Djokovic Makes History by Winning the Nitto ATP Finals
At the year-end event, Serbian equals Federer’s record of six titles.
Novak Djokovic won his sixth Nitto ATP Finals title and a historic $4.7 million payday in Turin on Sunday, defeating Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3.
In a match between this week’s two round-robin winners, Djokovic’s high-level return game proved decisive, as he carved out all five break point opportunities. Despite some strong hitting from Ruud, Djokovic’s big-match mentality prevailed as he won in 93 minutes at the Pala Alpitour.
“I missed a couple of forehands while serving in the last game, “Djokovic said following his victory. “I was nervous, but I am grateful to have been able to serve the match out. To finish, I had a big ace. Seven years [since winning this title] has passed. At the same time, the fact that I waited seven years makes this victory all the more sweet and significant.”
Djokovic has now won the Nitto ATP Finals in three different cities, having previously won in Rome, Wimbledon, Tel Aviv, and Astana. Serbians won in Shanghai in 2008 and London in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The 35-year-old also becomes the tournament’s oldest champion in its 53-year history.
Djokovic is five years older than Roger Federer, who won the Nitto ATP Finals in 2011. The Serbian has now won the season finale trophy in three different decades, demonstrating his longevity and ability to consistently compete against the best.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I still have a huge hunger to win trophies,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference. “Make history in this sport, compete at the highest level all over the world, and bring joy to sports fans and tennis fans.” That is what motivates me the most.
“I have a lot of different motivators, and I’m not lacking in motivation right now.” Of course, everyone has bad days or weeks. However, the overall impression remains.”
Number of Nitto ATP Finals Titles
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Djokovic was pleased with how he finished the victory against Ruud, improving to 18-1 across his four final tour-level events of the 2022 season to win his 91st tour-level trophy.
“It’s finals time. “These kinds of matches are usually decided by razor-thin margins,” the Serbian said after the game. “In both sets, one serve break was sufficient. Casper was playing exceptionally well when I arrived for this match. We both served extremely well, and I believe that in some crucial moments, such as the 12th game of the first set, I was able to put a few returns back into play.
“I forced him to run and play. I was very pleased with how I performed. I
Ruud was the first Scandinavian since Sweden’s Stefan Edberg to compete in a Nitto ATP Finals championship match. Despite his defeat on Sunday, the Norwegian will finish the season ranked third in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
“Another year on the ATP Tour has passed for my team, “he said during the trophy ceremony “Thank you to everyone who supports and encourages me on a daily basis; it would not be possible without you. It’s been a year of many highs, including some really big ones. Of course, there are some lows. “I’m already looking forward to the next season.”
Both players picked up where they left off in the championship match in Turin, where they hit confidently through their groundstrokes to try to pressure their opponent in some riveting early exchanges, after winning straight-set semi-finals on Saturday. Djokovic, on the other hand, remained the greater threat on return, and despite squandering two break point opportunities in the second game and another in the eighth, he made a decisive move at 6-5 to seal a set in which he hit 14 winners, including six aces.
Despite a similarly tight start to the second set, Djokovic broke through on Ruud’s serve in the fourth game, landing groundstrokes near the baseline repeatedly. Ruud was unable to dominate rallies with his forehand as Djokovic remained confident on serve to claim victory, striking 31 winners to his opponent’s 17.
Ruud has put in some impressive performances on the big stage in 2022. In addition to winning titles in Buenos Aires, Geneva, and Gstaad, the 23-year-old made his first two Grand Slam finals at Roland Garros and the US Open, as well as his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami. However, he was unable to break through Djokovic’s rock-solid defense in Turin, where the Serbian also won 85% (33/39) of points off his first serve.
On Sunday, another piece of ATP Tour history was written. Chair umpire Aurelie Tourte became the first woman to officiate the Nitto ATP Finals singles final since the tournament’s inception in 1970.