Novak Djokovic has made tennis history at the ATP Finals in Turin, equalling Roger Federer’s record with a sixth title at the year-ending tournament.
Djokovic beat third-seed Casper Ruud 7-5 6-3 on Sunday to secure his first title at the event since 2015 and match Federer’s mark.
Djokovic became the oldest champion at the prestigious year-end tournament and also earned the largest payday in tennis history as he walked away with US$4,7 million for claiming the ATP Finals trophy undefeated, capping a fantastic finish to the season for the Serb.
It was Ruud’s fourth defeat in a major championship match this year after also losing finals at Miami, Roland Garros and the US Open. The Norwegian has never won a set against Djokovic in four meetings.
The 35-year-old Djokovic, who had lost his two previous finals at the event, raised his arms in triumph and smiled broadly after sealing the match with an ace.
He then embraced his young children at the side of the court in beautiful scenes that had tennis fans gushing.
Djokovic started strongly in Turin and had two break points in Ruud’s very first service game.
The Norwegian managed to recover although he was also forced to save another break point in the eighth game.
Djokovic finally broke Ruud’s serve at the fourth time of asking.
And it was at a crucial moment, on set point, and the Serbian ecstatically pumped his fist in the air after Ruud sent a backhand long.
The seventh-seeded Djokovic broke again in the fourth game of the second set and there was no way back for Ruud.
“It’s finals, usually these kind of matches are decided by very small margins and one break of serve was enough in both sets,” Djokovic said afterwards.
“I knew Casper was playing really well coming into this match. I think we both served very well. I think in some decisive moments, like the 12th game of the first
set, I just managed to put a few returns back in play, (to) make him run and make him
“I was really pleased with the way I was playing from the back of the court, particularly the forehand was looking to be really aggressive and it worked great, I am really pleased with the performance.”
Tennis fans erupt over Novak Djokovic moment with family
Djokovic added: “A lot of nerves, particularly in that 30-all point, that was the longest rally of the match.
As I said, you’ve got to stay focused the entire match, every single point. Momentum can shift to the other side very quickly.
“Seven years, it’s been a long time, but at the same time this — the fact that I waited seven years — makes this victory even sweeter and even bigger.”
Djokovic ends the year with an 18-1 record after winning trophies in Tel Aviv and Astana before reaching the Paris Masters final. His five titles this season also include triumphs at Wimbledon and in Rome.
A remarkable year for the 21-time grand slam champion will be all the more memorable considering a tumultuous start to 2022 when he was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status.
He was also forced to miss the entire American hard-court swing (including the US Open) for the same reasons.
The sight of Djokovic embracing his young family after his triumph sent tennis fans into meltdown. — Yahoo Sport