Although Novak Djokovic is on cloud nine following the birth of his son Stefan, he is well aware that the ATP World Tour season is not over, and that his longtime rival is breathing down his neck in search for the year-end No. 1 ranking.
Following his title wins in Shanghai and Basel, Federer is now less than 500 points behind Djokovic. He has the opportunity to collect another combined 2,500 between next week’s BNP Paribas Masters -worth 1000 points – and the year-end championships, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which is worth 1500 ranking points to an undefeated champion.
“He’s coming close in the rankings, and I’m sure that he’s going to be very motivated to fight for No. 1. It’s pretty much open,” Djokovic said in a pre-tournament press conference in Paris. “I do defend a lot of points here and in London, but over the years I have been playing well in Paris and in London. I prepared myself well. In the circumstances, I tried to get as many hours on the court as possible. I will try to be with all my focus and attention in this tournament and take it one match at a time.”
Federer is looking to tie Pete Sampras record for most year-end No. 1 finishes, while Djokovic is looking for his third top spot finish in four years.
“Of course, the goal for both of us is to finish the year as No. 1 in the world. So we both are playing well, and that’s something that is definitely going to play a big role in the upcoming weeks.”
Heading into the year-end championships, Djokovic is aware that Federer is in a far different position to that he was in last season. The Swiss star has won his last 12 consecutive matches, including back-to-back title wins in Shanghai and Basel. He snapped the Serb’s own 28-match winning streak in China en route to his first ever Masters 1000 crown in Asia.
“Last year I think was his worst year in the past ten years of his career,” Djokovic said of the 33-year-old Federer. “He didn’t play as well and he had some unexpected losses. But this year he came out strong again, competing for Grand Slam titles. Now he is competing for No. 1 in the world, and I never thought that he wouldn’t be in competition for No. 1.”