Friday November 2, 2012
Off-form and off-court worries make Djokovic hesitant about London
PARIS: With an opening-round loss, poor fitness and a father reportedly ill in a Serbian hospital with respiratory problems, Novak Djokovic yesterday appeared to be slightly unsure of his immediate tennis future.
With five days to go before the start of the year-end World Tour Finals in London for which he has already qualified, the Serb was still absorbing a 0-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 second-round defeat against journeyman American Sam Querrey at the Paris Masters on Wednesday.
While refusing specifically to react to reports on his father’s situation, Djokovic did admit that he has not himself been the picture of health.
“I’ve not been feeling very good the last few days,” he said.
Reports from Serbia suggest that Djokovic made a quick visit home to see his father this week, something the world No. 2 refused to address.
He also seemed to leave at least some of his intentions concerning London open to speculation.
“Now that I’m done with the tournament, I will sit down with the team and see what’s the best thing to do before London,” said the ousted second seed.
“The way I feel, I definitely need a few days’ rest, and then try to get a few days’ practice before the tournament starts.”
The last two places in the eight-man London field are being decided this week.
But the main talking point has been the retreat from an ATP decision to shorten the season - a former player demand - by eliminating the rest week prior to the London spectacular which players rate almost as highly as the Grand Slams.
While he is surely expecting to play, Djokovic also added: “There is no guarantee that you can be 100 per cent, especially at this time of year.
“The players have played so many matches and (are) obviously struggling to be fresh.
“You’re trying to find that last drop of strength, mental and physical, in order to play your best.
“These are big tournaments, and there is definitely no compromising in trying to think of maybe skipping the (Paris) event or playing less or saving energy in order to play well in London.”
Roger Federer pulled out of defending his title here in Paris after losing the Basel final at the weekend, in order to be fresh for London even after winning Basel, Paris and London - three concluding events over four weeks - in 2011.
Djokovic, who is assured of finishing as the top of the ATP world rankings at the end of the season, has not lost a match at such an early stage of a competition since Miami in March 2010.
His second round departure is a fresh blow for the tournament which has already had to do without star draw absentees Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
However, Djokovic, who regardless of this defeat, takes over the world number one spot from Federer next Monday just before the start of the World Tour Finals in London.
Third seed Andy Murray took full advantage of the situation at the last event of the ATP regular season beating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round.
The Scot was joined by Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who defeated compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-3 and Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro, winner of his last two indoor events, who put out Alejandro Falla 6-2, 6-2.
Three men stayed in the race for the two remaining spots at next week’s season-ending event.
Serb Janko Tipsarevic overcame Igor Sijsling 6-4, 7-6 (7-0), Argentine Juan Monaco beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 And Spain’s Nicolas Almagro defeated countryman Albert Ramos 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3.
French 12th seed Richard Gasquet lost his chance to qualify for the year-end event as he went down to Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-1. — AFP