Charles Perrin explains why Novak Djokovic is primed to finish the season as the world No 1 once again...
"With the way Djokovic's season has panned out, he can write another glorious chapter in his career."
Novak Djokovic has been superlative this season and he clinched a fifth Rolex Paris Masters crown with a devastating display against Denis Shapovalov on Sunday - running out a 6-3, 6-4 winner.
The victory helped him lift his 77th ATP Tour title and move level with John McEnroe. Also, it was his 34th Masters 1000 triumph, putting him just one behind his great rival Rafael Nadal.
The Serbian will now turn his attentions to London and capping off his campaign in style at the 02 Arena.
Pete Sampras record in sight
Growing up, Djokovic idolised Pete Sampras, who possessed one of the best serves the game has ever witnessed. Djokovic has emulated and surpassed Sampras from a Grand Slam perspective and should he prevail in London, he could match the legendary American with the most season-ending finishes as world No 1 (six). Although the 32-year-old found himself pushed into second spot by Nadal after the Paris Masters, victory in London would almost certainly help him climb to the top of the pile.
When asked what it would mean to claim the No 1 spot again, Djokovic said: "I have done it in the past and I like playing there. But it's an extremely difficult task considering who my opponents are going to be. You're playing a Top 10 player every single match.
"So that's a big task on my end that I have to focus on. And as a consequence, if I manage to get the year-end No 1, that would be, of course, fantastic."
To put into context just how incredible Djokovic has been, he has claimed five titles this year which includes two Grand Slams and two Masters and he has won 53 of his 62 matches. He has notched up 5,577 aces in 2019, won 74% of his first serves and he has saved 65% of break points he has faced. It is therefore unsurprising that he is the short-priced favourite with the Betfair Exchange at 6/52.18 to win the World Tour Finals.
Rafael Nadal injury woes
As things stand, Nadal is set to compete in London and is second favourite at 5/16.00 to win it. However, his injury problems have brought things into sharper focus and cast an element of doubt over his participation. The Spaniard pulled out of his semi-final against Shapovalov with an abdominal problem and there have been suggestions he could be replaced by compatriot Roberto Bautista-Agut at the World Tour Finals.
Nadal of course is still searching for his first Tour Finals title and he holds an advantage over Djokovic in the rankings race. But Djokovic has been a cut above and his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters was clinical and he didn't let his opponent relax for a moment.
While there are a few players making their World Tour Finals debut, including Daniil Medvedev who has reached six finals on the trot on the ATP circuit this season, nothing fazes Djokovic. If anything, his rivals inspire him to extract more out of his game and reach new heights.
With the way Djokovic's season has panned out, he can write another glorious chapter in his career next week.
Back Novak Djokovic @ 6/52.16 to be crowned ATP World Tour Finals champion