Tour Finals exit won't ruin my year: Djokovic
Updated: 2011-11-27 07:50
LONDON - Novak Djokovic insists nothing can tarnish the memory of his dream season after the Serb's campaign came to a disappointing end at the ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic (pictured) has enjoyed one of the greatest runs in tennis history after winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the US Open and five Masters events, as well as replacing Rafael Nadal as world No 1.
He is the first player to win 10 titles in a season since Roger Federer in 2006 and has recorded 70 wins from 76 matches.
But the 24-year-old Serb finally began to feel the strain of such a grueling 11-month schedule in recent weeks and his season has petered out with two successive defeats at London's O2 Arena.
Djokovic was eliminated from the season finale after losing to 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to compatriot Janko Tipsarevic two days after a straights sets loss to David Ferrer.
Yet he is adamant those results don't matter in the context of such a remarkable campaign.
"I had an unbelievable year. Nothing can really ruin that. I will always remember this year as the best of my life," he said.
"I just want to prepare well for 2012 now. I have more than enough time to get my old strength back. I'm confident I can do well in Australia.
"Compared to last year, I'm not playing Davis Cup finals, so I will have that extra week which will give me a bit more time to rest, a bit more time to prepare.
"I'm not playing any official tournament before the Australian Open. I'm playing a couple of exhibition matches in Abu Dhabi, maybe some in Australia, then getting ready for Melbourne."
Meanwhile, Tipsarevic admitted he put his holiday plans at risk by bringing Djokovic's season to a conclusion.
Tipsarevic has been friends with Djokovic for many years and the pair are so close they have booked a holiday with their families in the Maldives next week.
However, Tipsarevic may find his fellow Serb in a less chatty mood than usual when they relax by the pool after Friday's win over the world No 1.
"I'm going to Maldives on Monday ... hopefully with Novak!" Tipsarevic said.
"He's going to come there on Thursday. I was telling you guys that we are close off court. I'm having dinner with the guy tomorrow, and I saw him this morning at breakfast.
"That's why I generally don't like playing Serbian players because we're so close off court."
Tipsarevic admitted Djokovic was clearly feeling the strain on Friday and he said: "I'm not trying to undermine my performance or my victory, but I can freely say that this was not Novak Djokovic from the US Open or Wimbledon."
(China Daily 11/27/2011 page7)