Tennis followers in Turin can look ahead to a historic second. Novak Djokovic, ought to he beat Holger Rune within the inexperienced group opener of the ATP Finals, will safe the primary rating on the finish of the season for the eighth time, yet one more of his many data.
Djokovic has turned every of his appearances on a court docket into a novel and distinctive state of affairs. At 36, he’s the oldest of the eight members. The second oldest is Daniil Medvedev, 9 years youthful.
With Carlos Alcaraz and Rune in rivalry, it is the primary time since 2000 that two under-21s have appeared. “I do not know what Gen I am in, however I am nonetheless right here,” warns the ever-threatening Serb.
“I do not know the way lengthy Rune goes to play,” Djokovic replies when questioned about the opportunity of teaching the Dane sooner or later. Holger is 20 years outdated, however Nole has no intention of hanging up his racket so long as he retains profitable.
Final season he turned the longest-serving grasp and has gained 80 per cent of his indoor matches: 192 wins to 48 losses.
Nobody has a greater share of indoor wins amongst lively professionals. That rating is led by John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg.
“It motivates me to beat these kids,” he says. Djokovic, who nonetheless has a bone to select with Alcaraz from the Wimbledon ultimate, was on show on Friday with the Murcian.
His final indoor setback was within the Paris-Bercy ultimate in 2022 in opposition to Rune, the opponent with whom he’ll open his sixteenth Masters look.
The Scandinavian is making his debut, as is Carlos Alcaraz, who arrives on the occasion keen and unsure about what model he’s going to supply.
“Regardless of the ends in latest months, in latest tournaments, I anticipate a Carlos just like the one firstly of the 12 months. The defeat in Paris, which was fairly painful, has made me realise that I’ve to work more durable, work more durable,” he says.
Alcaraz began his time trial to Turin 48 hours after dropping within the Bercy opener to Roman Safiullin: “I did not wish to do virtually something, however we’re within the ATP Finals, which is likely one of the greatest tournaments we’ve in tennis”.
The Spaniard could have his total workforce within the capital of the Piedmont area. Juanjo Moreno, his physiotherapist, is at present engaged on a blister on his proper foot that has troubled him.
Juan Carlos Ferrero has ready coaching periods in an escalating method: the junior Joao Fonseca, Djokovic and yesterday Tsitsipas. Observe with the Athenian was halted by a again harm to Stefanos.
Djokovic has gained extra matches (46) than the opposite gamers within the group stage (32). He additionally has 97 titles to the 90 gained by the opposite seven gamers.
The Balkan’s second youth is helped by his brief schedule: the Masters Cup shall be his twelfth event of the season.
For the third time in historical past, the line-up is full of gamers from the Outdated Continent. This was the case in 2019 and 2021. The final non-European winner dates again to the 2022 version with Lleyton Hewitt, who beat Ferrero within the ultimate in Shanghai.
Turin, not like the WTA Finals in Cancun, has offered out to see the highest eight on a 47-metre court docket, three metres longer than the O2 in London. Let the present start.