Battle for Year End Number One Tightens as Paris Masters Comes Around

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Greetings. I’m still writing exams but Murray won Vienna last week as expected while Cilic won Basel, defeating Tsonga and Nishikori in the finals respectively.

Murray also had a walkover in the semis against Ferrer which is good fortune for him as his freshness will be a big question this week in Paris in his bid to overtake Djokovic in the rankings.

For him to do that by next Monday he has to win the title and Djokovic must lose before the final of Paris or Murray must make the final and Djokovic must lose before the semis, as you can see below by clicking the image.

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It’s doable but I don’t think Murray will win Paris. As for Djokovic, he is struggling with his confidence right now and I don’t think he is winning the title either. He has won it the last three years but he seems completely burned out.

He has a tough draw too with Muller who just made semis in Basel and lost in the deciding set breaker to Nishikori. Then he likely gets Dimitrov and then Cilic or Goffin. In the semis, he could get Stan or Thiem.

Murray will play Verdasco in the first round who won today and can be dangerous. He can also play Pouille in the third round which I hope for. His quarterfinal doesn’t look very challenging and in the semis, he can play Raonic os Nishikori.

He’s got a better draw than Djokovic but we will see how it goes after the week in Vienna. That walkover against Ferrer sure was fortunate to give him some much-needed rest.

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This race to number one is now getting very interesting and one feels that Djokovic should clearly end the year number one after winning two slams, making the final of another, and winning four Masters titles already.

That said, Murray did have a very consistent year and won the Olympics as well. And there is still the World Tour Finals left which is another big event. Djokovic is currently struggling with his confidence which makes things tough for him but he has to somehow try to make at least semis in Paris and hope Murray loses early.

Murray has a real shot at this but he can’t afford to lose early in Paris. Neither can Djokovic. A very interesting week ahead!

To sum up: Murray still has 275 Davis Cup points that must come off before the year end so for him to end the year number one he has to make 691 points more than Djokovic at Paris and London.

Who will go deeper in Paris?

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Djokovic Continues to Struggle as the Tennis Season Winds Down

Hi, folks. Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been writing exams so it’s been a bit crazy around here. I did, however, follow Shanghai which Murray won and where Djokovic lost 6-4, 6-4 in the semis to Bautista Agut.

Murray also won Beijing where Djokovic withdrew due to injury. That means Murray is currently only 915 points behind Djokovic in the race and he is making a run for the year-end number one because he is playing the ATP 500 event in Vienna next week as well.

The struggle for Djokovic is real and it reminds me a lot of the end of 2011 where he was also burned out and without confidence. In Shanghai Djokovic was already struggling in the quarterfinals against Micha Zverev winning 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.

So I guess it wasn’t all that surprising that he then lost to Bautista Agut. What was surprising was the scoreline and how poorly he played. There was a distinct lack of confidence and hesitation in the big moments.

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This is, however, not all that surprising given the scope and duration of his dominance. It was always going to catch up with him, especially after winning the French Open. Ideally, he would have taken the year off after that but in tennis that is too complicated.

Actually, skipping slams is going a bit far so ideally he would have rested during the fall season but there are important things to play for like the year-end number one and a sixth World Tour Finals title.

Judging from his current form winning the World Tour Finals will be very difficult but he should still get the year-end number one with decent showings in Paris and London. I don’t know the exact scenario but that will currently be the focus for Djokovic.

I think Murray must basically win or make the final of all three events he is playing and that is going to be hard to do given his titles in Beijing and Shanghai. I think he will lose early in Vienna or Paris but it will be an interesting race between him and Djokovic.

  • Djokovic’s Changed Outlook

As you know Djokovic recently said that he doesn’t want to think about number one or titles and that he wants to get his enjoyment of tennis back. I don’t think that has worked out so well for him in Shanghai because losing is never fun no matter how you look at it.

I understand where he is coming from, though. I have felt the same with this blog. Ever since I embraced Djokovic as Federer’s successor and gave him the credit I thought he deserved some Fedfans became bitter and it is like blogging almost became a competition between me and them.

As a result, I have lost my passion and enjoyment for blogging and have blogged less in recent times. I think that is how Djokovic feels to a certain extent after his dominance. There were so many expectations and hype that he didn’t enjoy the process anymore.

It was all about winning and breaking records and he lost sight of having fun out there. I feel like that with my blogging because I won the ‘competition’ with the Fedfans but lost my enjoyment of blogging along the way.

I just don’t feel the passion and enthusiasm I used to. And I’ve never seen this as a job so if I don’t feel like blogging I won’t. I am currently writing exams though which makes it hard to blog.

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Maybe, like Djokovic, I need some time before I find my enthusiasm for blogging again. I don’t see him recovering his confidence and enjoyment before the end of the year but we will see. Maybe he finds some form in Paris and London.

I also don’t think he is declining like so many critics would like to believe. The burnout is normal. It happened in 2011 too and he came back just fine. I think he will find his mojo in Australia again next year but this has already been another very successful year for him.

Winning the French Open was the main thing. Anything else was going to be a bonus. I think he did well to win Toronto and to make the US Open final. Tying Federer’s six World Tour Finals titles this year will be difficult but ending the year as number one will be the main objective.

It would seem illogical that he won more slams and Masters than Murray and still doesn’t finish number one. Whatever the case may be the indoor season will be interesting to follow with that all-important race to number one!

Who will end the year at the top of the rankings?

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Who Will Win Beijing and Tokyo?

This coming week is the ATP 500 events in Beijing and Tokyo and with the withdrawal of Djokovic from Beijing, there will be a new winner than the past four years. In the last 7 years, only one other player than Djokovic won the title(Berdych) but he will play Tokyo.

You can view the draw for Beijing here and for Tokyo here. For Beijing, I think the winner will come from Murray, Nadal, Thiem, Raonic, and Pouille. For Tokyo, I think the winner will be among the top four seeds Nishikori, Monfils, Berdych, and Cilic.

Murray only has Thiem in is half while the bottom half should be interesting with Nadal, Raonic, and Pouille battling out for a place in the final. Nadal and Pouille are in the same quarter which means the possibility of a US Open fourth round repeat.

Thiem and Zverev are drawn to meet in the first round which will be interesting too. They have already played each other four times(all on clay) and Thiem leads 3-0.

In Tokyo, I like Nishikori’s chances after the withdrawal of Stan(last year’s winner) because he is playing at home and has already won the title twice. But, of course, Cilic can be very dangerous and so can Monfils and Berdych.

It’s nice to have two of the big four back this week as well as Pouille who is an exciting prospect for the future. Hopefully, we will see some good matches that keep us busy until Shanghai next week!

Who will win Beijing?

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Who will win Tokyo?

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