Novak Djokovic has beaten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at a non-ranking tournament in Abu Dhabi offering a healthy prize purse. The world number two's new coach, Boris Becker, trained with Djokovic ahead of the game.
Djokovic downed French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets - 7-6, 6-3 - on Friday, in front of coach Boris Becker, who flew into Abu Dhabi with his family on Thursday.
The new combo of coach and player, both of whom have six Grand Slam titles to their names, trained together briefly on Friday morning ahead of the "semifinal" encounter at the annual invitational tournament.
Djokovic will play Spaniard David Ferrer, who overcame his countryman and world number one Rafael Nadal on Friday, in Saturday's final. The Mubadala World Tennis Championships have no impact on the players' world rankings, but offer the winner a $250,000 (181,000 euro) prize purse. Mubadala is a state-owned investment fund based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Quiet coaching debut
Becker watched the semifinal from the players' box in a blue training jacket, keeping a relatively low profile. The often-loquacious former world number one stayed comparatively quiet on Twitter on Friday, sharing another user's screenshot of him in the stands, and then simply typing, "Let's do this #djokovic" after the semifinal win.
Prior to the game, Djokovic spoke about his motivation for choosing Becker as a new coach earlier this month.
"One of the main reasons was of course that he is a six-time Grand Slam winner, who has won so many trophies and is a former world number one," Djokovic told reporters, before adding that a change of coach was more about fine-tuning than revolution. "I will not be making any major changes, I am a complete player. Little details, here and there, little alterations - that should do it."
The first major tournament of the year, the Australian Open, runs from January 13 to 26 - Djokovic has claimed the crown four times already.
msh/jr (dpa, SID)