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Novak Djokovic wants his world no.1 ranking back and sounds as if he’s in the mood to grab it this week at the Rolex Paris Masters


Novak Djokovic has an ominous message for Rafa Nadal as he chases down the great Spaniard and bids to wrest the world No.1 ranking from him at the Rolex Paris Masters this week. “I do feel like I’m playing at my best - but I always feel I can improve,” says the Serbian legend, making it sound like a chilling warning.

Of course, when Djokovic is playing at his best, then we are talking about an exalted level that only a rare few can ever have hoped to have maintained in this game. Nadal and Roger Federer, of course, are in that bracket but there are those who will argue that when Djokovic is at his finest, he takes tennis to a level of athleticism and elastic brilliance that no-one else can quite match.

Certainly, the Serb, once again resembling the machine-like 2011 and 2015 versions of ‘Nole’ that came armed with an aura of near-invincibility, feels ready to reassert himself as the end-of-year world No.1.

He’s right on Nadal’s heels, and if Djokovic lasts a round longer than the Spaniard here this week or beats him in the final, he will go back to the top of the rankings again for the first time in two years. It’s an ambition he has no intention of concealing.


With Rafa's (knee) injury and him not playing China and so forth, it put me in a position to be very close to him in rankings and to fight for a year-end No.1,” Djokovic said here.

Right now I'm aware of it and I'm going to give my very best to try to achieve it.


The extraordinary speed with which the 31-year-old has rocketed from a misfiring world No.22 in June to a near-untouchable No.2 who’s won Wimbledon, Cincinnati, the US Open and Shanghai in the space of four months has astounded many - but not Djokovic himself.

I mean, I don't want to sound pretentious or arrogant if I always say that I always knew and believed that I could get on this level,” he said. it was just the timescale of his comeback that he got wrong.

When I had the surgery to my elbow in February, obviously after that I actually thought I'm going to get back on the desired level quite quickly, but I didn’t and I experienced quite a low point in the quality of my tennis in Indian Wells and Miami, and then I realised that actually I'm far from my best.

“I was ahead of myself, obviously. But then I understood that it's going to be process and it's going to take time. When I reunited with my fitness coach (Gebhard Gritsch) and tennis coach (Marian Vajda) again, we set up a plan and the peak was supposed to arrive around US Open time, and it arrived before. I also had to accept the fact that I'm in the process and that takes time to build. And it takes time to really find the proper rhythm in the game. I had to compensate my serve, and my whole game just needed some reinventing.


And what a reinvention! “To be honest, in both US Open and Shanghai, I've played as good as ever,” smiled Djokovic.

So I really enjoy tennis at the moment and enjoy competing, because obviously when you're winning that many matches you have a lot of confidence,” added the man who’s on an 18-match and 26-set winning streak.

He’s in a good place as he prepares to face the winner of the first round clash between Marco Cecchinato and Joao Sousa in his opening match here. 

When you have a lot of confidence, you approach the practice sessions and the tournaments and the matches in a just completely different way,” he said.

It’s quite the opposite extreme to how I felt and how I played five months ago. So I do think that I'm playing at my best at the moment, and I always feel like I can improve, but I feel like this is a very high level.

And Nole’s high-level, we know, is about as good as it gets.





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