Sick Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Abu Dhabi Final; Nadal Beats Wawrinka
by Tom Gainey | January 3rd, 2015, 9:45 am

Novak Djokovic had to withdraw ahead of his Abu Dhabi exo final against Andy Murray. In a statement, the Serb said he was fighting a fever and was disappointed that he was unfit to compete against friend and rival Andy Murray.

“Unfortunately, I am not able to play in the final in Abu Dhabi. I’ve been sick today with a fever and I am not fit to play.

“I’ve had another great week in Abu Dhabi,” he went on. “I love being part of this tournament and I’m really disappointed not to be able to take my chance of winning the trophy here again. Conragrtuations to Andy, it’s a shame I couldn’t play him today but I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.”

Ironically, it was Murray who was under an injury cloud entering the final after the Scot hurt his shoulder yesterday. But Murray was apparently ready to play today.

Djokovic is scheduled to be in Doha next week along with Rafael Nadal.

In the consolation round, after winning just two games against Murray Friday, Nadal played better in a 76, 63 win over Wawrinka.

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21 Comments for Sick Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Abu Dhabi Final; Nadal Beats Wawrinka

brando Says:

Yesterday when he posted my surprise at his choice to suddenly play in Doha I wanted to state its a bad choice since from previous experience to my favourite Rafael Nadal, you can easily pick up fevers, viruses since the travel can affect you: switching from middle east to Australia climate takes time for the body to adjust. That said: this is sad news, clearly unfortunate and I wish him a speedy recovery. I also think he’d be wise to skip Doha and revert to his old, tried, tested and successful routine of going to Australia now. There’s no point toiling in the middle east with a virus and then giving yourself a mere week to adjust for Australia when you really do not have to. It’s his decision ultimately and he’s intelligent enough to make the right call I am sure. Speedy recovery Novak.

Giles Says:

Let’s hope he doesn’t pass the virus around!!!

brando Says:

@Giles: that’s actually not bad point. For example, here in the UK there is a winter bug floating around. Prominent athletes-manchester United footballers- suffered from it. My suffered it for a while then unfortantely I. So it can go around: as I said I think Novak is better off recovering in Australia as extra time spent in middle east and then a mere to adjust to Australian conditions fora guy with a history of environmental related physical issues maybe not enough. This is speculative thinking from me though: facts show he’s great at leaving this exhibition and playing in Australia to great success. If it works why change it no?

Yolita Says:

I absolutely agree, Brando. I don’t even know why he decided to play in Doha this year… *sigh*

brando Says:

@yolita: thank you. Don’t worry about it too much though yolita, it’s probably a passing fever.

courbon Says:

Wog Boy; Srecna Nova Godina i sve najbolje!

Michael Says:

Everybody was talking about Andy’s withdrawal in the finals and it happened the other way around. It is unfortunate that Novak was suffering from high temperature and I hope he recovers quickly as his favourite Australian Open is not far off.

As regards Andy, it is really a morale booster for him so early in the season. Abu Dhabi is one of the prestigious exhibition tourneys and winning it always gives you a nice feeling.

Patson Says:

When I read about this , I pretty much said what Clay Davis used to say in ‘The Wire’: Sheeeee-it

Get well Nole! Important tourneys coming ahead.

Wog Boy Says:

Frenchie, хвала, имамо још један Божић и Нову Годину:)

Nole had fever against Wawrinka, he kept asking for more tissues during entire match, he will be fine for Doha and Nadal:)

mat4 Says:


I rewatched the latest Novak–Stan matches, and then watched HL of his match at the AO in 2013. Technically, Novak didn’t change his FH much — he did perhaps play it a bit flatter, but the rebound, the surfaces seemed to be the key elements in the different perception of the stroke.

So, there is one thing bothering me: how does Novak beat Stan the way he does? We have seen that Stan was in good form at the WTF, where he was steamrolled. Here, perhaps not that much, but the result could have easily be a bagel in the second set.

So, what has changed? I have noticed the following: Novak goes to the net more often, every time he expects a defensive slice. It makes a little difference. Then, he plays more on Stan’s FH, to open the BH side than he did at the AO. But is it all? Is it the key of the last results, or simply the fact that the rebound was lower in London? I really would like to know.

Finally, Novak HAS to improve his FH, to play it flat, to make more points of it, otherwise, he will have difficulties against Nishikori, or Wawa, or Murray when they are in a good day.

jane Says:

i also like when nole angles off his forehand sharply, maybe mid court, just above the service line. he can end a point with sharp angles like that or at least pull his opponent so far off the court that he can end the next point with a d-t-l shot.

Yolita Says:

I think going to the net more is the crucial factor that has helped Novak beat Wawrinka recently. I agree that he has to improve his FH, I am more worried about Nishikori than anyb ody else.

