Novak Djokovic put an exclamation point on his incredible 2015 season by beating rival Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 to win a record fourth straight ATP Finals title.
The Serb also avenged a loss to Federer Tuesday in the round robin, breaking Federer three times in masterful performance. He is also now tied with Federer 22-22 in their head-to-head.
“Against Roger it’s very specific,” said Djokovic who finishes 5-3 against Federer in 2015. “You need to adjust to the tactics because of his game. He plays very quickly. He likes things to happen fast. He takes away the time from his opponent. He has so much variety in his game with slice, comes to the net, great serve, forehand, one of the best ever. He’s very complete player. I know that he’s always going to push you hard and try to protect the baseline, take away the time from you, which he was doing also today.
“I think what I managed to do better than what I’ve done in the last match we played in the group stage here was the fact that I was more solid from back of the court. I served well when I needed to. I got myself out of trouble. I returned more balls back than I did five days ago. I think that helped me to get into the rally. I always try to make him play one extra shot.”
Both players enjoyed break points early in the match with Djokovic drawing first blood. And Federer was never really in the match again, only having two break points aginst Djokovic in total. Federer then double faulted on matchpoint to end the 80-minute affair.
Djokovic’s 5th ATP Finals win gives him a personal-best 11 total titles in 2015 and lifts him to 59 for his career. He was appearing in his 15th straight championship match.
“I’m obviously very proud to have these achievements with my team,” said Djokovic. “It’s been a long season, but the best of my life. Without their support and my family, I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m just trying to cherish every moment at this level. As a kid growing up, you dream to be at tournaments like this and fighting for the biggest trophies in sport.”
Federer showed some magic in the second, thrilling the crowd by remarkably recovering from a 0-40 service game, but overall pointed to his serve as an issue. He won just 9/21 second service points (42%) in the match.
“It would have been nice to serve a little bit better early on in the match, play better overall on his second serve, because he does allow you to play on his second serve,” said Federer. “Maybe at times I went for too much. The moments where I should have gone safe, I didn’t, and vice versa. Those are the two regrets I have.
“If I played the match again, that is what I would try to do different. Other than that, I thought it was a good match. It was close. First six games were tough, to be down 4-2. I had my chances to at least be even. But I thought he played well. Still high-quality match, I thought.”
The 34-year-old Federer was seeking a seventh ATP Finals title, first since 2011. He also just falls short of the year-end No. 2 ranking which now goes to Andy Murray.
“It is never fun on the not winning side, but it is better than not playing at all like last year,” Federer said. “This week was great, there were some crazy points tonight, but like plenty of times this year Novak deserved it.”
Djokovic ends 2015 with 11 titles, 6 Masters, 3 Slams and win loss records of 31-5 against Top 10s and 82-6 overall. He also becomes the first tennis player ever to eclipse the $20 million mark in prize money in a single season.
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