Djokovic is ready for 2012

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Novak Djokovic showed he remains the player to beat in 2012, routing David Ferrer 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to win the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament.

The top-ranked Djokovic also beat Gael Monfils and then routed Roger Federer en route to his first Abu Dhabi title.

“This is the best way to start the 2012 season,” Djokovic said. “I must say I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. Playing against the top players in the world in this way gives me a lot of confidence.”

Earlier, Rafael Nadal overcame an ailing shoulder to beat Federer 6-1, 7-5 for third place in the $250,000 winner-takes-all six-man tournament.

HOPMAN CUP: In Perth, Australia, Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet beat Li Na and Wu Di 6-1, 6-1 in mixed doubles to give France a 2-1 victory over China in the opening match at the eight-country Hopman Cup.

French Open champion Li had beaten Bartoli 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first singles match at the Burswood Dome, and Gasquet tied it, topping Wu 6-1, 6-3.

Bartoli broke Li’s serve in the fifth game of the final set to take a 3-2 lead, but Li broke back to level the set at 4 and took the match by breaking in the final game. Wu double-faulted on match point.

Today, Australia will face Spain. On Monday, the United States will meet Denmark, and the Czech Republic will face Bulgaria.

MURRRAY HIRES LENDL: Andy Murray hired eight-time Grand Slam winner Ivan Lendl as his coach in a bid to finally win a major title.

Murray, currently ranked fourth, will begin working with Lendl as he prepares for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 16.

“It was important to me that any new person joining my team was able to add fresh insight,” Murray said in a statement. “Ivan’s impact on the game is unquestionable and he brings experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments. I look forward to working with him going forward.”

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