Serbian has played fewer tournaments than usual, but they have been “physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, especially the Grand Slams,” he acknowledged.
Novak Djokovic will be in Turin, from November 14 to 21, to close a dream season in which he could equal the record of Roger Federer of victories (6) in the Masters, the tournament that brings together the eight best tennis players of the year each season.
After twelve editions played in London, The Masters 2021 moves to the capital of Piedmont (northern Italy), but the Italian public will not be able to see live the other two great dominators of world tennis in the last two decades, in addition to Djokovic: the Swiss Roger Federer and the Spanish Rafael Nadal, who prematurely ended their seasons due to injuries.
The last time it coincided that neither of them was present at the last big date of the year was in 2016.
In a particularly successful season, with five titles (of them tres Grand Slams) in eleven tournaments played, Djokovic has broken the records of weeks in the world number 1 (347 on Monday), that of seasons finished as the world’s first racket (7), he has equaled that of Grand Slam titles (20, such as Federer and Nadal) after conquer Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
However, a much less prolific second half of the season prevented him from winning the Golden Slam after falling in the semifinals of the Tokyo Games Nor could he win the ‘big four’ in the same year by failing to win the title at the US Open.
However, the Masters 1000 in Paris conquered last Sunday allows the Serbian to increase his record of titles in the second category of ATP tournaments to 37 and in the process turn it back into the big favorite in Turin, despite the fact that he has only won the Masters once since 2015.
“In the first part of my career, it was one of the tournaments that I did the best, I won it three times in a row (actually there were four, from 2012 to 2015, after a first in 2008)”, recalled the 34-year-old from Belgrade this Friday. “Now, maybe I no longer have the necessary energy reserve at the end of the season”, He admitted.
This would explain, according to him, why the last editions of the Masters have won younger tennis players.
“For Dimitrov, Tsitsipas, Zverev … who have won the Masters in recent years, it was their first big title. Maybe it was the first, the second or the third time they qualified, they were fresh, motivated, they didn’t have much to lose unlike us, who have been (in the elite) longer) ”, estimated the Serbian.
This year, however, Djokovic has played fewer tournaments than usual, but they have been “physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, especially the Grand Slams (…) for the possibility of making history”… something you can continue to do in Turin.
Despite dominating the season, the replacement of the new generation is closer and closer: Daniil Medvedev (25 years old), winner of the 2020 Masters, conquered his first ‘big’ in the last US Open; Alexander Zverev (24 years old) won two Masters 1000 (Madrid and Cincinnati), as well as Olympic gold; Stefanos Tsitsipas (23 years old) took his first Masters 1000 (Monte Carlo) and had Djokovic two sets to zero in the final of Roland Garros, before the Serb came back.
“I have played well this year, I have won five tournaments and I am the only one who has won more than one Masters 1000. Therefore, I have not come here just to participate ”, warned Zverev.
Contrary to the London public, who did not have a local tennis player to support from the title of Andy Murray In 2016, Italians will have their hopes pinned on Matteo Berrettini, the finalist at Wimbledon.
“I feel the pressure, but it is a good pressure. I know that the public will be with me ”, commented the Italian.
The tournament poster is completed with the Russian Andrey Rublev, 24 years and second participation after being a finalist this year in Monte Carlo and Cincinnati, and with the debutants Hubert Hurkacz (24), the Pole who won in Miami and brought Federer down from the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, inflicting him 6-0 in the third set, as well as the Norwegian Casper Ruud (22), winner of five tournaments this season.
And Djokovic will be alone before the new generation. (D)
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