Also, I am still worried about Novak’s fever. I hope Brando is right and Novak will be fine in a few days.

mat4 Says:

jane, Yolita:

Nishikori worries me too, but when I watched carefully a few of his matches, it was clear that he can`t play carefree, flat shots whenever he wanted. He has to be relaxed to do it, and he mainly did it when playing against Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, when he had nothing to lose. The semi at the WTF was an ample demonstration that he had difficulties under double pressure — pressured by an aggressive opponent and by the result.

But when he is relaxed, his FH is murderous.

Nowadays, Novak plays much more IO FH than he did a few years ago, when he opted to play a BH instead. The key, for him, is to keep an aggressive mind frame in his matches, and we have witnessed that he doesn`t have to play deep to be efficient — he can achieve the same result playing shorter, but flatter balls.

He has improved his FH played with an open stance — he worked on it since MC last year, and it has improved his FH DTL, which is more efficient today. His CC FH is probably the best in the game (that’s his best shot today), and he has finally tamed his new racquet, which can produce more head speed, something made evident by the fact that he had refound his FH on the run.

But he obviously has to work on two key points: the FH IO and DTL, and the serve, which could be a bit better.

mat4 Says:

I am still perplexed by Novak’s latest results: the way he beat Berdych in Beijing, his results in Paris and London, and that last match in Abu Dhabi.

I certainly didn’t expect such dominance against top ten players: bagels, breadsticks, almost an average of two breaks by set…

I feel that Novak has improved something, but I don’t see what. I see his opponents playing bad, time and time again: Wawrinka in the last two matches, Nishikori in Paris and London, Raonic in Paris was destroyed, Berdych… without chances to do anything whatsoever, Cilic losing like a junior…

Something has happened and I still don’t understand what. Was it mere coincidence? A bad patch by his opponents? We’ll see soon. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Novak goes on a tear for the next few months, the way he did in 2011.

skeezer Says:

Happy New Year back @ ya.
Re: Novak;
Difference? What has happened lately in his life?
;). It doesn’t always happen(change) on the court that makes the performance and results better.

jane Says:

hey mat4, i left a post for you on the other thread re: top ten results that yolita calculated. i guess it’s been consistent for a while, although not in the way you indicate above, i.e., with bagels, breadsticks and the like.

skeezer might be right though; maybe nole has a renewed sense of focus and purpose.

it seems like a lot was unsettled for nole last year with the new arrangement with becker to get used to at the start of the year, the marriage in the middle of the year and then the birth of his son at the end of the year. all of that had to take a bit of adjusting. now, things are more settled. we’ll see if that helps him to be more focused or if he shifts his priorities as sean alluded to on his predictions post.

mat4 Says:

jane, skeez:

I can’t find that thread any more. There are so many of them.

I read the stats you posted, and Yolita wrote something similar on I used to go there just to read her posts, so it was nothing new.

No, what troubles me is that his opponents seem to play so bad. In Paris, only Monfils played a great set. Murray so so, the first one if I remember well. Novak rolled over Raonic in the final.

I thought that players came mostly exhausted to the WTF, but I got a different impression watching the semi, when Wawrinka played an exceptional match against Rog. I unfortunately watched the DC after that, and wawrinka played and excellent match against JWT.

That match was very indicative: usually, Federer, with rhythm changes, with his ability to change strategies from game to game, rally to rally, confuses Stan, but it didn’t work. I could understand that after Monte Carlo Stan has much more confidence against Roger, but he should have more confidence against Novak too.

So, what do I miss? Is it the speed of the ball? But Paris and London were played on very slow surfaces. Unfortunately, I can’t find highlights on YT to compare.

Daniel Says:

I think Djokovic improved two simple tennis strokes: he is serving better, protecting his serve. Seems some of his T serves has more pop and his retunr game is even better, he is having more returns in and focing even more the serve, hence severa ets with double breaks. Ifhe indeed goes more to the neg as he was “practicing” agasint Wawrinka he could have an easier time.

As the rankingas are kind of mixed not acordingly with players pedigree the draws will play an even bigger factor in next Slam. For example: Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Nishikori could be all in the same side which will be brutal. Same goes for Federer if we change his nme by Djokovic.
Hope we get a balanced draw in AO.

jane Says:

hope so too daniel, although last year nole’s draw was arguably good at the ao and he lost to stan; same with fed’s draw at the uso and he lost to marin, so even with a good draw you never know!

Wog Boy Says:

“Difference? What has happened lately in his life?
;). It doesn’t always happen(change) on the court that makes the performance and results better.”

Skeezer, you might be well right.
2013..Nole was making up his mind to “pop the question” (to borrow Sean’s line), then Vajda told him he no longer can travel with him, then he needed time to adjust to new coach, then everything settled down, he popped the question, bonded with Boris, got married, got his first child…”you beauty, now I can play the tennis”:)
Makes perfect sense, don’t you think so?

Wog Boy Says:

^^or is “you might well be right”?

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