Rafa vs Djoko battle moves to Paris
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic take their battle to end 2013 as world number one to the Paris Masters next week while the desperate stampede to reach the World Tour Finals wraps up.
Nadal, the comeback king of the year having romped to the French and US Opens, as well as deposing Djokovic as world number one, is seeking another landmark in the French capital.
The Spaniard is bidding to become the first player to win six Masters titles in the same season. But he has been showing signs of wear and tear in recent weeks as his efforts in clinching 10 trophies since his return from a seven-month injury lay-off in February begin to take their traditional late-season toll.
Despite losing his top ranking, Australian Open champion Djokovic has still been the form player of recent weeks, winning titles in Beijing and Shanghai.
“I put myself in a better position right now with back-to-back wins,” Djokovic said of his hopes of returning to the top spot which may be slim with Nadal not having points to defend having missed the 2012 Paris Masters.
“My motivation is there always, especially when I’m playing finals of such a big event,” added the Serb who has a busy end of year on the cards with the Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic to be played in Belgrade.
Ahead of the Paris Masters, five of the eight places at the season-ending World Tour Finals had already been claimed with Nadal, Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych all assured of being in London.
Roger Federer will become the sixth man to make it to the November 4-11 ATP season finale should he defeat del Potro in the Swiss Indoors final on Sunday.