Djokovic Arrives In Shanghai With Rafa's Spot In Mind
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.
“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.”