ATP

Djokovic 'humble' ahead of return at Paris Masters

By Sports Desk October 31, 2021

World number one Novak Djokovic said he will return to action at the Paris Masters blessed to be a more "humble" tennis player.

The Serbian makes his first appearance since his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev at the ATP 1000 tournament in the French capital.

That defeat in New York cost Djokovic the chance to become only the third man to win a singles calendar slam by winning all four majors in the same year.

Djokovic also missed the opportunity to move top of the all-time Grand Slam tournament winners list and remains joint-top alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 titles.

However, the 34-year-old – whose status for the 2021 Australian Open remains unknown – was phlegmatic when he reflected on his loss to Russian world number two Medvedev.

"In a most ideal scenario, I would have won all four of them," Djokovic told a media conference. "Knowing I was so close gives me great encouragement for the future, but it also makes me feel humble about my game, about my career.

"It gives me a kind of reality check where I have to go back to the practice court and really understand what needs to be done so that I could improve.

"This was not an ordinary loss considering the circumstances. I have learned over the years to deal with losses in such way that I treat them as great opportunities for growth.

"I feel that the US Open loss in the final has arrived arguably at the worst or at the best time for me, in a way.

"I'm disappointed that I lost the match, but I feel like I was blessed to experience love from the crowd and support from the stadium that I have never experienced before in my life in New York, and actually not in many places around the world.

"That kind of energy that I received from the crowd from the moment I stepped on the court until I stepped out is a win for life."

Djokovic, who has won four of the last eight Paris Masters tournaments, claimed the prospect of ending the year as the world number one ahead of Medvedev will motivate him.

Should he do so then Djokovic would leapfrog Pete Sampras for the most year-end number one finishes in history with seven.

He will face either Italian Fabio Fognini or Hungarian Marton Fucsovics having received a bye through the first round.

"The year-end number one is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I'm in a pretty good position," added Djokovic, who has won 85 ATP tour titles.

"That's obviously the goal for the end of the season other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team. So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end number one.

"I’m pleased to be back. I have been training really well the past couple of weeks. And I have had plenty of success in Paris over the years, so that gives me enough reason to believe that I can do well.

"The lack of match play could be dangerous, so I have to really make sure that I start off my first match very well with a good intensity and build my form."

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