Another title would equal Roger Federer's record of six. "I just feel a lot more stable throughout the year".
However, Djokovic acknowledged Murray is deserving of pole position at present and poses a significant threat to his ambitions. If he wins two group stage matches and takes the title, he will be the year-end No. 1.
Djokovic, whose grip on men's tennis has been prised loose since he won the French Open in June, seized on a Thiem wobble to run away with the second set in 23 minutes.
The second-ranked Serb, who has a chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking at the O2 Arena next weekend, won nine of 10 games after losing the first set in a tiebreaker.
"But with the Wimbledon title and Olympic gold behind him, he perhaps reset himself after the US Open and just said, 'It's available and I'm going to go for it'".
Also in the Ivan Lendl group was Milos Raonic at the bottom of your screen serving to Gael Monfils, the Canadian comes to the net, when the Frenchman decides to go between his legs with the return, but Raonic takes the point en route to winning the set 6-3. Oh, what pressure does to a player.
Djokovic, who could still end the year as world number one by doing better than new top dog Andy Murray, had looked reasonably comfortable, if a little flat, before Thiem upped the pace to take the opener.
The victor came through with 22 winners, and 25 unforced errors.
It flew into the stands, but, fortunately for Djokovic, who received a warning, did not hit anyone in the sell-out crowd.
"It was definitely not easy. I just hope that I can continue with my good form". "The tiebreak was deservedly won by him". "I had made a great comeback, saving six or seven set points, and then when I didn't manage to win that first set, of course you're frustrated", he said".
Djokovic agrees, saying: "I have only words of praise for what he has achieved in the a year ago or so". "After that I knew it would be crucial for me to start with a break at the start of the second set, which I did".
I like the over 21.5 games in this one at around [1.9] and hopefully Cilic will spring the first surprise of the tournament too. I played almost perfectly, but Since Wimbledon it's not been so great'.
However, the tournament rookie will have been encouraged by the 12-time major champion's struggles since becoming the eighth player to claim a career grand slam at Roland Garros - and those issues were prevalent in the opening set. "He put on a great effort, the first set was played on a very high level from the first point".
After missing a break point in the second game of the third set of that 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 win against Tomas Berdych, Djokovic went to smash his racket into the dirt, only to see it slip out of his hand and fly into the back wall on Philippe Chatrier Court.
Djokovic opens proceedings with a match against Dominic Thiem on Sunday.