Novak Djokovic shocked he is ending year as world No.1 after rapid route back to top spot

It has been a brilliant second half of the year for the Serb. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Novak Djokovic shocked he is ending year as world No.1 after rapid route back to top spot

LONDON: Novak Djokovic revelled in his “perfect” five months as he took aim at his sixth ATP Finals title with the year-end No.1 ranking in the bag.
The Serb, who won Wimbledon and the US Open, earlier this week replaced the injured Rafael Nadal at the top of the men’s rankings and is guaranteed to end 2018 in top spot.
Speaking before the start of the season finale at London’s O2 Arena, the Serb said next to the Grand Slams and the ATP Finals, reaching the number one spot was the “ultimate challenge” in the sport.
“I’m very proud of that achievement and I understand that it’s extra special this year because of the journey I’ve been through in the last 15 months, especially and particularly in the last eight to 10 months.
“After February’s elbow surgery it looked quite improbable that I would be in this position as the year-end No.1, not just because of the rankings — I was 22 (in May) — but just because of how I felt on the court, how I was playing.
“But there was always part of me that believed I could make it back and I never thought it was impossible. I just thought at the time it might take more time than I wished it to be.
“It turned to out to be a perfect five months of the year, with two Grand Slam titles,” he added.
“Of course, unfortunately Nadal had to withdraw from all of his tournaments after the US Open so he was not in that race but at the same time I thought it was a great five months that is crowned with this achievement.”
The 31-year-old Djokovic underwent surgery on his right elbow in January after the Australian Open, which was his first tournament in six months.
He struggled to find his best tennis when he returned to the court but reached the final of Queen’s before winning Wimbledon and the US Open.
Since the start of Wimbledon he has won 31 out of 33 matches.
Djokovic is seeking his fifth ATP Finals title in London to go with his first, which he won in Shanghai in 2008.
If he wins the tournament, which starts on Sunday, he would draw level with Roger Federer with six wins in total.
Djokovic is in Group Guga Kuerten along with Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and John Isner while Federer is in Group Lleyton Hewitt with Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori.
Each player plays the other group members, with the top two advancing to the semifinals.
Djokovic also confirmed that he would not be playing Nadal in the exhibition match in Saudi Arabia in December because of the Spaniard’s injury.


Saudi Arabia enjoy more golden success at Special Olympics

Updated 19 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia enjoy more golden success at Special Olympics

  • Kingdom's athletes claim three golds, one silver and three bronzes on day four in Abu Dhabi.
  • Saudi Arabia medal tally now up to an impressive 25.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia enjoyed another good day at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi winning three golds, one silver and three bronzes to take their medal tally to an impressive 25 after four days.
Abdulaziz Alharthi got the day off to a great start in the pool, the 17-year-old from Jeddah picking up gold in the men’s 25m freestyle.
That was then followed up with the second gold of the day as Mohammed Alolayan powered home in the 5,000m. It was his second medal of the Games after he took home a bronze in the triathlon.
Moayed Aldarwish completed the hat-trick of golds coming home first in the 400m.


That was not the end of the success for the Kingdom as Fares Almateq and Naif Alshammari won silver in the men’s doubles table tennis. This was Fares’ second win of the week, having impressively won gold in the men’s singles event earlier.
Heba Shawli then became another multiple-medal winner when she took home the bronze in the softball throw event — she having won gold in the 25m run event.
Faisal Algosaibi and Faris Khouj, also part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team, each won bronze in their division of the 25m freestyle swimming.


Other winners of multiple medals include Hassan Alhadhariti, who won three golds and one silver in powerlifting; Sara Felemban and Jana Albeshri, who both won silver in bocce women’s singles and women’s team events, and Shahad Sunbul, who won silver in the bocce women’s team event and bronze in the bocce women’s singles event.