Djokovic’s Shanghai win poses threat to Federer
Novak Djokovic’s victory at the Shanghai Masters leaves him just 10 points behind No 2 Roger Federer in the rankings.17 November 2008
SHANGHAI - Novak Djokovic has become a massive danger to the 2009 fightback dreams of Roger Federer after the resurgent Serb won the Masters Cup title at the weekend.
Through his 6-1, 7-5 defeat of Nikolay Davydenko at the Qi Zhong stadium, world No 3 Djokovic has now climbed to within a hair-thin 10 points of the Swiss star, who was knocked out in the group stage at a year-end event for the first time in his career as he lost to Andy Murray.
"I think the interesting thing for the upcoming year is going to be the fact that there are so many players," said Djokovic. "Now it's not only about the two players any more; it's about five, six, seven players who are playing really well and can win against, you know, each other.
"Certainly I believe that I have quality to reach the top spot in the upcoming year or next couple of years, 10 years. That is my lifetime goal that I've been always trying to achieve."
Djokovic will start the new campaign with 5,295 ranking points on the rolling accumulator system while Federer will hold 5,305.
One slip by Federer in his opening event next January in Doha coupled with a better performance by Djokovic in Brisbane that same week and the 21-year-old Serb could find himself chasing Rafael Nadal on second in the rankings.
But the pressure is not all on Federer who is racing to level with Pete Sampras on the all-time best of 14 Grand Slam singles titles. Djokovic has a huge title defence starting in mid-January after winning the 2008 Australian Open.
"I obviously have a little bit of mixed feelings at the end of the season," said Federer. "But I think it gives me the opportunity to start over all new again next year."
Federer added that he's also not ready to rewrite his longtime rivalry with Nadal:
"At the moment it's Rafa and myself. I really still feel it's that way because (we've played) three French Open finals in a row, plus a semi, plus two Wimbledon finals in a row ... or three.
"We've played on so many occasions, big events. We still have to play a few more Grand Slam finals. If that's the case, I'm very happy from my side."
Djokovic will not be concerned only by his on-court performance in coming months after his family purchased an ATP event in the Netherlands and will switch it to tennis-mad Serbia in May during the clay season.
[dpa / Expatica]