In the ATP Live Rankings, the world no. 1 Rafael Nadal has 1,125 points more than Novak Djokovic. The Serb would overcome the number two Roger Federer by reaching the Shanghai Masters final, and then in the European hard-court events he can seriously aim at Nadal's throne.
In press conference after his win over Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday, speaking of Nadal, Djokovic said. 'I know how many points he's ahead of me. When you're in the race, of course you know.' How much important is to have won 14 matches in a row since the Cincinnati opening round? 'It is very important.
I haven't won too many matches the beginning of the year. After the surgery I was not managing to play my best, and that has changed, so obviously the more you win, the more comfortable and more confident you feel on the court.
That's usually the case for everyone.' Djokovic also added: 'I'm very grateful to play on a high level. I think that I'm very close to my best, you know, and "best" changes day to day. I can always strive to be the best I can be on that given day.
Today's performance was pretty close to that.' Commenting on his preparation for the tournament and analyzing the match he won over Chardy, Djokovic added: 'I'm really happy that I managed to get three, four very good quality days of practice here before my first match.
This year's surface on the center court and outside courts especially has been the fastest that I have ever experienced. Very quick courts. Favors the server, obviously. That's why you have to be alert all the time and ready to get out of the blocks very quickly and, you know, bring in the intensity.
There is not much time to construct the point or relax too much. So I'm really glad I managed to execute everything I tactically planned to do. I have played Jeremy many times before and not lost to him. But, you know, when someone has a big serve like him and forehand, it's easier said than done.
I had to execute, and I did really well, I think.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title