- ATP World Tour Finals
Djokovic bears down for one last push
The ATP World Tour Finals got underway at the O2 on Monday, but you would be forgiven for thinking it was a false start. While Stanislas Wawrinka was beating Tomas Berdych, two of the biggest names in the sport were holding court elsewhere.
Novak Djokovic swept into London with the Finals trophy in hand less than 24 hours after clinching the Paris Masters in Bercy, while Rafael Nadal - a losing semi-finalist there - also attended press duty much later than what the organisers had originally planned for the get-together.
Djokovic arrived to the O2 via one of the cable cars that shuttle spectators to and from the Greenwich attraction, bringing with him the silverware all eight players this week are gunning for. It will not be easy - he has landed in arguably the harder of the two groups with Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Richard Gasquet, now made even harder after Del Potro's three-set win over Gasquet and with both matches on Monday going the distance, highlighting the strength of this year's field.
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- Read more on what our resident tennis expert thinks here
"I cannot pick whoever is the most difficult opponent because my group is very tough," Djokovic said with a smirk, making it clear to everyone what he thought of the round-robin that awaits. "It's something that you could have expected."
Djokovic would probably have skipped the option of taking on record six-time champion Federer in his opening encounter, but that is the challenge confronting the Serb on Tuesday night. Even with a record of 17 wins from 17 matches since losing the US Open final to Nadal, Djokovic is taking nothing for granted.
"Of course with the scheduling this year, playing in Bercy it's demanding physically and mentally. It is what it is and I'm going to have to get ready for it," the Serb said, still with that self-deprecating grin across his face.
Before Djokovic took centre stage at the conference, Nadal, with his strawberry milkshake, voiced his opinion that the World Tour Finals should be played outdoors on different surfaces, saying he has been 'unlucky' not to win the event due to the indoor format.
Even as one of nine players to have won the World Tour Finals more than once, Djokovic agreed with his rival.
"This tournament should be organised in different places more often, and not held in one city for more than three years," he said. "Because this is the tournament of the eight best players in the world. It is in ATP's hands to think about eventually this kind of thinking that I have with various players sharing the same opinion."
Thoughts for the future immediately turned to what he thinks on the Federer clash, with the pair set for their second meeting of the year, the second in the space of four days after Djokovic edged out the Swiss in the last four in Paris on Saturday.
"He has an incredible quality in his game even though he is moving slower than he used to. He's striking the ball really well and if he feels well that day he can beat anybody," Djokovic said on Federer. Djokovic by his own admission is playing the best tennis of his season so far, so while he may have come across as a player not best pleased with his lot in London, don't expect that to show on court this evening.
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