Novak Djokovic refuses to name himself ATP Finals ‘favorite’

Novak Djokovic claimed there were “no favourites” this week in Turin after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 7-6(4) in a dominating display to start his ATP Finals campaign with a round-robin victory. The world number 8 is looking to win his sixth overall title at the season finale tournament and his first in seven years, but he admitted it wouldn’t be easy as he refused to name himself or anyone else as favorite for the trophy.

Djokovic was decisive in his first match of the week in Turin as he overcame second seed Tsitsipas in straight sets after just one hour and 37 minutes. It came nine days after the Serb was dragged into a three-set battle with the 24-year-old in the Paris Masters semifinal and it was his ninth overall victory against Tsitsipas in 12 meetings.

While the 35-year-old was impressed by his own performance, he still insisted there were no favorites in the tournament, in which the eight players who scored the most points throughout the season battled it out in the group stage. to reach the semifinals and finals. “Whoever I’m up against here, there are no clear favorites,” he said after starting his campaign with a win.

“Everyone is hitting the ball very well, the best players of this season are here, so I have to be in my best form.” The world number 8 already knows his next two opponents, as he will face Andrey Rublev on Wednesday before completing the group stage with a match against Daniil Medvedev on Friday.

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Rublev earned just the second win of his career over the World No. 5 on Monday, defeating the 2020 ATP Finals champion 6-7(7) 6-3 7-6(7), and Djokovic knew it would be tough to meet. to both. players later in the week. “Rublev, amazing battle,” he said of the match.

“He had a lot of chances to even finish the match in straight sets, I think he was 5-2 up and he had a lot of set points in the tie break. Medvedev showed once again why he is one of the toughest players mentally, fighting all the way. “. until the last shot. Thanks to Rublev, he played very well in the third set tiebreak when he needed it, he looked for the shots from him, so I’m sure it’s a big win for him.”

Meanwhile, Djokovic himself was relieved to earn an easy win over Tsitsipas after needing more than two hours to defeat the 24-year-old in the semi-final at the recent Paris Masters. “Obviously the first game was very important, to break his serve,” the 35-year-old said of his victory in the ATP Finals.

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