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Nadal deserves to be No. 1, says Tour Finals winner Djokovic

Ismail Vedat at the O2
November 12, 2013 « Welbeck and Carrick withdraw from England squad | Chartbeat test »
Serve was the difference

After defending his ATP World Tour Finals crown, Novak Djokovic revealed he put losing top spot in the rankings to one side to focus solely on winning trophies.

The Serb got the better of Rafael Nadal in straight sets to win the season-finale for the third time in his career, and after being dethroned as the year-end world No. 1 by Nadal said his mentality for the rest of the season changed.

"Year-end No. 1 is deservedly in Nadal's hands because he has two grand slam wins, and has had the best season of all the players. For me, I tried to put aside the calculations and the rankings after the US Open and just tried to focus on one tournament at a time. That kind of attitude has helped me to get to where I am at this moment," said the Serb.

Djokovic will head into the new campaign on the back of winning 22 straight matches, a run that is still only half that of the streak he enjoyed in 2011. "It's the second best run that I've had. The most positive thing that I can take from these two-and-a-half months is the fact that I managed to regroup after big losses at Roland Garros [semi-finals to Nadal], the US Open final [lost to Nadal] and the Wimbledon final [lost to Andy Murray]," he said.

On his encounters with Nadal following their 39th meeting, the most in the Open Era by three matches, the Serb said: "The pattern has been shifting, and we push each other to the limit. We make each other better players."

Playing in his second final at the season-ending event, Nadal will take part in some exhibitions during the off-season, and will no doubt reflect on the phenomenal year he has had.

"I'm going to do a charity event with Richard Branson, then I'm going to play some exhibitions in South America," the French and US Open champion said. "Then I will go back to Spain to have some checks on the knee and have a bit of time to recover."

While he congratulated his opponent for the win, Nadal talked about the rivalry the pair have as being "a special moment" in the sport.

"I think it's amazing that we have played 39 times. What's happened for the past few years, competing for almost every tournament, it's something that doesn't happen very often in the history of our sport," Nadal said.

"We are in a special moment of tennis. I don't say that it's better than others, but it's special for this fact, so I don't know how many years we will have the chance to repeat the situation."

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