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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Novak Djokovic targets year-end world No 1 ranking spot

Serb, who made successful comeback from injury in 2018 by winning Wimbledon and US Open titles, shifts focus on Shanghai Masters

epa07061414 Novak Djokovic talks to the members of media during his open training session in Belgrade, Serbia, 01 October 2018. EPA/ANDREJ CUKIC
epa07061414 Novak Djokovic talks to the members of media during his open training session in Belgrade, Serbia, 01 October 2018. EPA/ANDREJ CUKIC

Novak Djokovic is back home in Belgrade preparing for an offensive to regain the world No 1 spot after roaring back into top form by winning the US Open.

"I planned to be here with my family ... and everything is set so that I'm again in the race for No 1," Djokovic said in a tennis centre owned by his family in the Serbian capital.

"I hope that Belgrade will bring me luck."

Djokovic has been using the modern facilities to gather his strength for a rousing finale to a season in which he has risen from the ashes after a difficult 2017.

His next stop is the Shanghai Masters from next Monday.

"I decided with my team to stay a bit longer in Belgrade to recover and make a solid base for Shanghai," the 31-year-old Serb added.

Since Wimbledon, Djokovic, who was absent for six months from competition in 2017 and underwent elbow surgery in February, has lost just one match, a surprise defeat in Toronto by Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Before winning his 14th grand slam title in New York, equalling Pete Sampras's mark, Djokovic also won in Cincinnati.

He took part at Laver Cup where he was defeated twice - in doubles with Roger Federer and in singles by Kevin Anderson.

With no need to defend points until the end of the year and Rafael Nadal out with injury, Djokovic could indeed finish the year at the summit for the fifth time after 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

But although not hiding his ambitions to be on the throne again, "Nole" appears patient.

First he wants to play the best in Shanghai and then, maybe, pick up other points at tournaments where he has played either rarely, or never, like in Basel or Vienna.

"We are leaving this possibility open," he said. "But first and foremost I have to play well in Shanghai."

In the ATP rankings Djokovic is third, behind Nadal and Federer.

But in the ATP Race to London, the Serb is second with 1,000 points behind his Spanish rival.

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