It didn’t end the way he would have wanted, but despite the loss to Alexander Zverev in the ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic was still very pleased with his 2018 campaign.
And he should be. The Serb ranked down at No. 22 just in June, yet played his way back to No. 1 and lost just three matches in total (35-3, losses to youngsters) since the start of Wimbledon.
“Of course, finishing the year as No. 1, that was the goal coming into the indoor season. I managed to achieve that,” said Djokovic who began the year 6-6.
“Overall it was a phenomenal season that I have to be definitely very proud of.
He still points to one of the major keys to his recent run was a hiking trip after the French Open.
“I always believe in myself. Really, as I said before many times, I kind of also expect myself to do very well,” he said.
“But at the same time I would sign it right away if someone told me because at that time it was also looking quite improbable that that’s going to happen considering where I was ranking-wise and also game-wise. I wasn’t playing even close to where I wanted to be at in terms of level of tennis.”
It’s also remarkable that he underwent elbow surgery after the Australian Open, yet he managed to finish on top for a fifth time in his career.
“When I went on the table for surgery, I knew it was going to be a different season because it never happen,” Djokovic said. “Whatever the outcome in the end of the year, I knew that I’m going to learn a lot from this season.
“Fortunately for me, it ended up in the best possible way. Yeah, I’m just grateful.”
Djokovic didn’t reveal much as far as his off season players, but after an incredible second half of the year, he’ll cherish the break.
“Not much tennis,” he said looking at the rest of the month. “After that, obviously starting to build and slowly prepare myself for the new season. Obviously we don’t have so much time in tennis in the off-season to have a proper preparation. But we have what we have. Try to make the most out of it.
“Obviously do a lot of fitness training at the beginning, then slowly increase the tennis. Obviously having a Grand Slam so early in the season makes us train probably very hard and be kind of aware that we have to be at our best in the first week of the year. The first slam is there in January.
“I’ve had most success in my life, in my career, in Australia out of all four slams. Hopefully I can keep that going.”
And Djokovic will return in Australia as the top seed for a fifth time in January.
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