Djokovic feels many years in front of him
Novak Djokovic has maintained his remorseless supremacy of tennis through an increasingly unforgiving schedule, but even the super-fit Serb needs a break.
As such, three weeks off after winning his 11th grand slam title at last month's Australian Open was most welcome for Djokovic, as he prepares for this week's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. But while a rare hiatus was positive news for the world number one, a rejuvenated Djokovic is an ominous proposition for his rivals - particularly given the supreme confidence he exuded on Sunday.
"Those three weeks feel like they were more," he said at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel ahead of his first-round match at the Dubai Tennis Stadium against Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo at 7pm on Monday. "I am eager to come back and am eager to compete. I miss tennis. "I've been spending a lot of time with my wife [Jelena] and my child [Stefan], leaving my racket on the side. I think it's important to balance [your life], in order to recharge and gain that freshness that you need to continue to play at a high level and compete here in Dubai and in what's coming after Dubai."
Is he surprised by his dominance, after emerging from the shadows of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in recent years?
"I have to be honest, it doesn't surprise me," replied Djokovic, who is the number one seed here after the defending champion, and record seven-time winner, Roger Federer, withdrew after undergoing knee surgery.