Novak Djokovic is ending 2023 as he started it – as the undisputed king of men’s tennis.
After flirting with an early exit in the group stages of the ATP Finals in Turin following a defeat against local hero Jannik Sinner, Djokovic made the most of his reprieve as he turned on the afterburners to blow his rival away in their re-match.
If Djokovic looked off the pace in his opening group matches in Italy, he certainly peaked in time as he produced sensational performances to beat Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals and then he had way too much for Sinner in the final.
His 6-3 6-3 win was as comprehensive as they come, with Djokovic’s clean ball striking and relentless brilliance impossible to stop as Sinner crumbled under the pressure he applied.
Quite how Djokovic is still producing this level of brilliance at the age of 36 is a question only he can answer, but it seems he is being inspired by the presence of his young children at this stage of his remarkable career.
Son Stefan and daughter Tara were courtside to watch their legendary father seal a record-breaking seventh ATP Finals title, moving him one clear of Roger Federer in the all-time list for this end-of-season tournament.
And his children were the first he sent kisses to in the crowd after Sinner’s double fault at 5-3 in the second set handed him another stunning win.
“I always wanted to perform in front of them once they reached the age where they are aware of what’s going on,” said Djokovic as he appeared to get emotional taking about his children.
” I’m so grateful to be a father of these two wonderful angels. They give me strength no doubt.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 19, 2023
Djokovic also summed up his week in Turin, as he confirmed once again that no player in the game can touch him when he is at his best.
“Very special. One of the best seasons I’ve had in my life, no doubt,” he added.
“To crown it against a home town hero in Jannik [Sinner] this week is phenomenal.
“Tactically I played differently today than in the group stage [when he lost] against Jannik. Overall a phenomenal week.”
Sinner admitted he had no answer to Djokovic, as he gave his verdict on a match that was taken away from him by the master across the net.
“Congratulations to Novak for everything he has done this season. He is an inspiration. Not only for all those watching but for all the players. Congratulations to his team.
“I want to thank my team. The last two or three months we have put in a lot of work, throughout the entire season we have had the chance to play against the best in the world and this week we have seen I can still improve a lot.
“I think we can look at all the positive things we have done this week and this season.
“Let’s see what happens next, we still have the Davis Cup. Thank you again to everyone.”
Both Djokovic and Sinner will be playing for national pride in the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga, which get underway on Tuesday.
Djokvoic’s Serbia and Sinner’s Italy could meet in the semi-finals of the World Cup of men’s tennis and with this chastening experience in Turin at the forefront of his mind, there is no doubt who will be the favourite if that match becomes a reality.