Novak Djokovic proud to sit top of the world for second year in a row

Serb puts continued success in 2012 down to a much less hectic tournament schedule

Paris

It would have been too much to expect Novak Djokovic to repeat his feats of 2011, when he enjoyed one of the most remarkable seasons in the history of men's tennis, but the 25-year-old Serb spoke here yesterday of his pride in finishing as world No 1 for the second year in succession.

Djokovic, who will open his Paris Masters campaign today against Sam Querrey, won only one Grand Slam title, compared with three in 2011, and his tally of five tournament victories is five fewer than last year.

But his consistency has been enough to ensure he will reclaim top spot in the world rankings from Roger Federer next Monday. He will end the year as No 1 whatever the outcome of next week's Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

"It was very difficult to follow up after 2011 and to expect myself to repeat what I've done in that season, but winning one Grand Slam this year and five titles so far and being very consistent with my results helped me to be in this position right now," Djokovic said.

"It was a very good year for me, but it's not over. There are two more very important tournaments to come: indoors here in Paris Bercy, obviously, and then London next week."

In the 15 tournaments Djokovic has played this year, he has failed to reach the semi-finals only once, when he went out at the quarter-final stage on the blue clay courts he so disliked in Madrid. He has won 70 of his 81 matches and earned nearly $8.2m (about £5.1m) in prize money.

The Serb is ending the season in much better shape than he did last year, when he was a spent force after playing in the Davis Cup the weekend after he won the US Open. A back injury saw him miss the subsequent Asian swing, and he then failed to reach a final in his three appearances on the European indoor circuit.

In contrast, since this summer's Olympics, Djokovic has won three of his five tournaments, his only losses coming in the finals of the Cincinnati Masters (against Federer) and the US Open (against Andy Murray). "Physically I feel good now though, of course, I'm not the freshest guy on the tour because I have had a long year," he said.

Djokovic puts his consistency down to more careful scheduling. In 2012, he has played in only two events outside the Grand Slam and Masters Series tournaments and the Olympics, and has not appeared in the Davis Cup.

Asked how different he felt now to 12 months ago, Djokovic said: "It was in the back of my mind before I started this year not to get myself in a situation where I got hurt and eventually have to skip the important events like at the end of 2011. I haven't played that many tournaments. I have tried to focus, to always perform my best at the major events."

Djokovic agreed this year's schedule, with the Paris Masters and World Tour Finals played back-to-back, was a problem and he hopes changes might be made in future. Asked whether he thought some players in the eight-man field for London might not give 100 per cent this week, he said it was a "very sensitive" subject. He said he could not speak for others, but added: "I always try to win every match I play."

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea