Djokovic all set for return in Abu Dhabi

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko will be Serena Williams first opponent when the American superstar makes her long-awaited return to tennis at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Valda Kalnina  EPA

"I want this for sure but actually I felt really fine (physically) at the end of the (2017) season".

It is a surprise to see the American back in action so quickly, but she definitely has her eyes on a 24th Grand Slam trophy in Melbourne, but chose to compete in Abu Dhabi for her comeback, "I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in September".

"Serena is the greatest women's tennis player of all time, and perhaps the greatest competitor -- man or woman -- that I have seen".

Djokovic, however, believes that his decision to take time off would surely pay dividends at Melbourne Park.

"It's pretty wonderful to play Serena and it's a great place to be here".

South African world number 14 Kevin Anderson provided the first upset of the three-day Abu Dhabi event, defeating the 10th ranked Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the opening match on Thursday.

She took the court to a chorus of cheers from the stands. "For sure I hope that it's the same this year because if I play him on clay that means that I go deep in the tournaments", said Thiem of his rivalry with the world No. 1.

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Roberto Bautista Agut will face Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships after seeing off Andrey Rublev in straight sets.

However, in their last meeting on an outdoor hard court Bautista Agut pulled off his first win over the 12-time Grand Slam champion in Shanghai. "I am going to assess everything with Patrick [Mouratoglou, her coach] and my team".

"I'm excited. It's good to be back on court, this is such a good time for me", Williams, 36, told Eurosport.

As a outcome of his absence, Djokovic saw his world ranking slip to 12, his lowest spot in last 10 years.

"I think we should".

Nadal and Federer also ended the year at one and two in the world. But the majors, Rafa and Roger were just too strong and I think this you have to accept. "I was pretty unhealthy for most of this year and I am getting there but it is a slow process".


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