Novak Djokovic on Sunday said that winning a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title was a “deeply satisfying” ending to his troubled and truncated year.
The Serb beat Norwegian Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 in Turin to match Roger Federer’s record of six titles in the year-ending tournament for the top-ranked players.
The 35-year-old Serb, the oldest player to win the Finals, ended in style after a season in which he missed two majors because of his vaccine status.
“It feels deeply satisfying and, at the same time, a huge relief because of the circumstances that I have been through this year, situations earlier this year, of course, with Australia,” he said. “We don’t need to go back. We know what happened.”
In January, Djokovic was detained and deported from Australia over his refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and missed the Australian Open.
“That had an effect obviously on my start of the year,” he said. “For the first several months, I was trying to find that balance game-wise, but also mentally in order to be able to come back to the court and find that tennis level that I need.”
Djokovic was initially barred from returning to Australia before 2025, but earlier in the week the new government in Canberra said the nine-time Australian Open champion would be free to compete in January’s tournament.
“I don’t 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.
The win in Turin would lift him from eighth to fifth in Monday’s new rankings at the end of a season in which he also won Wimbledon. Carlos Alcaraz, who missed the finals injured, is No. 1.
“In my mind I always see myself as the best player in the world, of course,” he said. “I’m not. I’m fifth. This week I probably am. Overall the rankings are showing who had the best year, and Alcaraz is the No. 1 in the world.”
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