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Djokovic Seeks Repeat of 2011 Season

Shanghai, China

Djokovic© Getty ImagesDjokovic is defending champion this week in Shanghai

Back as defending champion and top seed of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Novak Djokovic isn't downbeat about falling to World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

In fact, the six-time Grand Slam champion is hoping to repeat his career-best 2011 season, which saw him amass 10 titles including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, and build a match record of 70-6.

"I am aware of the fact that the 2011 season will be very difficult to repeat but knowing that I have done something like that, knowing that I've lost only few matches in a whole year, gives me a lot of confidence and also belief that I can do it again," said the 26-year-old Serb. "I always expect for myself a lot, always have the highest possible ambitions. Every year brings something different.  It's not possible to always be at your best,to win most of the tournaments that you play."

The right-hander said he has put his US Open loss to rival Rafael Nadal last month, behind him. "I'm [in] a good place right now.  Something that makes me very happy is that I managed to kind of regroup and mentally find my concentration and determination after the US Open final loss against Nadal," said Djokovic, adding that he enjoyed his victory over Nadal in Beijing on Sunday which saw him capture the China Open, his first title since Monte Carlo in April. 

Djokovic paid tribute to Nadal's ascension to World No. 1. "The rankings are there for a reason... He has been playing some fantastic tennis since his comeback, and he deserves to be No. 1, definitely he's the most successful player [so far] this year."

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"I can affect only what I can affect, and that is to play the best tennis that I possibly can in the moment and to try to take one tournament at a time," said the recently-engaged Serb. "If I continue performing the way I was in Beijing, I think the results will follow."

Djokovic credited World No. 7 Roger Federer, describing the Swiss great as "always dangerous." "To play against him on any surface is always very unpredictable really.  If he's on that day, we all know what he's capable of," he said of the 17-time Grand Slam champion. 

The Belgrade native said he believes the future of Chinese tennis is bright. "There has to be a certain system of how they will intend [to] develop those players and talents, like many other countries [and] only in that way, can you develop some kind of a tradition or strong base for tennis in this country."

Djokovic said he practises with Chinese players when he plays tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai, and has discovered they have an underlying professionalism, commitment and dedication. 

"[They require] persistency, mental strength,[the] ability to travel all around the world [and] play well on different surfaces.  China is quite far from Europe, America [and] in those two continents you have the most tennis tournaments," observed Djokovic.  

"It's a very requiring and demanding sport but there is a potential... I see it."

Djokovic faces Marcel Granollers in his opening round, having received a first-round-bye. 

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