i believe they are all going to be a bit rusty. i don’t expect federer to come all guns blazing. So, it a good time to play these matches.

ha ha poor federer, playing world number one right off the bat.

alison hodge Says:

the djokovic monfils match was great,once both had stopped clowning around,not that these matches have a great deal of importance atached to them,but as much as i like gael he acts the fool too much sometimes,if this had been a proper match i would have found it frustating,as he had plenty of chances to break noles serve,and turn the match into more of a contest,jmo.

alison hodge Says:

as a fan of rafa i would not want to sound biased, as i know he has a tendancy to rub people up the wrong way talking about injuries,hell he anoys me as much as anybody,but for people to make out hes the only one to ever do it is unfair,not do sound like a hater which i am not by any means,but i do believe nole had been going on about a shoulder injury for some time now,since the end of the uso.

DC Says:

Nadal has again come up with an excuse (shoulder injury) for his losses during the end of 2011.
Also its an excuse for any other losses that he suffers for the next few months.

Nadal should remember that every player does not play at 100% mental &physical fitness level all the time. Every one has small or big issues and manage to manage their careers.

looks like Nadal will break the record for most excuses.

van orten Says:

it s ok to cite injuries..everyone has them god knows..even fed comes up from time to time with that..but nadal already has a pattern..it is the same procedure as every year ( not to say tournament);-)

Brando Says:

Glad season is almost at a start! Hope every one is enjoying this time of te year too! Re rafa: whilst injury talk also annoys me as a rafa fan, I must say that during the off season Jesus go barcelona to receive treatment for the shoulder and also that he did not practise for a week, which is a matter of fact, so surely there mus be some truth in this issue for him. His reasons to play the exhibition, aside from money like the others, is that it’s the best form of practise a opposed to hitting practise at home. Makes sense to me.

Brando Says:

Glad season is almost at a start! Hope every one is enjoying this time of te year too! Re rafa: whilst injury talk also annoys me as a rafa fan, I must say that during the off season He did go barcelona to receive treatment for the shoulder and also that he did not practise for a week, which is a matter of fact, so surely there mus be some truth in this issue for him. His reasons to play the exhibition, aside from money like the others, is that it’s the best form of practise a opposed to hitting practise at home. Makes sense to me.

skeezerweezer Says:

any link to the matches?

skeezerweezer Says:

^errr scratch that..looks like I have to get up early tomorrow

jane Says:

Hi mat4, perhaps this explains what you noticed? Apparently Vajda is coaching Nole to be more aggressive, end points more quickly:


alison hodge Says:

hi brando hope your ok,and everyone else on the forum too,looking forward to more of everybodys posts in the new season,hopefully regarding rafa its much ado about nothing,although i agree he doesnt do himself any favours to keep bringing up these injury problems all the time.

Brando Says:

@ Alison:

Hi Alison, thanks and right back at you too, hope everything is well and pleasant for you.

As for rafa, well i personally do not doubt the credibility of what he says regarding the shoulder, but my sentiment regarding this is that i hope once and for all, some time soon, rafa is free from injury or whatever else and is playing his tennis free from whatever that was inhibiting him at times last year.

Let’s hope that shall happen soon for him!

alison hodge Says:

thanks brando yeah had a pleasant christmas,anyway apart from the odd niggle here and there, rafas been injury free for the most part this year,and i hope for that to carry on next year,probably the monkey on his back was djokovic,and those bloody six defeats,maybe he should just try to forget that and just try to concentrate on his own game(i know,easier said than done),anyway looking forward to the new season,to see what he will bring,change of topic whos your pick for the top 10,on the other thread?
mens and ladies.

grendel Says:

Marian Vajda says:”This season, I would push him to be more aggressive and go to the net with volleys” (from jane’s link):
But can he do it when it doesn’t come instinctively? Lendl, for instance, schooled himself in net play late in the afternoon of his career for the specific purpose of winning Wimbledon. He looked pretty good on the whole. But when under severe pressure, as against Cash in the Wimby final, the difference was clear. Cash looked born to play on grass – I remember even Martina Navratilova saying she took inspiration from him, being particularly entranced, apparently, by the way he bent his knees. Basic stuff, you might think, but there it is. Meanwhile, poor old Lendl looked as stiff as a poker rammed up a kangaroo’s whatsit. Admittedly, he was concentrating on serve and volley which is not Vajda’s priority, but even so.

