Novak Djokovic said his targets for the rest of 2021 include clinching the year-end number one spot and helping Serbia in its Davis Cup campaign, as he returns to competition at the Paris Masters for the first time since losing the U.S. Open final.
Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal on 20 major titles, has not played since coming up short in his bid for a calendar Grand Slam in September, losing in straight sets to Russian Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic and Medvedev are both in Paris for the Masters 1000 event in Bercy before they head to Turin for the Nov. 14-21 ATP Finals. The year-end number one spot is based on results during the calendar season and Djokovic can seal it in Bercy where he is the top seed and a five-time champion.
"The year-end number one is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I'm in a pretty good position in terms of the ranking points and the race, so that's obviously the goal for the end of the season other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team," Djokovic said in Paris on Sunday.
"So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end No. 1."
Djokovic, 34, and American great Pete Sampras have each held the year-end number one spot a record six times.
Both Djokovic and Medvedev will represent their countries at the Davis Cup, which starts on Nov. 25, and the Serb said the season has been "very draining".
"But I have had similar situations before where I was just super tired, but somehow managed to find the strength and finish the year and finish the season strong," he added.
"Hopefully that will be the case again."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)