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Nitto ATP Finals 2019: Novak Djokovic's chances of winning the title

Sohinee Basu
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
09 Nov 2019, 01:01 IST

Nitto ATP World Tour Finals - Previews
Nitto ATP World Tour Finals - Previews

For the effervescent player that Novak Djokovic is, it has been yet another sensational year of tennis for the Serb who is currently ranked at Number 2 in the world. The hot topic for the last few weeks in tennis has been regarding who will be the year-ending World Number 1 with both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal contesting a neck-to-neck fight.

Although the Serb displayed rock-solid form and sheer class en route to bagging his fifth Paris Masters title and overall, his 34th Masters' title, it was still Nadal who edged past Djokovic to the top spot. With the tension steadily escalating as the ATP Tour Finals are knocking on the door, Djokovic must eye the title a record-equalling sixth time and in the process, reclaim the Number 1 spot from Nadal.

The draws at the ATP Tour Finals this time is particularly exciting because it portrays a balanced picture of both the older generation and next gen players. On the one hand, we have Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer planning to hold fort while on the other the likes of Sacha Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem pose strong threats to their reign. Among the Big Three, it is Novak Djokovic who has the slight upper-hand going into the tournament precisely because he is fresh off a fifth Bercy title and that makes him a formidable opponent and an automatic tournament-favorite.

In form

For Djokovic, who has been enjoying a brilliant 2019 having collected 2 Grand Slams in the year, things are looking vibrant. The year began on a bright note for the Serb as he bypassed Federer and levelled up by winning a 7th Australian Open title while the 5th Wimbledon Championships win was a result of the Serb's relentless grit and resilience. While Djokovic was in peak form during the Australian Open, it was not the same case during the Wimbledon finals. Up against Federer, the duo made it to the history books by playing the longest final on the grass court Slam's history where Djokovic had the last laugh after emerging as the better player at every pressure point int he match which gifted him the Championship.

Following the win in Wimbledon, the 32-year-old Serb went ahead to defend his title at the Cincinnati Open but sadly, he finished at the semi-finals after a loss to eventual winner Daniil Medvedev. In the US Open again, Djokovic failed to defend his title as he made an unprecedented fourth-round exit against Stan Wawrinka.

With injury troubles greatly bothering the Serb in the aftermath of the US Open, Djokovic took time to recover. However, the 16-time Grand Slam Champion possesses the incredible quality to bounce back and he did just that at the Japan Open. Djokovic handed John Millman a defeat to bag a title at the Japan Open and announce his dominance again.

Ever since that, Djokovic has been playing consistently well over the past few weeks undoubtedly and is a definite strong contender for the ATP Finals title. Aside from a quarter-final loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Shanghai Masters, Djokovic hasn't had any major hiccups in the month of October. In fact, the Paris Masters outing was a roaring success for the Serb as he converted it to his own benefit by getting a fifth Bercy title against Denis Shapovalov.

With nerves of steel that he often brandishes, Novak Djokovic has been a long-standing pillar and perhaps the most consistent one of them all. Possessing an almost mechanical automation when it comes to execution on-court, the Serb manages to play a surreal quality of tennis even at 32. His supreme speed ensures that he reaches the ball on time and once Djokovic's well-oiled routine sets into motion, it becomes a difficult job for any opponent to tackle his brilliance.

Difficult assignment

Drawn in the Bjorn Borg group alongside Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini, Djokovic will have a tough job sizing his opponents. While there is the much-awaited 49th meeting against Federer beckoning in the round-robin stage, Djokovic will open his campaign against Matteo Berrettini on Sunday.

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With the fans most excited for a rematch of the classic Wimbledon final, a Djokovic-Federer clash is definitely a headlining event of the star-studded week ahead. The Serb has been victorious against the Swiss on four consecutive occasions now and might just make it to a fifth one if Federer slacks off. To be fair, Djokovic is the best bet to win the ATP Tour Finals right now given his form and it is tricky to place our trust in an injury-ridden Nadal or a surprising Federer or even better, any player from the next gen, especially Medvedev. Djokovic is the most reliable choice heading into the tournament and there are great chances of the Serb lifting a record sixth title in London and ending the year as Number 1.



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