Turin: Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic earned a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals singles title win, beating Norway’s Casper Ruud in the summit clash. Djokovic defeated his opponent by 7-5, 6-3 to walk away with a historic payday of $4.7m. He has now equalled the record of Swiss legend Roger Federer, who has six ATP title wins. The Serbian’s high-quality return game proved to be a huge difference between both players.
He carved out all five break-point opportunities in the match. Ruud also hit strongly, but the ‘Big Match Djokovic’ was too good for him in this 93-minute battle for the title. “I missed a couple of forehands in the last game when I was serving for it,” Djokovic was quoted as saying by ATP after his win.
“I had nerves, but I am really grateful to be able to serve the match out. I had a big ace to close out. Seven years [since winning this title] has been a long time. At the same time, the fact that I waited seven years makes this victory even sweeter and even bigger,” he added. The Rome, Wimbledon, Tel Aviv and Astana champion now has ATP titles in three different cities.
He won the title in Shanghai back in 2008 and made London his stomping grounds with wins in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Now he has a title in Turin, Italy. He is also the oldest champion in history of the tournament. Him being able to lift the trophy in three different decades is proof of his longevity and ability to bring his elite game while competing against the very best in the game.
Djokovic is still hungry for big trophies. “I do not know what the future holds, but I know that what I hold in my mind is a huge hunger still to win trophies,” said Djokovic in his post-match press conference. “Make history of this sport, compete on the highest level all around the world, and bring good emotions to sports fans, tennis fans. That’s what drives me a lot,” he added.
“I have a lot of different motivational factors, and I do not lack any motivation for the moment. Of course, we all have bad days or bad weeks. But generally, the feel is still there,” he concluded. Djokovic lifted his 91st tour-level trophy and was extremely pleased with his win.
“It is finals. Usually, these kinds of matches are decided by very small margins. One break of serve was enough in both sets. I knew Casper was playing really well coming into this match. We both served really well and I think in some decisive moments, like the 12th game of the first set, I managed to put a few returns back in play,” said Djokovic.
“I made him run, made him play. I was really pleased with the way I played. I was looking to be very aggressive and it worked great. I am really pleased with the performance,” added the Serbian. Ruud was the first Scandinavian to contest in ATP Finals since Stefan Edberg of Sweden. Despite his loss, he will be finishing the year at number 3 in the ATP Rankings.
“To my team, another year has passed on the ATP Tour. Thank you to everyone who helps me and pushes me every day, Without you, it would not be possible. It has been a year of many highs, some really big highs. Of course, some lows. I look forward to the next season already,” said Ruud.
Ruud also delivered some fine performances, winning big in Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad. He reached the finals of Roland Garros and the US Open and played in an ATP Masters 1000 final as well in Miami.