Novak Djokovic aims world number 1 spot by end of the year

Djokovic has not played since losing in straight sets to Russian Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows in September.

Novak Djokovic in a file photo. (Image Credit: Twitter/@usopen)

Novak Djokovic is aiming to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking as he returns for the first time since losing in the final of the US Open, though he has not confirmed whether he will compete in the Australian Open. Djokovic has not played since losing in straight sets to Russian Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows in September in his bid for a calendar Grand Slam. Both Djokovic and Medvedev are in Paris for the Masters 1000 event before heading to Turin for the ATP Finals. The year-end No. 1 ranking is determined by results during the calendar season, and Djokovic has a chance to clinch it in Paris, where he is the top seed and a five-time champion.

It was the first time the Serbian had faced the press since the US Open final, and he said: “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. So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end number one.”

Djokovic did not confirm his participation in the Australian Open during the press conference. Unvaccinated players, according to tournament officials, are unlikely to be allowed to enter the country for the event. As a result of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the state of Victoria, which is set to host the first major of 2022 in January, has implemented a vaccination mandate for professional athletes.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said this week that no unvaccinated players would be allowed to compete in the tournament, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously telling local media that they could compete but only after a two-week quarantine.

“Well, I’m going to decide on whether I go to Australia or not after I see the official statement from Tennis Australia,” Djokovic said when asked about the likelihood of him competing in the competition.

“Right now we don’t have any official announcement or statement. So until that’s out, I won’t be talking about this anymore, because, you know, I don’t want to be part of the stories about the assumptions and what-ifs. When official condition requirements to travel to Australia and play in Australia are out, then obviously I’ll see what I personally do with that, and also the bigger group of the players, you know, because the situation is obviously different in Australia than most parts of the world,” the Serbian added.

Medvedev, the US Open champion, refused to reveal his vaccine status and stated that he prefers to keep his medical records private, a stance similar to Djokovic’s. “I always said it, that I really like Novak’s answer about this. I want to keep my medical, no matter if it’s about vaccine, leg injury, head injury. I want to keep my medical private for a reason,” he said.

“I feel like tennis is such a brutal sport where you’re always one on one against your opponent, and any information you give him can go against you. If you’re playing Australia, it’s obvious you’re vaccinated. So that’s why I said I’m willing to play Australia, but I won’t say if you’ll see me there, but we’re going to see in January,” Medvedev added.

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