Novak Djokovic collected his third career ATP Finals titles with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over rival Rafael Nadal earlier today in London.
Both players entered this their 39th meeting and the final undefeated but it was Djokovic denying Nadal a first ATP Finals title with a resounding triumph.
With 17,000 watching in the O2, Djokovic smacked 19 winners to Nadal’s just nine, and seemed unconcerned by the Spaniard’s heavy groudstrokes which have confounded so many.
“We push each other to the limit [and] we make each other better,” said Djokovic who wins his 17th career match against Nadal to 22 losses. “We make each other work harder on our games, especially when we play against each other. It’s always a huge challenge.
“This can serve as a great platform for 2014 season. I’m extra motivated and inspired to work and get myself, first of all, rested and recovered in the off season, and then work on my game and get ready for Australian Open.”
Nadal had won two of three against Djokovic at the event, but today never really was in the match in part due to several double faults and a shaky backhand. He did mount a late charge at the end, pushing Djokovic, however it was a little too late.
“One thing that made the difference in today’s match was the serve,” said Nadal. “I didn’t serve well, he served well. On this kind of court, the first shot is very important and he hit that first shot much better than me.
“I think at the beginning he was playing much better than me. The first three games, no doubt. Even the fourth…After that I didn’t see that difference. I felt I was playing aggressively, going for the shots. I had the control of the points a lot of times with my forehand after the [first] three games.”
The win gave Djokovic $1,923,000 in prize money and 1,500 Rankings points while 27-year-old Nadal took home $1,013,000 and 1,000 points as he dropped to a 10-4 record in finals this year.
Nadal is guaranteed of finishing No. 1 but Novak’s win puts him in position to potentially pass Nadal in March if not sooner.
Despite the loss, Nadal ends what was arguably his best season finishing at the top spot with 10 titles including the French and the US Opens after serious doubt when he returned in February.
“Is very special what happened this year,” said Nadal who missed the tournament last year. “For me, the emotions of this year after a tough year for all of us have been fantastic. And certainly is the day to say congratulations and thanks to all the people who were behind me supporting me, let me work in the days that I was down. So just thanks to all of them to give me the opportunity to be back where I am.”
Nadal says he’ll now go to Necker Island for an exo with Richard Branson before flying to South America for more exos. He plans to return to Spain on November 26.
For Djokovic, he’ll look to continue his 22 match winning streak next weekend in the Davis Cup final in Belgrade against the Czechs. And then ride the wave to next season.
“Well, next to the run that I had in 2011, this is definitely the second best I’ve had,” the Serb said of his streak. “Just for me, the most positive thing that I can take from this two and a half months is the fact that I managed to regroup after a few big losses after Nadal, especially Roland Garros, US Open final and Wimbledon final.
“This can serve as a great platform for 2014 season. I’m extra motivated and inspired to work and get myself, first of all, rested and recovered in the off‑season, and then work on my game and get ready for Australian Open.”
In the doubles final, No. 6 seeded Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco defeat World No. 1 and three-time season finale champions Bob and Mike Bryan 7-5, 6-7(3), 10-7 in their first year-end championship. Marrero and Verdasco are the second straight Spanish team to win the season finale title after Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez last year and third overall (Juan Gisbert-Manuel Orantes in 1975).
“It was a special victory… You don’t win a tournament like this every day,” Verdasco said. “I am really going to try to enjoy it. I think it’s the best way to go on holidays. Then try to work hard for next season to be competitive and try to fight for the big tournaments.”
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