Djokovic romps to victory in ATP Finals opener

Rafael Nadal Year-end No. 1 finish wasn't one of my goals for this season

Thiem joined Novak Djokovic as the victor on the day after the Serb earlier on Sunday crushed tournament debutant Matteo Berrettini.

"It's probably also the toughest way to start off the World Tour Finals, playing Novak on the indoors, because he rarely has hiccups as well early on in tournaments".

The 32-year-old needs to reach the final of the season-ending showpiece to reclaim the number one spot from Nadal and match Pete Sampras's incredible record of finishing six separate seasons as the world's number one player.

"There's no other reasonable explanation (to that reaction) than trying to play as flawless as possible", Djokovic said from London. He didn't obviously have the best match today against Novak, you know.

It was certainly the same Djokovic that the O2 Arena crowd has become used to seeing.

Nadal, who has never won the event, is bidding to clinch the year-end number one spot in the ATP rankings for the fifth time.

Federer, uncharacteristically wayward, squandered an early chance to break in the second set and the games went with serve until the 11th game again, when Thiem broke to love after the third seed dumped a forehand into the net.

"He missed a relatively easy forehand for him that gave me a break (in the first set)", Djokovic said.

The tournament, featuring the year´s best eight players, is contested in a round-robin format with the best four players and doubles teams reaching the knockout semi-finals stage.

"It's incredible to play against probably the best player of all time, but luckily I have a pretty good record against him".

He has often struggled with injuries towards the end of the season - missing the ATP Finals past year through injury and pulling out after just one match in 2017.

"It's overwhelming to enter this arena and we had a good and close match".

Nadal's opponents in the Andre Agassi group are Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Zverev.

Thiem served out the set with great composure and both players had a packed crowd purring as they showed their athleticism with classy winners at the net early in the second.

Djokovic has a chance to overtake Nadal for the year-end No. 1 ranking with a strong showing in London. He trails the Spaniard by 640 ranking points, with a maximum of 1,500 points up for grabs.

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