Djokovic braces for onslaught from Federer fans

Tanya Simon
November 11, 2019

On the verge of an nearly flawless performance against Matteo Berrettini at the ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic still found a reason to berate himself.

The Serbian, who can claim a record-equalling sixth year-end number one finish, said he was hungry to finish the year on top.

[I'm] excited to be back here in London in one of the great events of the year. "I don't know. But I will not expect that".

Speaking after his victory at the O2 Arena on Sunday, Djokovic said he understood why Federer had such a huge following and explained his strategy to feed off the energy of the crowd.

Nadal has never won the ATP Finals but is hoping for a positive result which would help him seal the year-end No.1 position.

Berrettini, the last player to qualifier for the finals, walked towards the wrong exit after Djokovic's win was sealed on a first match point, and given the beating he had just taken, it was perhaps no surprise the Italian seemed slightly shocked.

Berrettini's forehand was responsible for 18 of those errors, including two shots into the net to hand Djokovic the two breaks of the first set.

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After giving up that lone break to make it 4-1 in the second, Djokovic broke right back and then clinched the victory with an easy forehand putaway at the net. That being said, I see Novak Djokovic winning this match.

Federer and Djokovic, who has won the end-of-season event five times, will meet later in the week in a repeat of this year's Wimbledon final, with two players advancing from the four-man group. "I think it's better when I have a little bit more time and the ball takes more spin".

Roger Federer, who holds the record of six ATP Finals titles, was set to play Dominic Thiem later in the evening match.

Spaniard Nadal, who has concerns over an abdominal injury sustained at the Paris Masters, plays his first group match on Monday against defending champion Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic must reach the final at the O2 Arena to stand any chance of dislodging Nadal but there are major questions over the Spaniard´s fitness.

The 32-year-old Djokovic began the match 640 points behind Rafael Nadal in the race to end the year on top of the rankings, but victory chipped that advantage down to 440.

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