While the COVID-19 emergency has taken centre stage after the tennis season shut down for five months, Novak Djokovic is keeping the race for all-time superiority firmly in mind.

The Serb had to work to win his opening match this week in the “Cincinnati” Masters event  being played in isolation in New York due to the virus.

Djokovic stands on 17 singles titles at the majors, trailing the 19 of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who leads the all-time list with 20.

“The (most titles) discussion will never go away,” Djokovic said. “Obviously things have changed in the way we are competing, the way we are restarting the season, no crowd in the stands, wearing masks all over the place. 

“But from the perspective of, you know, Roger, Rafa, myself and our race, it hasn’t changed much. (After all) only six months have passed.”

Djokovic did admit that playing a high-stakes Masters 1000 so close to the start of a major is unique.

“We are here in New York and a week away from a Grand Slam. (holder Nadal and Federer) are not here, but that doesn’t change my approach. 

“I still want to do well; I’m treating a Grand Slam as a Grand Slam, even though it’s played in completely different conditions.”

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