As the Rolex Shanghai Masters got under way, players spoke about the challenges of joining a very elite club of RSM champions. In the past eight editions, the winner’s circle contains only three names: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Some of the top players shared their thoughts on how they’re putting themselves into the best position to do well this week, including making adjustments to their training, finding respite off the court, and adjusting to the conditions.
To keep physically fresh, last year’s semifinalist Marin Cilic is tweaking his practice sessions. He said: “With last few weeks of the year, maybe I’m going to shorten the practices just to be a little bit more intensive but not going too far to drain the body too much.”
“There is no doubt that there is some, I think. fatigue… a little tired from the rest of the season, so I think that’s why it’s even more important to be very mentally dedicated,” Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson said. “And if you feel any frustrations, not really letting those build up, making sure that you sort of squash them as they come.”
Anderson, a guitar-playing outdoor enthusiast, cites having off-court interests as a way to keep mentally fresh.
“Coming to Shanghai, there is a lot of nice activities in the city and around the site. So that’s always good to take away from tennis a little bit,” he said. “I think it’s really important to find a good balance between being intense on the court but making sure off the court you’re keeping things pretty relaxed.”
Alexander Zverev, who has made the third round of the Rolex Shanghai Masters, says being fresh mentally and physically is crucial.
“We don’t really play here that much, so we only come here for two, three weeks a year,” Zverev explained, “so it’s a matter of adjusting to the time changes and things like that.”
Three-time Rolex Shanghai Masters champion Novak Djokovic arrives with plenty of motivation this week as he seeks to break the tie with Andy Murray to be the winningest champion in Shanghai.
A title here can also put him within touching distance of the No. 1 ranking.
“I really want to do well in every tournament I play on till the end of the year, first of all, out of respect for every tournament and I want to win as much as I can. At the same time, I want to give myself a good chance to be No. 1 in the end of the year,” Djokovic said.
More ominously for anyone who might stand in his way, Djokovic affirmed: “I will definitely play this tournament and any other after this as it’s a Grand Slam for me.”