Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023

Novak Djokovic reflects on ‘one of the best seasons’ he’s ever had

Novak Djokovic has made history with a seventh ATP Finals title, and the 36-year-old has revealed that he will keep playing until the next-generation ‘start to kick his butt’.

Djokovic enacted revenge over home favourite Jannik Sinner in the final in Turin, winning 6-3 6-3, and has now moved ahead of Roger Federer as the most successful player in ATP Finals history.

The world No.1 has won three major titles this year, with his only Grand Slam defeat coming to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final, and has also claimed two Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Paris.

After winning the year-end Finals, Djokovic has reflected on another successful season, “Very, very special. One of the best seasons I’ve had in my life, no doubt. To crown it with a win against the hometown hero Jannik who has played amazing tennis this week. It’s phenomenal.”

Djokovic continued, “You know, I’m very proud of the performances these last two days against Alcaraz and Sinner. You know, probably the best two players in the world, you know, next to me and [Daniil] Medvedev at the moment and the way they have been playing, I had to step it up.

“I had to, you know, win the matches and not wait for them to hand me the victory, and that’s what I’ve done.I think I’ve tactically played different today than I have in the group stage against Jannik – and just overall, a phenomenal week.”

As mentioned, Djokovic was beaten by Sinner for the first time in the round-robin stage and actually claimed that he would be ‘very surprised’ if the young Italian does not become No.1 at some point.

Despite the emergence of the likes of next-gen stars Alcaraz, Sinner and Holger Rune, Djokovic revealed that he won’t retire until he feels he can no longer compete with them.

“[Holger] Rune, Alcaraz and him [Sinner] are, you know, the big three, the next big three, if you want to call them,” explained the Serb. “They’re going to carry this sport. I will hang on for as long as I feel like hanging on.

“As long as I’m able to still win against them on the big stage I’ll still keep going because you know, why stop if you’re still winning the biggest titles.”

He added, “But once they start to kick my butt, then I’ll consider having a little break or maybe a permanent break from professional tennis.”

When looking forward to the 2024 season, Djokovic has spoken about his ‘major goal’ of becoming Olympic champion for the first time in his career in Paris.

“It is definitely one of the major goals for next year, other than Grand Slams,” said Djokovic. “It’s going to be a very congested schedule, going from the slowest to the fastest surface in the sport, back to the slowest. Clay, grass, clay and then hard courts.

“That’s obviously a very demanding, challenging stretch of the year and I’m going to have to speak with my team to see how we can plan out our preparations, training, so that I’m able to play my best tennis where I want to.”

However, Djokovic still has more tennis to play this season, with the 24-time major winner heading to Malaga in a bid to help Serbia become Davis Cup champions for the first time since 2010.

Inside the baseline…

Djokovic has continued his habit of winning when it really matters, with a clinical victory over the very impressive home favourite Sinner. The Italian actually had the opportunity to knock Djokovic out earlier in the week, as had he had lost his final round-robin match to Rune, it would have been the Dane that would have qualified and not the world No.1. At 36-years-old, Djokovic doesn’t seem to be slowing down and actually seems to be getting better.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.