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Djokovic: Ending year No.1 is a huge relief

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Originally published on: 06/11/12 00:00

The Serb, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his opening round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Monday evening, returned to the top of the rankings for the first time in 16 weeks on Monday after Roger Federer chose not to defend his title in Paris. The five-time Grand Slam champion is now guaranteed to end the year at the top of the tree whatever happens in London.

“It's a huge satisfaction,” said the Serb, who is still aiming to end his season on a high at the O2 Arena this week despite being assured of top spot.

“Of course, [the ranking] doesn't affect my preparations here for this tournament. Of course, I want to win every match that I play here. That's why I'm here. It's the season finale.

“But knowing in the back of my mind that I will end as No. 1 is a huge relief and a huge satisfaction for me and my team. Knowing how long the year was and how difficult and competitive it was with all of my rivals, it just makes it even bigger.”

Djokovic won the end-of-season event in 2008 when it was held in Shanghai, beating Nikolay Davydenko in the final, but has only once progressed beyond the round robin stages while the tournament has been held in London, falling to six-time champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals in 2010.

He faces Britain’s Andy Murray in the afternoon session on Wednesday, knowing that a 10th win over the Scot in their 17th career meeting would leave him with one foot in the semi-finals.

“When I'm playing Andy, I need to be ready for long rallies and a physically demanding match,” added the Belgrade native. “I'm going to have a day to recover and get ready for the next challenge.”

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