Following his victory in the opening match of the ATP Finals, which secured his ranking as the year’s top player, Novak Djokovic acknowledged that he wasn’t quite mentally there.
In the run-up to the ATP Finals, Djokovic was quite transparent about his objectives for the remainder of the season. His main goal was to secure the year-end No. 1 spot, which he did after defeating Holger Rune in the opening match, rather than winning the event.
The ATP Finals trophy appeared to be secondary, albeit the Davis Cup, which is in a few days, is the second important objective. Though it wasn’t a top priority, he eventually made it to the semi-final and won it by defeating Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner in back-to-back sets.
He also acknowledged that, compared to these last two matches, he had been mentally tuning out a little, which was evident in the round-robin encounter versus Sinner.
Obviously what Goran was referring to is probably after I clinched the year No. 1 with the first win over Rune, I was not mentally present I think fully in the tournament. After that I was like, yeah, kind of half in, half out feeling. That reflected on my level of tennis and my performance and the way I felt on the court.
Playing against these talented young players in the semi-final helped him refocus, and it was evident on the court once more. He won the competition with ease, defeating both of them thanks to a focused attempt to do better than previously.
Obviously thanks to Sinner for allowing me to be in the semifinals when I was there. I thought now, okay, I’m going to try and step it up. And I did. I played two really high-level matches. I think the match against Alcaraz last night and the one tonight, probably two best matches under the circumstances that I’ve played this season against two players that are in fantastic form.