Djokovic: It’s not about the money
Originally published on: 10/11/11 10:11
Novak Djokovic has dismissed suggestions that his participation in the BNP Paribas Masters was in any way related to the $1.6 million bonus he will receive from the ATP for playing all but two of the nine Masters 1000 events.
Djokovic, who already skipped the Monte Carlo Masters event in April, would have earned $2million from the bonus pool had he competed in Shanghai last month, but would not have earned any of the bonus had he not turned up in Paris this week.
“It was really somehow funny for me to see how people are coming up with that story,” Djokovic told the assembled press in Paris.
“I even heard that I would get on the court and play a game just to get this money. I mean this is ridiculous. I want to play well here. I want to get as far as possible, and then London (for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals), which is the most important tournament in this part of the year for all of us.”
The 24-year-old Serb admitted to having shoulder pain last week at the Swiss Indoors Basel when he lost to Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals, but despite initially looking unlikely to play in Paris, he safely negotiated Ivan Dodig in straight sets in his opening match.
“I really wanted to come because I played at Basel a couple of matches, but I need more matches before London,” he said. “I’m definitely intending to finish the season strong. Maybe I’m physically paying for the long season that I had, and the unfortunate injury after the US Open, the Davis Cup and everything. I think everything is kind of catching up with me now.
“If I know that I’m physically good enough, in good condition to be competing, I will compete. If I don’t, I will not compete. It’s as simple as that.”
Djokovic, who has won three grand slam titles and five masters events this year, didn’t look entirely convincing in victory over world No.39 Dodig, but did enough to set up a third round encounter with compatriot Viktor Troicki.