SERBIAN star Novak Djokovic has equalled Roger Federer‘s six ATP Finals titles after defeating Casper Ruud in the decider overnight. The Turin final earned Djokovic $4.7 million USD with the 21-time Grand Slam winner defeating the Norwegian in straight sets, 7-5 6-3.
The seventh seed cruised through the tournament undefeated, and though he was challenged at times, overcame one of the ATP Tour’s most improved players in 2022. Ruud made him earn it in the first set, before Djokovic broke clear in the final two games, then was able to play discipled, consistent tennis in the second to triumph in 93 minutes.
“I missed a couple of forehands in the last game when I was serving for it,” Djokovic said post-match. “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.”
Djokovic served nine aces and won 85 and 69 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 71 per cent clip, without producing any double faults. Ruud was fairly strong across the board too, serving six aces and winning 78 per cent off his first serve points off a 70 per cent efficiency. Though he was strong off his first serve, the Norwegian struggled off his second (35 per cent efficiency), with Ruud broken twice and not able to set up a break point for himself.
Though now 35, Djokovic said he had no plans on stopping just yet with his love for tennis growing strong. The Serbian has 91 career titles under his belt, and added five more in 2022 with a year-to-date win-loss record of 37-7.
“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,” Djokovic said. “Make history of this sport, compete on the highest level all around the world, bring good emotions to sports fans, tennis fans. That’s what drives me a lot.
“I have a lot of different motivational factors, and I don’t lack any motivation for the moment. Of course, we all have bad days or bad weeks. But generally the feel is still there.”
Djokovic’s finish to the season was outstanding, with a loss to Holger Rune in the Paris Masters final the only blemish in his final 19 matches. The seventh seed in Turin said he knew it would be a fight against Ruud, but was pleased he could deliver.
”It is finals. Usually these kind of matches are decided by very small margins,” Djokovic said. “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.
”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.”