Novak Djokovic recalls: 'I understand Rafael Nadal, I'm in a similar position'

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Novak Djokovic recalls: 'I understand Rafael Nadal, I'm in a similar position'

Novak Djokovic was by far the best player of the 2011 season, winning three Majors and five Masters 1000 tournaments. Novak left all the rivals behind him, including world no. 2 Rafael Nadal, whom he beat in no less than six notable finals, including Wimbledon and the US Open.

Djokovic suffered a back injury at the US Open, struggling a bit in the title clash against Nadal but still sealing the deal in four sets. The Serb did not play well in the rest of the year, winning six out of ten matches to stop the engines and recharge batteries ahead of 2012.

Both Novak and Rafa were tired at the ATP Finals, failing to pass the round-robin stage and fight for the title. Asked about his great rival and the fatigue he mentioned a day earlier, Djokovic admitted he understood Nadal completely.

The Serb revealed he felt tired in the season's closing stages and lacked the freshness he had in the previous nine or ten months. In his last official match of the season, Novak suffered the first loss to Janko Tipsarevic in four encounters against his good friend.

World no. 1 took the opener but fell 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes to drift further away from the semi-final spot. With that one set on his tally, Novak had a chance to advance into the last four and face Roger Federer.

Still, Tomas Berdych beat David Ferrer to join the Spaniard in the semis and leave the Serb empty-handed. Djokovic and Tipsarevic won 84 points each, and the older Serb played better in the crucial moments.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal failed to reach the 2011 ATP Finals semi-final.

Janko defended two out of four break chances and earned four breaks to control the scoreboard in sets two and three and emerge at the top.

Novak claimed the opener with a break in game four, serving well and hoping for more in set number two. Janko survived a challenging second set's opening game, and they traded breaks in games six and seven. Tipsarevic broke again in game eight after Djokovic's loose forehand and fired a service winner at 5-3 to seal the set and force a decider.

Janko delivered four commanding holds in the third set and grabbed breaks in games one and nine to seal the deal and celebrate the victory. "I wanted to win, as always, but it was not to be. I'm happy for Janko; this can give him confidence for the next season.

I have played too much tennis this year, and my body is tired. Also, I'm mentally drained a bit. I do not have the dynamic I had in the past ten months. If this is my last match, I'm looking forward to a much-needed rest.

I have a decent chance to stay in the tournament, and it can happen. David Ferrer is playing great, and if he beats Tomas Berdych, I will face Roger Federer tomorrow. There are days when you do not feel like playing or practicing.

As the year comes to its end, you do not feel 100% fresh physically, mentally or emotionally. Rafael Nadal experienced an injury, and he is in a similar situation to me; I understand him," Novak Djokovic said.