Novak Djokovic, the best male tennis player on the planet, is 24-0 at the China Open – has won five titles, and is gunning for his fourth consecutive title in Beijing.
This insane record suggests that he is favorite to win the tournament yet again, especially with in-form Roger Federer and Andy Murray missing from the draw. Instead, Tomas Berdych is seeded no. 2, while David Ferrer (seeded 4) and Rafael Nadal (seeded 3) will be Djokovic’s biggest threats. The Serb tends to take it easy in the smaller ATP500 tournaments, but he is yet to lose in the city, and he wouldn’t want that spotless record to be taken away this year. Fatherhood seems to be suiting him; he has won three Majors (reaching all four finals) in 2015, all after becoming a father for the first time.
Nadal, the 2005 Champion (that’s right, 10 years ago), is on the opposite side of the draw, and is favored to reach the final in a year that has seen him lose an unprecedented 15 matches (winning 45).
Nadal, Ferrer and Berdych are all looking to gain some valuable points heading into the fag end of the tennis season, in order to make it to the season-ending prestigious World Tour Finals in London – where only the top 8 players of the year will compete. So far, Djokovic, Federer, Wawrinka and Murray have made it to the event. Berdych reached last year’s final, where he was defeated by Djokovic – and has even won the event back in 2011. The Serb champ is gunning for his 8th title of 2015, three of which have been Grand Slam titles. He is 63-5 for the year – only his second best calendar performance so far after his 2011 season. Djokovic has now won 55 career titles, only 12 behind Nadal’s 67. 34-year old Roger Federer leads the active-player quota with 87 career titles, 20 ahead of Nadal – who seems to be winding up an injury-prone final act of his studded career.
Nadal, in all likelihood, looks like he will end on 14 majors, three short of Federer, but still four ahead of the Serb. But the way Djokovic is pacing himself, he could reach 14 by 2017, with a few years ahead. China seems to be his favorite country, with his five China Open titles and two Shanghai titles.
Djokovic usually ends men’s tennis seasons the strongest out of all players, and is again a favorite to win the season-ending World Tour Finals title. More significantly, Djokovic will be partnering his 21-year old younger brother Djordje Djokovic in the doubles event, after they received a wild-card entry into the main draw. Only 32 players will compete in this tournament, and this will quickly be followed by arguably Asia’s biggest tennis event – The Shanghai Masters, a week later – the only Masters event of the month of October.