Murray's charge lights Novak's fuse
Novak Djokovic admits that Andy Murray's dramatic last-gasp assault on his world No1 ranking has rejuvenated a season that was limping into mediocrity for the 12-time major winner.
Djokovic has suffered a worrying dip in form since winning his first French Open and completing the career Grand Slam in June.
He had a shock early loss at Wimbledon followed by a first-round exit at the Olympics and a runner-up spot at the US Open.
But as the 29-year-old prepares to defend the Paris Masters title he has won for the past three years, he insists Murray's charge for the top has provided the fresh impetus he needs.
"It makes me want to go on court and fight for every point because there is something to win at the end," Djokovic said, adding he felt "rejuvenated and regenerated".
If Djokovic reaches next Sunday's final he will retain the top ranking he has held for 122 weeks straight no matter what Murray does in the French capital.
But if he fails to make the championship match, then Murray will become the No1 as long as the British star wins the title.
The 29-year-old Briton took a step closer to the top spot on Sunday by winning the Vienna ATP title.
"Andy is playing maybe the best tennis he's ever played. He definitely deserves to be in the position to finish up the year as No1. That doesn't depend only on him. It depends on me as well," said Djokovic.
"I know if I'm on the level I desire I can challenge anybody or beat anybody."