Novak Djokovic eyes ‘very sharp start’ in year-end No 1 battle with Rafael Nadal at ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic pumped up

He sees the year-end No 1 ranking as “one of the two biggest achievements” in tennis and Novak Djokovic has promised to be quick out of the blocks at the ATP Finals in his battle with Rafael Nadal for the honour.

Nadal is currently the man in the driving seat as he has a 640-point lead over Djokovic with just the season-ending tournament at The O2 Arena still to come.

However, there are plenty of points on offer in London as you get 200 for a round-robin match win, 400 for a semi-final win and 500 for a final win.

Djokovic, who is looking to win the ATP Finals for a sixth time, is determined to start well and then carry that momentum over into the remainder of the tournament.

“It is up for grabs for both of us. This tournament is going to decide [it]. He’s in a better position, but after winning Paris-Bercy I put myself in a pretty good position,” he said.

“Obviously it doesn’t depend only on me, it depends on how he does in the tournament. But I’ll try to focus on my matches and obviously right from the beginning, out of the blocks, you have to start with a real intensity and quality of tennis because it’s the elite eight players of the world. There’s no smoothing your way into the tournament, you have to be very sharp from the start.”

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The 16-time Grand Slam winner finished the 2018 season as the year-end No 1 and if he repeats that feat this season then he will match Pete Sampras’ record.

“In my personal opinion it’s one of the two biggest achievements you can have as a professional competitor and tennis player – winning a Grand Slam and being No 1 in the world at the end of the season,” he said.

“At this stage of my career obviously in terms of goals and achievements that’s right at the top, but in order for me to be in the position to battle for that year-end No 1 I understand that I have to be healthy and schedule well.

“Roger [Federer] was talking about family – I don’t know how he does it with four children. I struggle with two. It’s a hell of an effort, but we all love tennis.

“We dedicate ourselves and our lives to this sport but at the same time it has to be balanced with off-court stuff and children and family. We have to have the support of our close ones in order to have the chance to have a go for the year-end No 1.”

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