Novak Djokovic made more history on Sunday when he captured a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown in Turin. Following his straight-sets victory against Casper Ruud, the Serbian revealed that the fire within him burns as bright as ever.
“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 in his post-match press conference. “[To] make history in 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 feeling is still there.”
The 35-year-old, who is up to No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, dropped just one set en route to the title in Turin to become an undefeated champion. Djokovic admitted that he felt close to his best at the prestigious year-end event, leaving northern Italy high in confidence.
“I always see myself as the best player in the world,” Djokovic said. “I have that kind of mentality and that kind of approach. Regardless of who is across the net, regardless of what the surface is, regardless of what season it is, what number of the professional season in my career we’re facing. It’s always the same. The ambitions are as high as possible.
“I had an amazing finish to the season with most of the tournaments that I played indoors I won,” Djokovic later added. “Indoors has been historically very successful for me. Playing in Italy, in a country where I love to play, where [I] have really special connection with people, makes this trophy and this win even more special.”
Djokovic’s victory against Ruud, which tied him level with Roger Federer on six year-end titles won, felt extra special for the Serbian with his family watching courtside. The 91-time tour-level champion has relished the opportunity to spend time with his son Stefan and daughter Tara this week in Turin and feels that their presence was crucial to his on-court success.
“I’m very grateful to my wife and my children for coming. I don’t get to have these moments on the Tour with them so much, so I of course try to enjoy it as much as I possibly can,” Djokovic said. “I took both of my children, particularly my son, to a lot of the tennis training sessions, warmups and matches. He was very loud [during the final]. I was very surprised. I could hear his voice the entire time. He was very much into it.
“They make my life on Tour easier. The pressures, the expectations, the tensions that you normally go through in a big tournament like this, when they’re around, it lowers a bit so I can have that time off, quality time with my family. That really soothes me and gives me serenity in order to recalibrate and play my best tennis the next day. I cherish these moments a lot. Hopefully, as they grow older, they’ll realise even more what special moments we’re living together.”
Djokovic ends his season holding a 42-7 record. The Serbian lifted ATP Tour titles in Rome, Astana and Tel Aviv, while he won his 21st Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon.