Novak Djokovic says rival Andy Murray will deserve to become world number one spot, if he moves to the top of the rankings this weekend.
Djokovic’s defeat to Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters has given Murray a golden opportunity to ascend to the top of the pile for the first time in his career.
If Murray triumphs in his semi-final, then the British player will overtake Djokovic.
However, Djokovic was gracious after defeat to Cilic, despite his 122-week run as world number one teetering on the brink.
“If he gets it, which he is in a very good position to do that, he’s definitely a player who deserves that,” said Djokovic.
“Undoubtedly much respect for what he has done. To see how he has raised his level in the last 12 months is quite extraordinary.’
Ranking points totals on Monday November 7th:
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) November 4, 2016
Djokovic went down in straight sets to Cilic and admits he is still struggling with an arm injury which has been affecting him since Wimbledon.
He added: “Quick fixes are never good fixes. But as a professional athlete, you’re kind of used to having these particular circumstances where you need to just find a quick solution.
“Unfortunately yes, today was bothering me a little bit, especially with the serve. But again, it is what it is.
“I’m not the only one who goes through pain. Pain is part of the game.”