Following a surprising withdrawal in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi with an illness, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will look to kick off his professional season on a higher note after a weekend’s rest. The Serbian star will begin his week in Doha against fellow countryman Dusan Lajovic, whom he has never faced on the professional tour.
Before he was forced to withdraw from the event, Djokovic put on an entertaining showing in his first match of 2015. He stormed through his encounter against Stan Wawrinka, as he won 10 of 11 games to lead 6-1, 4-0 without even breaking a sweat. He would drop just two more games in the entire match to defeat his rival 6-1, 6-2 and secure his spot in the final against another one of his noted adversaries. Sadly, he was unable to contest the final against Andy Murray.
“Unfortunately I am not to be able to play in the final in Abu Dhabi tonight,” Djokovic announced. “I’ve been sick today with a fever and I’m not fit to play. I said after my match last night, the crowds here have shown their love of tennis again this year and always inspire me to play my best, so I am hugely disappointed not to be able to play for them.”I’ve had another great weekend in Abu Dhabi, meeting fans and coaching young players, and played some great tennis against the best players in the world.”
World No. 68 Dusan Lajovic has been on a steady rise through the ATP World Tour ranks after compiling a 16-19 record on the tour in 2014. Strong showings in Bastad and Hamburg were particularly beneficial to his ranking points.
This marks the first time that these two countrymen will meet on the professional tour and will likely make for a one-sided contest favouring the top seed. Although Djokovic is coming off a fever, should he decide to play, he won’t have much trouble against Lajovic.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets