By Thomas Dodd
- Novak Djokovic looking for fifth straight World Tour Finals victory on Sunday
- Title would mean sixth season-ending success for World Number 2 after triumph in Shanghai in 2008
- Win would also see Serbian reclaim world number one ranking from final opponent Andy Murray
LONDON, ENGLAND – Novak Djokovic looks to re-assert his dominance at this event, and to reclaim the No. 1 ranking after letting it slip.
Djokovic has only lost once at the O2 since 2011
Since losing to David Ferrer in his second round robin group match in 2011, Djokovic’s record at the O2 ahead of tomorrow’s showdown reads as follows: Played 24, Won 23. Only a group match defeat to Roger Federer last year prevents the Serb from a perfect record over the last five years. Man and arena are in perfect harmony whenever the 12-time Grand Slam champion takes to the court, and the apparent change of pace for 2016 certainly doesn’t seem to have slowed Djokovic down.
The Head-to-Head record
Any Andy Murray fans who like being swayed by statistics might want to look away now. Sunday will be the 35th meeting between the pair, and the Brit has only won about a third of those contests with the score currently standing at a lop-sided 24-10 in favour of the World Number 2. Furthermore, despite Murray’s scintillating run of form since June none of the Brit’s victories have come with Djokovic on the other side of the net. In fact, Djokovic has won five of the last six meetings and four the five clashes in 2016. Murray may be in the form of his life, but psychologically this is still a big obstacle to overcome.
The match against Kei Nishikori was his best in months
Injury, personal problems or simply just fatigue. Whatever the cause of Djokovic’s so-called ‘slump’ since June, he’ll hope to be judged under the old adage of ‘you’re only as good as your last match.’ Take that into account and the real Djokovic has finally stood up. Saturday night’s performance against Kei Nishikori saw the 2016 Australian and French Open champion return to somewhere near his best. He’s got stronger with every match this week and should he go up another gear on Sunday evening Murray could be in for quite a shock as the pair duel it out for the year-end number one ranking.
He has a point to prove
Never one to shy away from attempting to gee up a crowd rooting firmly against him, Sunday simply provides Djokovic with another opportunity to play the villain – this time in his main rival’s back yard. The drop off in results between June and the start of November left many wondering if he had genuinely reached his peak. But a string of superb displays in London has shown everyone how much the King wants his crown back. He’ll relish the chance to silence that crowd.
Back at the US Open it was Djokovic on the end of a series of opponent withdrawals meaning he had barely spent any time on court ahead of his final against Stan Wawrinka. Staggeringly enough it was the Serb who wilted in a draining contest in New York, but despite all that Djokovic remains one of the fittest and most physically strong players on the Tour. The only man who perhaps comes close is Murray himself, but while Djokovic has cruised through his week since dropping the opening set to Dominic Thiem on Sunday, Murray has had to call on every last ounce of strength twice to defeat Nishikori and Milos Raonic in two tight three set tussles. Should Sunday’s showpiece become a question of endurance, the answer should be Novak.
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