As of now, the general feeling seems to be less than overwhelming towards Djokovic – on the relevant thread, I counted 21 for Djokovic being #1 at end of year, 19 against. Considering the year he’s just had, one might have expected a bigger endorsement. I get the sense people are still reserving judgement. But if he dominates again this year, even if rather less so, say to the tune of 2 slams and perhaps 3 masters – I think attitudes will change. Djokovic will finally get the aura.

So, there is all to play for. That is, I am sure Djokovic’s motivation will be as high as ever.

alison hodge Says:

i agree with grendel although i think it will be impossible to have another year like this one,theres no reason why nole cannot have another great year,next year will be a good indication to see where hes really at and whether he can back it up,1 or maybe 2 slams maybe but i dont see more than that again,great post as always you never fail to make me laugh,btw grendel who would your top 10 be on the other thread?

grendel Says:

To be honest, alison, though I sort of indicated it, I also ducked out. I think it’s a bit of a lottery. I think I was the only person – no, one other person, Christ, it was you wasn’t it, come to think of it! – who suggested Roddick as a top tenner. Andrea made the fair point that I wouldn’t get many takers on that one. My position would be this, there are so many variables involved that there are bound to be one or two players whose inclusion seems implausible. Of course, almost by definition, you can’t tell who he (they)will be,so, within reason, you can more or less close your eyes and stick your finger out. Thus: how about Monfils or Gasquet? Gasquet is exactly the sort of player who could end up #9, #19, #29 and a bookie might struggle to allocate sensible odds. What about Troicki – he seems to have gone backwards lately, but perhaps he will have another reversal of fortune. And so on. What I am really trying to say is that – aside from being a yellow livered spoilsport – whereas I have more or less the same 7, shall we say, as everybody else, the last 2 or 3 I can’t pick. For I could say so and so or I could say such and such, and on Saturday I would go for so and so whilst on Sunday I would staunchly defend such and such. In short – it’s a lottery.

jane Says:

Roddick stands a pretty good chance of getting back into the top ten in the sense that he is not that far off now (isn’t he up around 15 or so?) and he missed a lot last year due to injury. So he stands to gain points. I think he lost before the quarterfinals at every slam except the USO where he was blown away by Rafa. If Roddick is still hungry enough, then perhaps he can make a run to top ten again.

But I agree with grendel that the last three are a crapshoot. I have a feeling someone new will sneak in only I cannot decide who. Doglo seems talented enough but he is so inconsistent; Tomic may be a little too far off; not sure if Nishikori can stay injury-free; and of course there is Raonic too. He stands to gain a lot from Wimbledon onward since he was out with injury for most of the second half. If he can pick up where he left off, he might break into the top ten.

Then, will Tipsy and Fish stay there?? Hmmm.

I think Delpo will make it, but not Soda, based on the things he has been saying.

madmax Says:

Only an exhibition, but I know that fed treats these kinds of events for practising shots, seeing where his game is at? I don’t know whether this is something to worry about (what’s the point in that?), or just go along with the hype? After all, it’s an exhibition. Although Federer did say this:

‘Commenting on his great finish to the season, which ended with his sixth win in the ATP World Tour finals, the Swiss ace said: “I have had a couple of tough losses, at Wimbledon especially, even in the French Open final and in the US Open semis. So for me it was just about keeping my cool, staying mentally sane and not going crazy about it’.

So, I think the fed is ‘staying cool’, but if he is to beat Novak, it will have to be a more monumental effort. Fed didn’t seem to expend a lot of energy to me, whereas also, I do feel that Novak having played Monfils, got rid of the rust whereas Fed was definitely rusty in his match with Novak.

Dave, your stats on Fed’s lack of winning ability in Exhos and then going on to with slams, was awesome and heartening at the same time.

Thanks once again.

Happy New Year everyone!

alison hodge Says:

grendel no i was not the one who said roddick,although i agree with jane its still a possibility,to be honest your right its all a lottery anyway,but all the ones you mentioned are the ones i picked,raonic,tomic,gasquet,nishikori,dolgo,triocki,time will tell,anyway great post as always,happy new year to you.

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