Shanghai: World No 2 Novak Djokovic said that opting out of the Davis Cup this year could be a factor in his end-of-season freshness as he keeps his eyes firmly on the year-end top spot.
The 25-year-old Serbian suffered from injury problems towards the end of 2011 as he faded after a stellar season but this year is in red-hot form, reaching the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters days after winning his third China Open.
He currently sits behind Swiss great Roger Federer in the rankings but looks a good bet to finish top of the pile for the second year running as he has fewer points to defend in the last few weeks in the rolling 12-month system.
“The scheduling more or less was similar in these two seasons,” said Djokovic. “I haven’t changed my routines that I’ve been respecting in practices, preparation and recovery programmes. It all has been the same.
“But I’ve made maybe a couple of wiser decisions on how to play, what to play, what to do in order to stay fit. I had a very long and emotional 2011.
“Winning the US Open also brought me a lot of joy, but a lot of fatigue also. I went back to Serbia and played a Davis Cup match, which made my injury worse, then I had to be away for two months also.”
Djokovic, who successfully defended his Australian Open crown this year, said not playing in the Davis Cup had possibly contributed towards his improved freshness towards the end of this season.
“I haven’t played a Davis Cup. Maybe that helped me to stay fit. But I’ll be having Davis Cup matches in the next year hopefully. I’m really looking forward to play for my country once again. I’ll try to keep the good scheduling as a priority.”
The Serbian, who also reached the finals of the French Open and US Open in 2012, said it was a tough decision to turn his back on the Davis Cup this year after he won the title with his nation in 2010.
“That gave all of us wings, a strong confidence boost that we used in the period to come after that,” Djokovic said.
“But we also all rate that title as probably the best experience that you can have because it’s a team competition. Team spirit is something we don’t get to experience that often.
“It’s a very special feeling and I love playing Davis Cup. It’s just that the scheduling of the Davis Cup is not so convenient for players, especially the top ones who play a lot of matches.”