Novak Not Ready To Hand Over Top Spot

Serbian ready to defend top spot in Paris

It’s been one of the great reigns in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings. A total of 223 weeks, including the past 122 consecutive weeks. But now Novak Djokovic finds his hold on No. 1 on the line this week in Paris. Djokovic will need to hold off a surging Andy Murray at the BNP Paribas Masters.

The Brit is within touching distance of the Serbian, and can take over top spot by winning Paris if Djokovic does not reach the final, but the Serbian will come into the event physically rested and mentally refreshed after taking two weeks off following his semi-final loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in Shanghai.

“I feel good right now,” Djokovic said. “The last couple of months were not easy. Mentally I’ve had to redefine my goals and things that are happening on and off the court and just make sure that I'm in a good place and that I can perform as well as I expect from myself. Everything is clearer and I’m going in the right direction. I'm just focused right now on Paris.

“[Murray] definitely deserves to be in the position to finish up the year as No. 1. Whether or not that's going to happen, it doesn't depend only on him. It depends on me, as well.”

Djokovic has triumphed in Paris the past three years and is 26-6 overall at the final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the season. He also completed a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros earlier this year.

“It gives me a lot of great emotions and butterflies in the stomach when I think of the last time I was in Paris and what has happened. I'm hoping that I can finish the season as well as I did the last couple of years. I had great records in the indoor season and always enjoyed playing in Paris,” Djokovic said. “So we are coming to the finish line, and I really do feel comfortable playing in the indoor events and on this surface.”

After receiving a first-round bye as top seed, Djokovic will open against Nicolas Almagro or Gilles Muller.

“It's exciting to get on the court and battle for every point, because there is always something on the line,” Djokovic said. “Almagro and Muller are quality players. Muller almost beat Nishikori in Basel. Almagro has a big forehand.

“But at the end of the day, it's the quality that I put on the court that counts for me. I know I have won against those players in the past and I know what to do, and I’ll just try to be on the level that I want to be on.”

bnp

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