On Sunday, Novak Djokovic capped off his incredible year by lifting his 7th ATP Finals title, cementing as the most successful player ever.
Novak wins 7th ATP Finals title
After a slow start to the final tournament of the year, the Serb saved his best tennis for his last match of the year, defeating Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 to deny the Italian a home-crowd victory.
Sinner had already beaten Djokovic in group-stages, and was looking for his second win over the world number 1 in the space of five days.
In the final, Djokovic put a stop to any suggestion of that almost immediately, serving to perfection and keeping the pressure on the young Italian.
Unlike in their group-stage match, Sinner couldn’t get a foothold in the final. I think it was partly down to nerves but also the brilliance of Djokovic.
The Serb upped the ante on the speed of his forehand, cracking a string of returns and winners straight past Sinner.
The Italian could only stop and stare in amazement at the sheer brilliance of Djokovic’s ball-striking.
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What could Sinner have done differently?
What could have Sinner done differently to win this match? Well firstly, he needed to play his best tennis to stand any chance in this match.
In his group-stage battle against Djokovic, Sinner was able to maintain his peak level throughout the match, and only just squeezed past the Serb in three extremely tight sets.
The major difference between this match and the final was that the Italian’s level of tennis was slightly under par. Unfortunately for Sinner, this is just not good enough against someone who gives you virtually no room for errors.
Sinner isn’t the only culprit who’s fallen victim to Djokovic’s brilliance in the past few months.
Since Novak’s Wimbledon final loss to Alcaraz, the Serb has entered four events and won them all.
His final opponent in all those events, Alcaraz, Medvedev and Dimitrov faced the same fate Sinner did; being able to play their best tennis leading up to the final but unable to replicate it against Djokovic.
What can we take away from this? The obvious correlation is that Djokovic is still levels above the rest of the field.
Djokovic is still ahead
Players like Medvedev and Alcaraz can match him physically and mentally for periods of time, but it’s Djokovic’s ability to repeat this consistently throughout matches which sets him apart.
Even at 36, Djokovic doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Now with 400 weeks at number 1 under his belt, the Serb turns his attention to 2024.
He’ll certainly be eyeing up the Olympic Gold medal in Paris, something which he surprisingly has yet won, and maybe another shot at the Grand Slam?
As for Sinner, outside of the majors, he’s had his best year yet. The Italian has won four titles, reached seven finals, racked up twelve top 10 wins and reached a career high of number 4 in the ATP rankings.
If Sinner can continue to this form heading into next year, he will certainly be a threat at all the major events.