Novak Djokovic has dispelled the impression that fatigue could bog down his chances of performing to his potential in the Shanghai Masters, instead claiming that he was up for the challenge.
The world No.1 trounced his long-time rival Rafael Nadal in the final of the China Open this Sunday in Beijing, and had to immediately take a flight down south to Shanghai to compete in the eighth Masters 1000 event of the season.
Displaying a coruscating form at the China Open, where he did not even drop a single set and only conceded 18 games in the course of his triumph, the ten-time major champion is expected to encounter a much sterner competition in Shanghai.
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The field is laden with star-studded players including Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, all of whom did not participate in the China Open.
Attuning to different conditions only within a space of days and playing back-to-back tournaments in two weeks is surely an arduous task, but the challenge does not seem to faze the Serbian ace.
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Djokovic, who swept the China Open-Shanghai Masters double in 2013, was buoyant in his pre-tournament interview about his preparation, and appeared all geared up to repeat his 2013 feat.
He said: “Well, I’m hoping definitely. I know the conditions are slightly different. I’m going to get a couple days of rest and practice and get ready.
“I mean, it’s not the first time I’m playing back-to-back weeks. Next week’s tournament is going to be even stronger because obviously all the best players in the world are there.
“This positive week definitely encourages me and gives me a lot of confidence for Shanghai."
Another man who will be fancying his chances will be Britain’s Andy Murray. The Scotsman has undergone somewhat of fluctuating fortunes lately, but will draw inspiration from his Davis Cup semi-final heroics and a win over Djokovic in Rogers Cup Masters about a month ago.
He said: “I feel fresh. The positives of playing a lot of tennis, playing a lot of tournaments is your body gets used to playing matches. You feel confident because you played a lot.”
Both Djokovic and Murray will get their campaigns underway on Wednesday. The top seed will take on Martin Klizan while Murray will battle it out with Steve Johnson.