Djokovic Arrives In Shanghai With Rafa’s Spot In Mind
In the beginning of the 2018 season, few, perhaps even Novak Djokovic himself, would have thought the Serbian would be vying to take over the top spot in the ATP Race To London in October.
Djokovic lost to Taro Daniel of Japan and Frenchman Benoit Paire in back-to-back hard-court tournaments in March (Indian Wells, Miami). The Serbian began 2018 with a 6-6 record.
View FedEx ATP Head2Head for the following match-ups at the Rolex Shanghai Masters and vote for the players you think will win!
Djokovic v Chardy | Shapovalov v Basilashvili | Cilic v Jarry
Yet if Djokovic wins his fourth Rolex Shanghai Masters title this week, he will be within 35 points of claiming the top spot in the Race from Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who’s still nursing a knee injury that forced him to withdraw from his US Open semi-final.
“I am really glad that I put myself in a position to compete for No. 1 of the world. And maybe four, five months ago, that was looking a little bit far from reach, but with the recent results, I put myself in a pretty decent position to fight for No. 1, year-end No. 1, which of course is always one of the ultimate goals that you have as a professional tennis player,” Djokovic said.
The Serbian has won 13 consecutive matches, dating back to his Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati, where he achieved his Career Golden Masters, and at the US Open, where he won his 14th Grand Slam, tying Pete Sampras for third place on the all-time list.
He currently has 6,445 points in the Race, and with another 1,000 from winning Shanghai, Djokovic could have 7,445, just 35 from Nadal’s 7,4580. Djokovic faces Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday. The Serbian leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 11-0.
See Who’s Chasing Rafa, Novak In The ATP Race To London
“He’s a great guy. I get along very well with him,” Djokovic said. “I think what I did well in the past in our matchups, I managed to neutralise his first serve, and I think also take advantage of his second serve and try to be consistent on my service games, move him around the court, because he’s not the best mover forward, backwards, so I try to expose his weaknesses, in a way, look for the backhand, but obviously his forehand is lethal if he gets the good rhythm on it.
“So I will try to approach things and execute hopefully tactically well.”