Novak Djokovic is hoping to extend his 2017 resurgence with a victory in his opening match at the ATP Finals in London. The Serb could take a big step towards the tournament’s top seeding with a first round-robin win against Spain’s Casper Ruud on Monday evening.
Djokovic is playing just his second competitive match since Wimbledon in July, having had surgery on his right elbow. He returned for an exhibition match in Shanghai in October, looking very rusty and lasted just 55 minutes before retiring. But in a private practice at the O2 Arena on Saturday, he told reporters he was feeling “so much better.”
Djokovic’s next match will likely be against the winner of the match between the Swiss pair of Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem on Monday.
The Swiss 24-year-old showed his confidence by crushing Ferrer 6-1, 6-1 in their opening round-robin match on Sunday night, having surrendered his ATP Finals spot in Shanghai the previous week to finish 10th in the Race standings. But beating the former French Open champion Rafa Nadal in London would put his spot back in his control.
Thiem was also in strong form against Wawrinka, winning 6-4, 6-3 to take a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head.
He is due to play Britain’s Kyle Edmund on Tuesday, while Nadal takes on Ferrer in the evening session.
The Swiss player, Stan Wawrinka, was the first man into the last-eight as he beat Sweden’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 on Monday. Wawrinka, who beat Roger Federer in the 2010 London final, reached his first ATP Finals since Wimbledon this summer with a fourth-round victory over Alexander Zverev at the Paris Masters last week.
“I am really happy with how I played,” Wawrinka said after beating Tsitsipas. “I was very aggressive and went for my shots. I was able to hit my best tennis of the tournament. The match against Federer was my toughest, but I think I am ready to compete and continue in London.”