Paris Masters: Novak Djokovic aims at record-breaking run, unsure on Australian Open 2022


The top-ranked Serb Novak Djokovic can break a tie with American great Pete Sampras with a record seventh year-end No. 1 finish. Djokovic currently has a lead of 1,900 points over No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the Race to Turin and could clinch the year-end No. 1 spot in Paris before the end of the season.

“The year-end No. 1 is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I’m in a pretty good position in terms of the ranking points and the Race,” Djokovic told a news conference Sunday, “so that’s obviously the goal for the end of the season, other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team. So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end No. 1.”

Paris Masters champion will earn 1,000 points while the winner of the ATP Finals can get up to 1,500 points with a perfect run. Although the current ATP rankings still include some results from 2019-2020 to take into account the COVID-19 situation, the year-end No. 1 is based only on 2021 results as the ATP Tour wants it to reflect the world’s best performer of this season.

Djokovic will play doubles to build up his fitness and prepare for the year-end Davis Cup with Serbia. There are questions marks about Djokovic’s fitness levels as he looked exhausted in the Tokyo Olympics and has not played any competitive match since Sept. 12.

“The season was very draining for me and demanding in every aspect, but I have had similar situations before where I was just super tired, but somehow managed to find the strength and finish the year and finish the season strong. Hopefully, that will be the case again.” Djokovic said.

Djokovic has lifted the Paris Masters trophy a record five times. He could overtake Rafael Nadal for the most Masters 1000 titles won. Nadal and Djokovic have won 36 Masters 1000 titles each, eight more than Roger Federer.

Djokovic did not confirm whether he would play at the Australian Open due to vaccination-linked regulations.”I’m going to decide on whether I go to Australia or not after I see the official statement from Tennis Australia,” Djokovic said.

Despite missing out on the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969, Djokovic has turned the defeat against Medvedev in New York into a positive moment. “I feel that the US Open loss in the final has arrived, you know, arguably at the worst or at the best time for me, in a way,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic hid his tears during a changeover in the last set by covering his face with a towel as the crowd at Flushing Meadows vocally supported him. “That kind of energy that I received from the crowd from the moment I stepped in the court until I stepped out is a win for life,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic got a first-round bye at the Paris Masters and starts with a match against either Marton Fucsovics or Fabio Fognini.

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Sagar Biswas

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