The Serbian has come in with a strong record of great performances at the Nitto Finals as his first opponent was Diego Schwartzman. He's had a 5-0 record against the Argentine and with winning the Nitto 5 times from 2008 then 2012-2015, Djokovic is a 'shoe in' for possibly winning the event this year.
The first match, Schwartzman hung in there with the Serb leading 4-3 in games of the opening set. Djokovic had the advantage as they exchanged cross courts and down-the-lines. Diego Schwartzman might have provided a bit too many unforced errors to allow Djokovic to take his opportunities in capturing the first set 6-3.
The Serbian's ability to out-rally and plan out his strategies well enough, played a successful dominant game to win the deciding set and the match at 6-3, 6-2. Schwartzman explained to the ATP media that "I didn't do a lot of things wrong, and at some moments I played very well.
But I was outplayed. I don't know what more I could have done...You feel that you're playing well, and then game by game as the match goes on, it starts to get harder. And then suddenly you're losing the match."
Djokovic might have made it look easy but felt a void this year.
Nole admits "I do miss the crowd. I think that's one of the most important aspects of professional tennis why we play this game...hopefully this is very temporary...the atmosphere was always electric..."
he remembers just last year how exciting it was to play in the 02 arena. Schwartzman might have ran out of steam being the last tournament of the season and trying to put in a good appearance on his debut at the Nitto Finals.
The 6 month layoff due to the world health crisis had an impact on the Argentine's game even though he did travel to New York to play the Cincinnati Masters, losing in the 2nd round. The US Open he struggled through a 5-setter in the first round with Cameron Norrie to suffer the loss.
Five tournaments the Argentine went deep in events either making the semi-finals or finals without the result of being the winner. The Nitto ATP finals has just begun and what makes it special is that it's a round robin event.
Djokovic likes the benefits and comment to the ATP media that "..I think the format allows you really, even if you lose a match, to still have a chance to qualify for semifinals. You have plenty of motivation..."
All Novak Djokovic knows is that he's won for his group, the Group Tokyo 1970 comprising himself, Schwartzman, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. He feels confident, physically and mentally on being able to have a meaningful performance not only he can be proud of but to also help his group to win.