Novak Djokovic’s relentless desire for tennis perfection is pushing him to a consistently brilliant level, one which proved far too high for Andy Murray on Sunday.
The Serbian world No. 1 made light work of Murray in the Paris Masters final, beating the second-seeded Briton 6-2, 6-4 for his 10th title of an outstanding year that now includes a record six Masters titles to add to his three Grand Slam wins.
With 10 titles this year, he is four ahead of Roger Federer. Djokovic has now won 26 Masters events altogether, two more than Federer and one behind leader Rafael Nadal.
“If you are going for the perfection, you might reach excellence,” the 10-time Grand Slam champion said after dispatching Murray in 1 hour, 33 minutes. “That’s the kind of mind-set I have.”
The only major he did not win this year was the French Open, losing the final to Stan Wawrinka, and it remains the only big trophy missing in his fast-growing collection of 58 career titles.
Chasing success at Roland Garros, and the quest to win all four Grand Slams in one year, means his motivation level is set to remain undiminished next year.
“I take nothing for granted. I try to work on that all the time, because I know that is the only way I’m managing to stay successful,” the 28-year-old said after playing in his 14th straight tournament final this year.
In winning his third straight Paris Masters title, Djokovic clinched a fourth overall — surpassing his own coach Boris Becker’s tally to set another record — but wondered how much further he could go.
“I think in terms of physical and mental ability I have reached my peak,” said Djokovic, who has reached finals in all but one tournament this year.
Djokovic extended his winning streak to 22 matches and will be the favorite to win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals for the fourth straight time when that tournament starts in London on Sunday.
“There is no reason for me to decrease the pace,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully, I can finish off the season with another great win.”
Despite dropping only one set on the way to the final, two-time Grand Slam champion Murray simply could not compete.
“It’s been an incredible year for him, well done,” Murray said.
Serving for the match, Djokovic clenched his fist and yelled when Murray’s return landed out, giving him match point. When Murray’s aggressive two-handed backhand went wide, he turned and blew a kiss to Becker and other members of his team.
In their 30th career meeting, Djokovic improved to 21-9 against Murray, who beat the Serb in the 2013 Wimbledon final. Since then, Djokovic has won 10 of their 11 encounters. His only loss during that spell was in August, when Murray beat him in the Rogers Cup final in Montreal.
“Since the beginning of last year my results against him and Roger [Federer] haven’t been good enough,” Murray said. “I need to think about why that is and what I can do to turn it around.”
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