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Unstoppable

Posted: 21 Mar 2011 01:47 PM PDT

Claycourt dominance the next target for unbeaten Djokovic

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 04:40:00

INDIAN WELLS: Having proved himself invincible so far this year on hardcourt surfaces, Novak Djokovic has set his sights on excelling in the claycourt season that follows.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

The Serb won the 18th consecutive match of his 2011 campaign with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over top seed Rafa Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells ATP tournament this morning and he was eager to keep his red-hot run going.

"I am extremely happy with the way I'm playing and with the success that I'm having," Djokovic said after beating the Spanish world No 1 for a fourth time in their last six encounters.

"But I know that the season is very long, and I don't want to be too euphoric about the win. I need to celebrate a little bit, and then move on.

"I have a big will to win each match I'm playing and I want to keep on going, keep on playing good tennis. Hopefully I can recover and get ready for Miami," he said, referring to the ATP event starting next week.

Asked if he felt unbeatable, Australian Open champion Djokovic replied: "I do have the best period of my life on the tennis court, but nobody is invincible. You are just trying to play your best in each match you're playing."

By his own admission, the 23-year-old has been seeing the tennis ball "as large as a watermelon" over the last three months and he would dearly love to keep that feeling going through the claycourt season.

"I believe I can play well on that surface and I have proven that in the last couple of years," said Djokovic, who will replace Swiss Roger Federer as world No 2 when the new rankings are issued today.

"I had a great clay court season in 2009 and 2008, and I've always played well at Roland Garros," he said of the French Open.

"In order to win trophies on that surface, big ones, I will need to be physically very, very fit.

"As the slowest surface, it requires a lot of physical strength and endurance and I have been working hard on it for a while. I will definitely pay attention to it more."

Nadal, the greatest claycourt player of his generation and arguably of all time, felt the ultimate success of Djokovic's 2011 campaign could hinge on how effectively he transitioned from the hardcourt season.

"Right now he's playing on his favourite surface, because hard court and outdoor I think is when he plays better," the Spanish left-hander said.

"He is in confidence, he's playing well, he's very good player.

"We will see when he loses (for) the first time (this year). I don't know if it's gonna happen in Miami or happen in Monte Carlo or not gonna happen," Nadal added with a laugh.

So far, so good, though for Djokovic who has dominated the men's game this year. He crushed Briton Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to claim his second Australian Open title in January and then outplaying Federer 6-3, 6-3 to win last month's Dubai championships.

The Serb has signalled he is a genuine third force at the top of men's tennis — along with Federer and Nadal — and he underlined the point by beating both of them in his last two matches at Indian Wells.

"I just congratulate him," Nadal said. "He has done better than possible to start this season. He's playing well. He's in the right place at the right moment."

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Unstoppable

Posted: 20 Mar 2011 10:33 PM PDT

INDIAN WELLS: Having proved himself invincible so far this year on hardcourt surfaces, Novak Djokovic has set his sights on excelling in the claycourt season that follows.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic with the trophy he won

The Serb won the 18th consecutive match of his 2011 campaign with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over top seed Rafa Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells ATP tournament this morning and he was eager to keep his red-hot run going.

"I am extremely happy with the way I'm playing and with the success that I'm having," Djokovic said after beating the Spanish world No 1 for a fourth time in their last six encounters.

"But I know that the season is very long, and I don't want to be too euphoric about the win. I need to celebrate a little bit, and then move on.

"I have a big will to win each match I'm playing and I want to keep on going, keep on playing good tennis. Hopefully I can recover and get ready for Miami," he said, referring to the ATP event starting next week.

Asked if he felt unbeatable, Australian Open champion Djokovic replied: "I do have the best period of my life on the tennis court, but nobody is invincible. You are just trying to play your best in each match you're playing."

By his own admission, the 23-year-old has been seeing the tennis ball "as large as a watermelon" over the last three months and he would dearly love to keep that feeling going through the claycourt season.

"I believe I can play well on that surface and I have proven that in the last couple of years," said Djokovic, who will replace Swiss Roger Federer as world No 2 when the new rankings are issued today.

"I had a great clay court season in 2009 and 2008, and I've always played well at Roland Garros," he said of the French Open.

"In order to win trophies on that surface, big ones, I will need to be physically very, very fit.

"As the slowest surface, it requires a lot of physical strength and endurance and I have been working hard on it for a while. I will definitely pay attention to it more."

Nadal, the greatest claycourt player of his generation and arguably of all time, felt the ultimate success of Djokovic's 2011 campaign could hinge on how effectively he transitioned from the hardcourt season.

"Right now he's playing on his favourite surface, because hard court and outdoor I think is when he plays better," the Spanish left-hander said.

"He is in confidence, he's playing well, he's very good player.

"We will see when he loses (for) the first time (this year). I don't know if it's gonna happen in Miami or happen in Monte Carlo or not gonna happen," Nadal added with a laugh.

So far, so good, though for Djokovic who has dominated the men's game this year. He crushed Briton Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to claim his second Australian Open title in January and then outplaying Federer 6-3, 6-3 to win last month's Dubai championships.

The Serb has signalled he is a genuine third force at the top of men's tennis — along with Federer and Nadal — and he underlined the point by beating both of them in his last two matches at Indian Wells.

"I just congratulate him," Nadal said.

"He has done better than possible to start this season. He's playing well. He's in the right place at the right moment."

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