Novak Djokovic: ATP World Tour Finals Title Would Be Perfect End to Great Season

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves during the men's singles match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on day three of the ATP World Tour Finals at the at O2 Arena on November 7, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It's been another successful season for Novak Djokovic. He's won five titles, including the Australian Open, and currently holds the No. 1 ranking. An ATP World Tour Finals triumph would send him into 2013 on a high note.

Expectations were through the roof entering the season because Djokovic was coming off an astonishing 2011 run, featuring three major titles and a near record-breaking undefeated streak. The added hype put a lot of pressure on his shoulders.

He responded by winning the season's first major and has continued to carve out his place in tennis history with another impressive year. It hasn't been on the same level as 2011, but nobody should have expected him to replicate that type of success.

Since Djokovic wasn't able to win any of the final three majors, a win at the biggest yearly event outside of the Grand Slams would be huge for his mental outlook heading into next season.

He's in good shape to do exactly that. By defeating Andy Murray on Wednesday, Djokovic was able to take control of Group A, which is key in terms of seeding for the semifinals.

In what's become a typical match between two of the sport's top players, Djokovic and Murray battled back and forth for three sets before the Serbian star finally took the final set, 7-5. Their friendly rivalry is one of the sport's best.

The absence of Rafael Nadal makes winning the group a gigantic reward. If Djokovic were to finish second, he would likely have to defeat Roger Federer and then Murray again in order to win the title.

If he beats Tomas Berdych on Friday to win the group, however, he would likely avoid Federer in the semifinals. David Ferrer would be his probable opponent instead. And, with no disrespect to the scrappy Ferrer, that's a much better path for Djokovic.

What fans saw on Wednesday against Murray was something that had been missing at the business end of the final three majors: Djokovic's killer instinct. After dropping the opening set, he bore down and found a way to win.

As long as he keeps playing at the level he did in those two sets, it's hard to imagine him getting beaten. The difference between the top three is razor thin, but when Djokovic is at the top of his game, he's got a slight edge.

While it's been another solid season for the five-time major winner, winning in London would make it a terrific one—and put him on the path to even more success in 2013.