Sat, 10 Nov 2012 10:15:00 GMT | By AFP

Djokovic targets title to boost ill father

London: Novak Djokovic admits his winning run at the ATP Tour Finals has been the perfect tonic after a difficult few weeks worrying about the health of his seriously ill father.

Djokovic targets title to boost ill father (© Reuters)

Djokovic's father Srdjan has been suffering from a blood disorder that struck him without warning last month and the strain of the situation took its' toll on the world number one.

The 25-year-old Serb cut a distracted figure when he suffered a shock defeat against Sam Querrey at the Paris Masters and he was still extremely emotional when he arrived in London for the season-ending event at the O2 Arena.

But the gradual improvement in his dad's condition over the last few days has allowed Djokovic to concentrate on his game again and he has responded with three successive victories to book his place in Sunday's semifinals as the Group A winner.

Tomas Berdych was the latest victim of Djokovic's desire to provide some good news for his family, the Australian Open champion saving three set points in the second set to clinch a 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) win over the Czech fifth seed on Friday.

"Well, it was (hard to focus on tennis). It still is, but there is good news every day," Djokovic said. That makes me happier, makes me play more relaxed on the court.

"I switch off on the tennis court. I try to think only about the match and it's been working well so far.

"Every win means a lot for my family and me. But there are more important things in life, and that's health. I guess that's the priority now."

If current form holds true, Djokovic's bid to end the year on a high note is likely to be decided by a final showdown with defending champion Roger Federer.

Federer is the only other player with a 100 percent record at this year's tournament and Djokovic concedes the world number two, who is unbeaten at the O2 Arena since 2009, should be regarded as the favourite to lift the title for the third successive season.

"He's definitely one of the favorites, considering the success he's had on this court. He's been playing really well. He hasn't dropped a set," Djokovic said.

"If we get to play each other, it's always a challenge. Whoever plays him, Roger is always playing consistently well, especially in such a big tournaments."

Aside from Federer, the only other obstacle for Djokovic could be fatigue as he battles to keep playing his best at the end of another draining campaign.

Although he admits to feeling tired at times, Djokovic believes his winning run in London has provided him with a much-needed injection of energy.

"Well, of course. If you are winning matches obviously you feel better," Djokovic said.

"But still the fact is that it is the last tournament of the year for most of the players, so it is a challenge finding that last drop of energy, physical, mental.

"That's the same for me. I played a lot of matches this year. But for the first time I won all three in my group here.

"This is very encouraging for me, so I will try to focus on the semifinal now."


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