Father's recovery gives Djokovic focus

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic celebrates after Tomas Berdych on day five of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Story highlights

  • Novak Djokovic reveals that his father's condition is steadily improving
  • Srdjan Djokovic was hospitalized at the start of last week before son lost in Paris
  • Serbian has bounced back on court this week in London, reaching ATP semifinals
  • U.S. Open champion Andy Murray also through to last four in season finale

Novak Djokovic has a smile on his face again -- and not just because of his perfect record at this week's ATP World Tour Finals.

At the start of last week, the Serbian tennis star was battling with the news that his father had been taken seriously ill.

It badly affected his preparations for the Paris Masters, and he lost his opening match.

Srdjan Djokovic was hospitalized with a reported acute respiratory condition, but his condition has since improved -- which has allowed his son to find focus for the $5.5 million season-ending event in London.

"Well, it was hard. It still is, but there is good news every day," said the world No. 1, who lost his grandfather in April just hours before playing a match in Monte Carlo.

"That makes me happier, makes me play more relaxed on the court. I switch off on the tennis court. I try to think only about the match and it's been working well so far.

World's best tennis players face off
World's best tennis players face off


    World's best tennis players face off


World's best tennis players face off 03:36
Novak Djokovic under the spotlight
Novak Djokovic under the spotlight


    Novak Djokovic under the spotlight


Novak Djokovic under the spotlight 02:33
Novak Djokovic: Sportsman of the year
Novak Djokovic: Sportsman of the year


    Novak Djokovic: Sportsman of the year


Novak Djokovic: Sportsman of the year 01:44

"Every win means a lot for my family and me. But there are more important things in life, and that's health. I guess that's the priority now."

Djokovic is through to the semifinals of the elite eight-man tournament following Friday's 6-2 7-6 (8-6) victory over sixth-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych, which gave him a 100% record in three Group A matches.

As he did in Wednesday's win over world No. 3 Andy Murray, Djokovic was forced to battle hard and he saved three set-points to prevent the match going to a decider.

"I played a really good match but I thought he served better towards the end of the second set. I was fortunate to come back and win in straight sets," said Djokovic, who ended Berdych's hopes of repeating last year's progress to the semifinals with his 11th win in their last 12 encounters.

It took him to 73 match victories this year, equaling the leading mark set by David Ferrer.

Djokovic won the tournament in 2008 its final staging in Shanghai, but last year failed to qualify out of a group including Berdych.

He ran out of steam following a breakthrough season in which he toppled Rafael Nadal from the No. 1 ranking and claimed three of the four grand slam titles.

Berdych will now look forward to next week's 100th Davis Cup final, where he will lead his country against Spain.

Murray also made it through to the last four in London, beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

The U.S. Open and Olympic champion needed only to win the first set to go through, following Berdych's defeat, and did so with few problems before Tsonga made a match of it.

Murray and Djokovic must wait for Saturday's Group B results before finding out who they will play on Sunday.

Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has already secured a semifinal place, but the result of his match against Juan Martin del Potro will decide who tops the group.

World No. 5 Ferrer -- who has a tour-leading seven titles this year -- can also go through if he beats Janko Tipsarevic and defending Federer wins his third successive match.


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.