Rafael Nadal hoping to be '100%' by ATP Finals opener

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

Serbian tennis icon Novak Djokovic confidently began his campaign to reclaim the year-end number one ranking by beating Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 in the ATP Finals opener.

Federer dominated the robin-round encounter between the two in this tournament past year, but was a break down after firing a forehand into the tramlines in the opening game.

From the moment Federer dropped his opening service game he never seemed entirely comfortable and Thiem took full advantage to claim his third win over Federer this season.

Federer also lost his opening group match past year to Kei Nishikori but recovered to reach the semi-finals.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his group stage match against Italy's Matteo Berrettini.

The Austrian was pegged back at 2-2 when Federer forced an error with a ferocious backhand, yet the six-time champion was unable to cut out the errors and trailed 6-5 after Thiem pounced on his second serve.

"I thought also Dominic saved himself real well when he had to, so I thought he played a tough first-round performance today".

It was a clear sign that even at the end of another grueling season, Djokovic won't tolerate any dips in his game as he pursues a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title. The 19-time Grand Slam victor said, "I am sure that I will compete well, but this tournament is what you play with the top players, so you have to be 100 percent prepared".


Berrettini's forehand was responsible for 18 of those errors, including two shots into the net to hand Djokovic the two breaks of the first set.

Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Zverev are in Group Andre Agassi.

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

The 38-year-old lost his last three finals at The O2 Arena, having ended runner-up at the event in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

"Fortunate to get the break and then I started reading his serve better and played solid throughout the match".

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.

As the top seed in the ATP Finals, Nadal will be placed in group A and second seed Novak Djokovic in group B.

He is now 440 points behind the Spaniard (9,585) in the battle to be the year-end No. 1 for a sixth time, matching the record of Pete Sampras (1993-98).

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