Novak Djokovic has claimed his seventh ATP Finals title and relegated Roger Federer into second place on the ‘Title leaders’ board of the event as he continues his personal drive to break and set new record in the sport.
I think today he played really, really good, especially in the back of the court,, But I think today I was not that sharp in certain moments. I felt like also that I dropped this little bit physically. When you drop a little bit against the best player in the world, he makes it look like it’s a big difference. Jannik Sinner
It also highlights the problem which the New Generation’ of players is having to face, as, at 36-years of age – he is the oldest player to have won the title, and he has done now done it twice – he looks set to be around for a few more years!
However, there are a few who are giving him trouble, namely Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner who have all been able to push him hard and, on some occasions, even score a win over the Serbian world No.1,
Sinner had another chance in the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday which he reached unbeaten during the week and included a win over Djokovic, but, despite the support of the home crowd, he lasted one-hour, 43-minutes before capitulating 6-3 6-3 to a very focused and experienced opponent.
“To crown it with a win against a hometown hero in Jannik, who has played amazing tennis this week, is phenomenal,” Djokovic admitted after bringing the 54th edition of the prestigious event to a close for another year.
“I’m very proud of the performances these past two days against Alcaraz and Sinner, probably the best two players in the world next to me and Medvedev at the moment — and the way they have been playing, I had to step it up.
“I had to win the matches and not wait for them to hand me the victory and that’s what I’ve done. I think I played different tactically than I did in the group stage against Jannik, and just overall it was a phenomenal week.”
Djokovic kept errors low and moving well, his experience was evident as his anticipation showed throughout the encounter, breezing through his service games with great accuracy.
Sinner, who had only been broken twice in four matches and playing to make Italian tennis history – no player from his country had ever won the event, least of all qualified for it – just couldn’t find an answer which was exemplified by the 22-year-old double-faulting on match point.
“I started very aggressively tonight against Jannik, which was the different to the group stage match we had against each other,” Djokovic said. “I think that match helped me prepare myself better for the atmosphere, the crowd. Obviously, I analysed the match and I looked (at) what I could have done better. I think I’ve done it very well for the entire match.”
But Djokovic, ironically, has Sinner to thank for the opportunity to play the knockout stage for he wouldn’t have progressed into the semi-finals if the Italian had lost his last group match, a point Goran Ivanisevic, the Serb’s coach, acknowledged.
“I have to thank Jannik a little bit that he gave us a little help and push for him to be in the semi-finals. But I knew as soon as he got into the semi-final, he’s going to win the tournament,” Ivanisevic said. “The mentality changed. The new Novak Djokovic arrived on the court from Saturday. When real Novak Djokovic arrives on the court, then the moment is nobody that can play with him.”
Sinner no doubt did his best but wasn’t allowed to bring his ‘A’ game onto the court.
“I think today he played really, really good, especially in the back of the court,” Sinner said later. “But I think today I was not that sharp in certain moments. I felt like also that I dropped this little bit physically. When you drop a little bit against the best player in the world, he makes it look like it’s a big difference.”