Novak Djokovic took an important step last week in his bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, adding a valuable 250 points to claim the Tel Aviv Watergen Open title. As reigning Grand Slam champion, Djokovic will secure a place in the season finale if he manages to remain in the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Race Tu Turin.
That scenario would make Djokovic enter the event along with the first 7 tennis players in the Race after the Rolex Paris Masters on November 6. Currently ranked No. 15 in the Live Race, Djokovic strengthened his chances of qualifying for the tournament for the 15th time.
The Balkan cemented his presence in the Top 20 by winning his 89th career title. The reigning Wimbledon champion, who would attempt to equal Roger Federer's six crowns at the tournament if he makes it through, holds a 565-point lead over world No.21 Denis Shapovalov.
The Serb started last week just 360 points ahead of then-No. 21 Alex de Minaur. The five-time Nitto ATP Finals champion has another chance to score points this week at the Astana Open. The Balkan will play the first round of the ATP 500 against the Chilean Cristian Garín.
The seventh position is currently being chased by several players. No. 7 Felix Auger-Aliassime dropped his opening match in Astana, opening the door for Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz to push for that spot later in the week.
No. 9 Hurkacz and No. 10 Fritz can top the Canadian's 2,860 points. Hurkacz (2,680) would need to reach the final in Astana. The Pole had a good debut beating the Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo in Kazakhstan to meet the local figure Alexander Bublik or the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in the second round.
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Following his title win in Tel Aviv last week, Novak Djokovic gave an interview to Guy Azriel of i24NEWS and reflected on his unvaccinated status. He said that being a believer in freedom of choice, he should have the right to choose what is best for his body.
"I stay true to my values and to things that I believe in and I believe in freedom of choice and I believe that everyone should have possibility to choose what they would to do their bodies, so I made my decision," Djokovic said.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner went on to state that he needs to shut out the critics by going out and doing what he does best. "So I have to just deal with it and swallow it, and go out on the court and do what I do best, and that's playing tennis," he said.
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