Novak Djokovic has made it clear that he will do everything in his power to stop Andy Murray from dethroning him as the top-ranked player in the world.
Murray has been in red-hot form as of late and is within touching distance of Djokovic on the rankings after triumphing at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna on Sunday.
Djokovic, meanwhile, has endured a dismal run of form since tasting victory at Roland Garros in June, winning just one title at the Rogers Cup. The Serb had an opportunity to claim his third grand slam title of the year at the US Open, but came up short as he lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final.
Murray has a chance of overtaking the reigning world number one at the Paris Masters this week if he reaches the final and Djokovic crashes out before the semi-finals. Djokovic, though, is determined to ensure that does not happen.
"It makes me want to go on court and fight for every point because there is something to win at the end," he said. "I have been in these particular situations before in terms of ranking, so I know what to do, and I just keep things very simple."
Djokovic admitted that he was fatigued after winning Roland Garros, but is in a better place mentally heading into the Paris Masters.
"Winning the French Open this year has brought a lot of joy to me but on the other hand has taken away a lot from me, as well," he said. "I felt a little bit exhausted, I must say, and maybe less motivated. So I had to kind of rediscover that feeling of being on the court and keep pushing myself.
"I guess it took a little bit of time, more time, and I'm in a better state of mind at the moment than I was some months ago."
Speaking about Murray, Djokovic conceded that the Scot has been in sensational form as of late as he has won 52 of his last 56 matches. Furthermore, he has captured seven titles this season, including the coveted Wimbledon crown and a gold medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"You've got to give him credit for what he's done in the last three or four months – the second part of the year is quite incredible," the Serb said. "He's playing maybe the best tennis he's ever played, very consistent, very strong. He definitely deserves to be in the position of being number one at the end of the year. But that doesn't just depend on him."