On the eve of what could possibly be his last week as the world number one, Novak Djokovic has admitted that he is struggling to reach the level that saw him start the season with three Masters Series titles and win his first French Open to complete a career Grand Slam. Andy Murray is just one win away from overtaking the Serbian as the top ranked men's singles player after he lost in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters to Marin Cilic on Friday (4 November).
The 12-time Grand Slam winner has struggled for form in recent months, with his last win coming at the Rogers Cup event, and admitted that his blistering start to the season, which saw him realise a career Grand Slam took a toll on him not only physically but also mentally.
Since his last win, he has lost in the first round of the Olympics, the final of the US Open to Stan Wawrinka, in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters to Roberto Bautista Agut and now to Marin Cilic at the Paris Masters – the tournament he has won for the last three years. However, the current world number one is confident that he will overcome his slump, but is aware that it will take time for him to reach his best.
"It took a lot out of me, and it has put some things in perspective and, obviously, raised some questions in which direction I want to go to. So I'm in the process at the moment, and it's going to obviously take some time really for me to redefine all these things," Djokovic said, as quoted on the ATP's official site.
"But I'm still here, and I feel like I'm on the right path. I'm in a better state of mind than I was some time ago. That's all I'm thinking about right now. I have to get to that state of mind where I'm able to perform as well as I want to match after match. I was not able to find that level for the last couple of months," the Serb explained.
Djokovic also reserved praise for Murray, who is just one win away from becoming the world number one for the first time in his career. The Serb believes the Briton is deserving of it owing to his superior performances in the latter half of the season, which has seen him win three titles in as many weeks coming into the Paris Masters this week.
"Undoubtably much respect for what he has done. All I can say is that he's deservedly in the position he's in at the moment," he added.