Source: China State Council Information Office
Novak Djokovic said he is ready for the “big task” of trying to win the ATP Tour Finals in London and claim the year-end world No 1 spot for a record-equaling sixth time.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion sealed his fifth Paris Masters title on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Canadian Denis Shapovalov, but will be usurped by the injured Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings on Monday.
Nadal said he will fight until it is “impossible” to be fit for the start of the season-ending championships on Nov 10.
If the Spaniard does not play or fails to win a round-robin match at the Finals, Djokovic must claim two group-stage victories and make the final to pass him.
Djokovic would also be sure of the year-end top ranking should he win the tournament and Nadal does not reach the semis.
“There’s always a chance that I win all my matches in London, that I play well. I have done it in the past and I like playing there,” said the 32-year-old, who has won five ATP Finals titles.
“But it’s an extremely difficult task considering who my opponents are going to be.
“You’re playing a top-10 player every single match, so that’s a big task on my end that I have to focus on.
“And as a consequence, of course, if I manage to get the year-end No 1, that would be fantastic.”
Djokovic has won every final he’s played at Bercy Arena except for last year’s against Karen Khachanov, which came after a three-hour semifinal slugfest against Roger Federer.
This year, Djokovic did not drop a set and heads to the upcoming ATP Finals in London looking to secure the year-ending No 1 ranking for a sixth time.
That would move him two ahead of Nadal, one ahead of Federer and Jimmy Connors, and into a tie with record-holder Pete Sampras.
“It is a motivation and a goal every day,” said Djokovic. “It is a goal that I have as a professional tennis player to win as many Grand Slams as possible and also to be No 1 worldwide for as long as possible.”
The 33-year-old Nadal could have ended the race for top spot by winning the Paris title, but he withdrew before his semifinal against 20-year-old Shapovalov with an abdominal muscle strain.
“I’m sad to see that he’s injured,” Djokovic said of Nadal. “I know how that feels. Obviously I went through major injuries in my life as well.”
Djokovic has now won 77 tour titles in a stellar career and fully intends to add many more.
“I don’t take them for granted like it’s something normal or usual or common. I’ve been blessed to win so many big titles in my life,” he said.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m still playing professional tennis, to fight for these big trophies and to still be able to play the highest level.”
Djokovic has enjoyed yet another fantastic season, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon among his five titles.
That looked a long way off when his comeback from a long-standing elbow injury hit a glitch last year with a quarterfinal loss to Marco Cecchinato in the French Open.
But he has since added four major titles, having also claimed the 2018 Wimbledon and US Open crowns, to take his total to 16.
The 32-year-old Serbian – who is closing on Nadal (19) and Federer (20) on the all-time list of Grand Slam winners – hopes to play on for as many years as possible.
“I would like to play tennis for a long time. I don’t know how long that is going to be, but I wish to really play pretty long,” he said.
“So hopefully you’ll be seeing me around for many more years.”