Tennis

Novak Djokovic should go unchallenged for season's remainder

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Novak Djokovic may have been disappointed to come away from Shanghai empty-handed, but the Serbian star should put everything into perspective and realise that he is on course for a stunning end to the season.

In a little over a month, the tennis world will finally get the opportunity to down tools for a while and enjoy their little respite over the winter. The top players needn't feel the cold either, they'll have plenty of funds left to jet-off to more exotic places than Europe. 

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Winter warmer

Djokovic has more to look forward to than most on a personal level. He and his wife Jelena Ristic announced that they were expecting their first child back in April. By my maths and knowledge of the human pregnancy cycle (both probably shoddy), the couple will be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet anytime before Christmas, the due date remains unknown. 

Fans of the world no.1 will hope that baby Djokovic will stay comfortable in the womb until after their hero has ended his tennis schedule for the year. If that is the case, then the 27-year-old should have more than one reason to be happy. If current form continues, Djokovic will be unstoppable.

I can hear some of saying; "but what about Roger Federer, what about Rafael Nadal?"

Federer challenge?

True, Federer rolled back the years and played some of his most beautiful tennis at Shanghai, but the differing circumstances should make it tougher for the 33-year-old. 

The 17-time Grand Slam champion embarked upon the Asian swing later than Djokovic and others, he had already qualified for the ATP Tour Finals, who can blame him? There's a strong possibility that the break worked wonders and revitalised him, but getting some rest might not be so easy until the season ends. 

Federer is due to play an indoor competition in his hometown of Basle, and assuming the Swiss legend can challenge for a sixth title, he will then have to move straight onto the Paris Masters which finish just a week before the Finals. 

Stamina tests

His form of the last few years in the Grand Slams, which of course have a heavier workload over a short time frame, has been good, generally, until the latter stages when the fatigue must set in just in time to play the likes of Djokovic and Nadal. 

This year's record: two semi-final losses and one final defeat, it's not just a coincidence. The Finals will be tough for Federer; constantly playing great players without a great break beforehand.

Djokovic has to be the favourite, some of his tennis is in another league at the moment and his amazing ability to persevere in tough situations will be perfect in London's O2 Arena.

Free run

You cannot usually discount Nadal, but the Spaniard's injury troubles over the last few months mean that Djokovic's great rival will struggle to sustain the levels of brilliance we all know that he is capable of, if indeed he overcomes appendicitis in time anyway. 

As for the others looking to qualify in one of the eight spots, the 'Race for London' - as the ATP like to market it as - means constant, unrelenting tennis. Take Andy Murray for example, when the Paris Masters finish he will have played six tournaments in as many weeks. Hardly ideal preparation. 

Top-level sport can be unpredictable, but Djokovic, it seems, would have to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in order to for him to be a grumpy dad when his first child is born. 

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Topics:
ATP World Tour Finals
Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer
Tennis
Rafael Nadal

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