Djokovic began 2022 in the worst possible way getting deported from Australia. But the Serb finished on top in his own way winning his sixth ATP Finals title trouncing Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 Sunday in Turin.
The win puts Djokovic even with Roger Federer for the all-time record at six ATP Finals. It was also his first crown at the event since 2015. And at 35, he’s the oldest winner in tournament history and in three different decades.
“I missed a couple of forehands in the last game when I was serving for it,” Djokovic said after his 91st career title. “I had nerves, but I am really grateful to be able to serve the match out. I had a big ace to close out. Seven years has been a long time. At the same time, the fact that I waited seven years makes this victory even sweeter and even bigger.”
Djokovic improves to 4-0 against Ruud and 8-0 in sets.
“One break of serve was enough in both sets. I knew Casper was playing really well coming into this match. We both served really well and I think in some decisive moments, like the 12th game of the first set, I managed to put a few returns back in play,” added Djokovic who lost just six points on first serve.
”I made him run, made him play. I was really pleased with the way I played. I was looking to be very aggressive and it worked great. I am really pleased with the performance.”
Ruud was appearing in his first ATP Finals title match, and finishes the year with runner-ups at two Slams and also Turin.
“In the end it’s been disappointing to end up losing these big finals,” Ruud said. “Overall, if you gave me an offer to end the year at No. 3, play the finals that I’ve played, at the 1st of January this year, I would probably sign the contract right away. No doubt about it.”
One thing Ruud shook was the label of a clay court player. The Norwegian made the US Open finals and made the championship match in Turin.
“This result to me is maybe one of the most surprising, finishing the year here on a blistering fast indoor hard court, making the final, not something that I found very likely,” Ruud said. “Maybe neither did I, in the US Open, to make the final.
“I’ve overachieved compared to my own mind, so I’m very happy about that.”
Djokovic finished winning 18 of his last 19 matches and will finish No. 5 but next year. He will have plenty of points coming his way with Australia (Ruud also missed the Australian) and potentially Indian Wells and Miami.
“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,” said Djokovic. “Make history of 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 feel is still there.”
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