Following his defeat to Karen Khachanov in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters on Sunday, world No.1, Novak Djokovic has lauded the Russian’s tenacity, and has set his sights on the year-ending Nitto ATP Tour Finals in London.
Djokovic was the clear favourite heading into the final. The Serb was on a 22-match winning streak and was playing at his imperious best. A record-extending fifth Paris Masters title as well as a record-equalling 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title were in the offing, but Khachanov defied the odds and stunned the tennis world, pulling off a 7-5, 6-4 upset with some sensational display of relentless hitting to claim the biggest title of his career in an hour and 39 minutes.
“[Karen] absolutely deserved to win the match today,” said Djokovic, per atpworldtour.com “All the credit to him. He deserves it. He’s a young player, up and coming. But already an established player, a top player. He showed great quality today and he showed why we’re going to see a lot of him in the future.
“He was playing big from the back of the court. Flat backhands and forehands. He can really hurt you. That’s a big weapon. His serve is really, really strong and precise. His overall game was really, really great all week.”
Djokovic, obviously, wasn’t overwhelmed by the result. The Serb appeared satisfied with his resurgence these past five months and an equally impressive week in the French capital. He has now set his sights on having a memorable campaign at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, which will begin on Sunday, 11 November
“I’m satisfied, of course, [with this week],” said Djokovic. “I’m going to be No. 1 tomorrow [Monday] officially. What more can I ask for? I won 20-plus matches in a row and had the most amazing last five months of the year. I’m going into the season finale [in London] with a lot of confidence and feeling good about my game.”
“Now it’s recovery time for half of the week and [I will spend the other] half of the week training,” said Djokovic.
Djokovic completes an elite eight-man field at the ATP Finals in London and will go head-to-head with Rafael Nadal in the race to finish the year as the world No.1 in a bid to join Roger Federer with five year-end No.1 finishes.