Novak Djokovic: Greg Rusedski says Serb will top rankings again
Last Updated: 15/10/13 9:49am
Upward momentum: Djokovic has registered successive titles in Asia
Sky Sports tennis expert Greg Rusedski thinks Novak Djokovic could jump back to the top of the world rankings in 2014.
The Serb, 26, has recently been leapfrogged by long-time rival Rafael Nadal, with the Spaniard - the victor of this term's French and US Opens - racking up the points since his return from injury.
"Djokovic is laying down a marker on these hard-courts."
However, Djokovic - quelled by Nadal in four sets in the Flushing Meadows showpiece in September - has returned to winning ways, claiming the China Open and Shanghai Masters titles during the ATP Tour's Asian Swing.
The six-time major champion bested Nadal in Beijing and, seven days later, overcame Juan Martin Del Potro in Shanghai, and Rusedski feels Djokovic is now primed for a stellar 2014 campaign - once he has tasted more success this season.
"I think Novak wants to win the last Masters 1000 event in Paris and then defend his titles at the O2 Arena [in the ATP World Tour Finals] and at the Australian Open, so he is laying down a marker on these hard-courts," said the 1997 US Open runner-up.
"I think he was psychologically damaged by losing to Rafa in the semi-finals of the French Open and then to [Andy] Murray at Wimbledon, and then he went through a period of four or five tournaments where he lost big matches.
"But he has back-to-back titles now and is building himself back, and with things starting to roll, don't be surprised to see him get back to world number one next year."
Djokovic and Del Potro became embroiled in a classic encounter at Qizhong Tennis Center, with the Belgrade-born player eventually prevailing 6-1 3-6 7-6 after two hours and 32 minutes of action.
The world number two rattled down 10 aces en route to beating Del Potro - who won last week's Japan Open in Koto by defeating big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic - but Rusedski was impressed by Djokovic's resilience as he took his unbeaten streak in China to 20 matches.
"It was a fantastic match," said the former British number one.
"It looked like it was going to be a very one-sided with Djokovic winning the first set 6-1 but then he had episodes of dancing and was slipping and sliding all over the court, and had to show sheer determination in that final set.
"Del Potro was staying strong but Djokovic showed us why has been world number one for most of this year by coming up with the goods when it mattered in that tiebreak.
"He will be disappointed he only converted two out of 12 break points but will be very pleased with winning 18 net points out of 19 and I thought he came in very well."
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