Djokovic not done with 2021 just yet

 - Reem Abulleil

Serb looks set to secure the year-end No.1 ranking for a record seventh time

Novak Djokovic's joy during the 2021 US Open© Paul Zimmer/FFT

We haven’t seen him since his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev but Novak Djokovic has confirmed he is not done with this season just yet, eyeing a return to competition at the upcoming Rolex Paris Masters (November 1-7).

The Serb looks on track to securing the year-end No.1 ranking for an unprecedented seventh time – he tied Sampras’ ATP record of six year-end top finishes last season – and he’ll be looking to extinguish any effort from Medvedev to pass him when he competes in Paris and the ATP Finals in Turin next month.

While Medvedev has managed to close in on Djokovic this year, the Russian world No.2 is the defending champion at the last two events of the ATP season, and has no chance of adding points to his tally in Paris and Turin. His early exit at Indian Wells did not help his cause, where he could have capitalised on Djokovic’s absence.

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev friendly chatting during the on court ceremony at the 2021 US Open.© Paul Zimmer/FFT

“Djokovic deserves to end the year as world No.1. He won three Slams,” Medvedev told reporters in Moscow this week.

Djokovic, who missed the action in Bercy last year, will be chasing a sixth Rolex Paris Masters crown and a fifth title of the season.

The world No.1 came agonisingly close to completing the Grand Slam this year, falling just one match-win short of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to clinch all four majors in the same calendar year. He also suffered heartbreak at the Tokyo Olympics, where he missed out on the podium by losing to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals, and to Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze-medal match.

A historic year

That’s not to say 2021 has not been a historic one for Djokovic. In March, the 34-year-old set a new ATP record of 311 weeks spent at the top of the rankings – surpassing Roger Federer – and at Wimbledon in July, Djokovic equalled Federer and Rafael Nadal’s men’s all-time record tally of 20 Grand Slams won.

The Serb would be the clear favourite to grab a 10th Australian Open crown next January and sail past his ‘Big Three’ rivals but he is still undecided on whether he will be making the trip to Melbourne or not.

Finishing strong

For now, the focus for Djokovic is to finish 2021 on a high, with Paris and Turin on the horizon, before wrapping things up alongside his fellow Serbs at the Davis Cup Finals (staged over three cities in Turin, Innsbruck and Madrid).

“I am planning on playing (Paris) Bercy, ATP Finals in Turin and Davis Cup,” Djokovic told Serbian daily newspaper Blic earlier this week. “I will stay in Belgrade this week, and then I will leave Serbia next week in order to further prepare myself and focus on practice.”

Djokovic led Serbia to their sole previous Davis Cup title triumph back in 2010, where they downed France 3-2 at Belgrade Arena.