Novak Djokovic and tennis history is a bond that truly cannot be separated. The Serb wrote his name in the history books once again on Sunday, this time by equalling Roger Federer’s record of six ATP Finals titles.
Djokovic beat Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 in the summit clash to achieve this feat. While the scoreline suggests it was a walk in the park, fans will note that he seemed physically flustered during the first set.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion has looked physically compromised in several instances at this year’s ATP Finals, especially against Daniil Medvedev. As such, Djokovic was asked during his post-match press conference to explain how he motivates himself in light of his physical concerns.
In response, the 35-year-old highlighted that he only struggled against Medvedev and that his physios played a big hand in helping him recuperate.
“Well, I wouldn’t agree that all the matches I physically struggled. I mean, the first two matches were great. Straight-set wins against Tsitsipas and Rublev. Then I did struggle with the match with Medvedev. This was the toughest match of the week for me, no doubt,” he said.
“It was not easy to recover and to really be able to play well in the semis in less than 24 hours after that match, that thriller against Medvedev. What can I say? I have a great physio. I have a great team. I have routines that work for me very well, I feel like, in terms of recovery,” he added.
The Serb strongly believes that humans are only limited by themselves and that if we set our minds to it, we can surmount every odd that we face.
“I think most of all it’s what you tell to yourself. We talked about it. I think someone asked me after the Medvedev thriller, Where is the limit? I really feel that limit often times exists only in your mind and your perspective,” he explained.
“It’s an internal battle with myself because there’s one voice that is always telling you you can’t do it, you’re too tired, this and that, right? The bad guy and the good guy. You try to feed the good guy so he can become louder and stronger than the bad guy. It’s as simple as that,” the Serb continued.
He did, however, admit that achieving full control over your mind, especially in difficult moments, is easier said than done. Djokovic explained that everyone needs a particular motivational element in their lives that galvanizes them in every situation.
“Much easier to say it than to actually do it. In those moments where you have pain, this or that, you don’t feel maybe like standing up in the morning, whatever it is, there has to be something, whatever it is for all of us, that gets us up from the bed. It’s the heart, it’s the mind, whatever the life force or the fuel is for you,” he continued.
The former World No. 1 stated that he is driven by his love for tennis and the innate desire to create history. He has never been one to stay quiet about his goals and ambitions in the sport and he echoed the same during his press conference.
“For me it’s still the hunger that someone asked me about. It’s love for the game, no doubt. Passion. I love the game. I said it already. Of course, making history of the tennis sport, which of course is my favorite sport, the sport that has given me so much privileges in life and benefits. Why not try it? Why not dream about it?” Djokovic stated.
“I have no problem to verbalize that I have biggest goals, that I want to be the best, that I want to win every tournament. I don’t think that’s not humble, I just feel it’s important to respect everyone in the game but still be confident with yourself. I don’t see anything bad in that,” he concluded.
“I think the first win in 2008 against Davydenko in Shanghai” – Novak Djokovic picks the toughest of his six ATP Finals titles
During the press conference, it was pointed out to Novak Djokovic that he won his first ATP Finals title in seven years on Sunday. On that note, he was asked which of his six season-ending championships was the hardest to win.
Explaining how difficult it is to gauge and recall the difficulty in winning the titles, the Serb stated that his maiden title in 2008, where he defeated Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 7-5 in the final, stands as the most special one.
“Well, it’s been a while since the last trophy. Seven years, as you mentioned. I have a pretty good memory with my matches, all the things that I’ve achieved on the court. Maybe I can’t recall exactly which win of this trophy and the tournament was the toughest one. I think each victory’s unique and particular in its own way,” Djokovic said.
“I think the first win in 2008 against Davydenko in Shanghai. The first one is always the most special one, of course. So I probably would pick that one,” he added.