Novak Djokovic hoping to bring summer form to Shanghai

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Having won the last two Majors, it’s hard to argue that Novak Djokovic is the hottest player on the ATP World Tour at the moment—and he’s hoping to bring that summer form to Shanghai this week.

After putting together a 6-6 record in his first six tournaments of the year, which were also his first six tournaments back from an elbow injury that kept him out most of the second half of last year, Djokovic turned his season around in Rome in May, winning 34 of the 38 matches he’s played since then.

Djokovic has been an even sharper 22-1 since the start of July, winning three of the four events he’s played since then at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and the US Open—his only loss in the last three months coming in the third round of the Masters 1000 in Toronto (to eventual finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas).

But despite winning the last two Grand Slams, bringing his career haul to 14, Djokovic didn’t leave New York saying he was going to ease up in the fall—he said he’s inspired to work even harder now.

“I try to keep my both feet on the ground,” he said after beating Juan Martin del Potro in the final. “I love this sport. As long as there is that flair in me, I really will keep on going. I still feel it. I still have a lot of passion. I think more than passion —it’s just the will to work and be dedicated every day.

“I know how much it takes, from sacrifice and effort and energy, to actually give yourself a chance to fight for the trophy. But I also see other guys. We share the locker room, we share the gym, I see them every day, I see how much sweat they put in, and how much time they spend on the court.

“It makes me work even harder.”

Djokovic will play his first ATP World Tour event of the fall in Shanghai, and it’s been a very happy hunting ground for him in the past. He has a 27-4 career record at the event, winning the title three times in 2012, 2013, and 2015 (and he’s actually never lost before the semifinals there—he was a semifinalist in all four of his other career appearances at the event in 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2016).

He’s also won 41 of his last 43 matches anywhere in China (that stretch dates back to the start of 2012 and includes four of his six China Open titles—he’s a flawless 29-0 lifetime in Beijing).

The former No. 1, who went into Wimbledon ranked No. 21 but is now back up to No. 3, will have some extra motivation in Shanghai, too—not only does he have a chance to pass Roger Federer and get back to No. 2, but if he wins the title he can get to within less than 200 points of No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

ATP Beijing & Tokyo (Sep. 30-Oct. 7)
- Tennis Channel PLUS has every ATP match live, from the first round to the final. Watch up to three courts from Beijing and two from Tokyo. 

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