Sports

Djokovic says no pressure as he bids for sixth ATP Finals crown

LONDON, NOV 14 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 11/14/2020 1:02:43 PM IST

Novak Djokovic said sealing the year-end men’s world number one tennis ranking had eased some of the pressure on him as he heads into the ATP Finals and will look to end his season on a high.

The 33-year-old is bidding for a sixth crown in the season-ending tournament to go level with Roger Federer and will take on Argentine Diego Schwartzman in his opener on Monday.

“Coming into the tournament knowing I already clinched the year-end number one releases some of the pressure, but at the same time it doesn’t change what I hope to achieve in this tournament and why I’m here,” Djokovic told reporters. “I really want to win every single match that I get to play and try to get my hands on the trophy... I want this trophy as much as anyone here. “I’m really hoping I can end the season in the best possible way and the success I had previously here in the past 10 years helps me feel more comfortable and confident about myself.”

Second-ranked Nadal, who meets Russian Andrey Rublev on Sunday, is hoping to clinch his first ATP Finals title on the hard courts of London’s O2 Arena. “I don’t know how close I am to the perfect preparation. I tried to fight hard in every match in Bercy,” Nadal said on Friday of his semi-final run at last week’s Paris Masters.

“That put me in a position that I already played four matches on this surface and hopefully that can help me here, but there remains two days for me to practise. “I hope to be ready to accept the challenge to play against such difficult opponents like Rublev.”

Nadal desperate to prove himself indoors at ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal says he is determined to improve his poor record on indoor courts as he bids to win the ATP Finals for the first time in his illustrious career.

Just one of the Spaniard’s 86 singles titles has come on an indoor hard court, back in Madrid in 2005.

Nadal has earned a berth at the end-of-season ATP Finals every year since that year but has been forced to withdraw on six occasions.

Speaking Friday ahead of this year’s tournament at London’s O2 Arena, he said there were a number of factors for his failure to shine indoors, including fatigue at end-of-season events and a preference for other surfaces.

“We can find excuses or reasons but at the end of the day the numbers are the numbers,” Nadal said.

“I think I have played less indoors than in other places without a doubt.”

The second seed, who drew level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams by winning last month’s French Open final, said his game was not ideally suited to fast courts.

“The indoor surfaces have been not ideal surfaces for my tennis game since the beginning of my career,” said the 34-year-old.

“I think I am able to play a little bit better the last couple of years indoors than what I did at the beginning of my tennis career without a doubt but that’s the numbers and I can’t say something different. I hope to change that this week.”

Last week Nadal reached the semi-finals at the Paris Masters, where he was beaten by Alexander Zverev.

He said his four matches indoors in Paris had sharpened up his game but he did not know how close he was to “perfect preparation” for the London tournament, which starts on Sunday.


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