Djokovic pulls out of Abu Dhabi tennis comeback

Former world number one Novak Djokovic was scheduled to play Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals of the exhibition tournament at 1900 local time. (AFP)
Updated 29 December 2017
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Djokovic pulls out of Abu Dhabi tennis comeback

ABU DHABI: Former world number one and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Friday, raising fresh doubts over his fitness.
The 30-year-old Serbian star had targeted Abu Dhabi for his first match since his quarter-finals loss at Wimbledon in July this year.
Djokovic was scheduled to play Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals of the exhibition tournament at 1900 local time.
But four hours before that, Djokovic released a statement on his website announcing his intention. It is not clear still if he will play the Qatar Open where he is top seed next week.
“I am terribly disappointed that I am forced to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Djokovic said in the statement.
“Unfortunately, in the past few days I started to feel pain in the elbow and after several tests, my medical team has advised me not to risk anything, to withdraw from the tournament and to immediately continue with the therapies.”
He added: “Now I need to accept this situation, and to wait for the results of the therapies, in order to start playing tennis again and getting back to full rhythm. This might affect the start of the season and the tournament plan, but the decision will be made in the following days.”


Brazil ace Fernandinho credits Dubai break with 'extraordinary' Manchester City victory

Fernandinho recieves words from his coach Pep Guardiola.
Updated 23 min 50 sec ago
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Brazil ace Fernandinho credits Dubai break with 'extraordinary' Manchester City victory

MANCHESTER: Fernandinho has revealed a Dubai break helped him recharge for a performance described by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as “extraordinary.”
The Brazilian midfielder’s curling strike capped a superb display in the 5-0 win over Burnley on Saturday that helped keep the champions top of the Premier League.
But Fernandinho believes both he and his team can get even better under the new “special” one.
They face his former club Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday and the 33-year-old, who has not played for his country since their disappointing World Cup, says he feels fitter than ever.
“Yes, I don’t know (why),” he added. “When you are out of international duty you can forget just a little bit about football, spend more time with your family and clean your mind and your body. I think it helps a lot.
“I had a rest last week. I’ve been in Dubai for a week. I have had enough time to rest. I am happy because it’s good to be important especially in a (City) team like this with a lot of good and important players and we just need to go for it, to improve and get better all the time.
“It's good to hear something like this (being extraordinary) about you, especially when it comes from Pep. He's a special guy, a special manager and I'm so pleased for that especially after my performance.”
Fernandinho, who joined City from Shakhtar for £30 million ($38 million) in 2013, has been labelled a “key player” by Guardiola, who has had to start him more regularly after missing out on another defensive midfielder in Jorginho.
But the player does not think he is in the best form of his career.
“Not so far, not yet,” he said. “It was good (against Burnley), but I want to improve more, improve some details and get better to help the team.
“Maybe (this squad is stronger than last season). We have conceded less goals I think and that's a good point we have to take. And when we have the chance to play, especially at home, we create a lot of chances to score goals.
“I hope that we can improve more now because we cannot stop. We are just at the beginning of the season, just nine games, we have a long season ahead and I think from now until the end of the season we have to improve and get better and better. Otherwise, there's no point playing for City.”
Fernandinho is excited about a return to Shakhtar, a club where he won six league titles and the UEFA Cup during an eight-year spell.
City are a point behind Lyon in Group F, having lost to the French side at home, and need victory to stay ahead of the Ukrainian champions.
Fernandinho added: “The next two games against them is going to be decisive to see who goes through to the next stage. They are going to be key games for us.
“They have a good team, good players and we have to be careful and try to play the same way we are playing now. Of course it's a different competition, a different way to play from Burnley to Shakhtar. But we have to do what we have to do out on the pitch and try to win that game because it’s going to be very difficult.”