Novak Djokovic admitted that he doesn’t feel as young as some of his Nitto ATP Finals opponents, but the Serbian is motivated and in good shape ahead of his bid for a record-equalling sixth title. The seventh seed said it would be the “perfect ending” to a difficult 2022 season if he come out on top in Turin. Djokovic is up against Stefanos Tsitsipas first, their third meeting since October.
Novak Djokovic might have a few years on most of his rivals at the Nitto ATP Finals, but the five-time champion says he’s feeling fresh as he aims to give a difficult 2022 season the “perfect ending”.
The former world No. 1 has won four titles this year, including his 21st Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon.
However, no ranking points were on offer in London, and Djokovic was unable to compete at the Australian and US Opens due to his vaccination status.
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A complicated season has seen the 35-year-old slip to No. 8 in the world rankings, but he remains among the favourites to claim the season-ending crown in Turin.
“[It would be] a perfect ending,” Djokovic told ATP Media.” The cherry on the cake, for sure, but it’s a long way. It’s a long week.
“You’ve got to play the best players in the world. You have to play more or less everyone in this tournament at least once, so I look forward to it.
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“I’ve had experience in this tournament, in this format, many times and hopefully that can serve me in a good way.”
Djokovic is the second-oldest player of the eight competing in Turin, after 36-year-old top seed Rafael Nadal.
The Serbian has won the ATP Finals five times during his decorated career, and success this year would see him equal Roger Federer’s record of six titles.
“I don’t feel like I’m as young as the other guys [and] it’s been a while since my first participation, but I’ve been in good shape, I think,” he said. “Particularly in the past four or five months. I’ve won Wimbledon and most of the tournaments that I’ve had indoors prior to the world Tour finals.
“I’m motivated and I’m looking forward to a challenge. I think the intensity is going to be really high, right from the blocks I have to be focused like I’m playing finals. Each match is going to be this way.”
He added: “There is a hype around this tournament. It’s the last week of the year on the Tour, it’s kind of a last sprint, if you will, for all of us.
“From the very first match you are going to have extra high intensity, so each one of us is trying to get ready as best as possible but also to enjoy these few days before the tournament starts.”
Djokovic was pitted against second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in Thursday’s group stage draw.
He faces the Greek in an opening match that will could give both players a sense of déjà vu, after they met twice in October.
Djokovic won both meetings, the final in Astana and a semi-final in Paris, but he doesn’t expect an easy ride against a player who still has a chance of finishing as year-end world No. 1.
“I played him in the past two tournaments I played, in the final in Astana and the semi-finals in Paris,” said Djokovic. “Both matches were quite close, particularly the one in Paris. I know that I am expecting a tough match without a doubt.”
The ATP Finals take place from November. 13-20