Novak Djokovic continues to write his name in the record books. The Serbian ensured that he will claim the coveted ATP Year-End No. 1 ranking for a record-extending eighth time. The veteran won against Holger Rune by 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 6-3 in Green Group of the ongoing Nitto ATP finals on Sunday.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion won the opening set in the tiebreaker but lost the second set in a tiebreaker against the youngster. However, Djokovic was able to get across the line after winning the third set comprehensively.
With this win, Djokovic guaranteed himself a historic 400th week as World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.
“It means a lot,” said Djokovic of ensuring he will end the year as World No. 1. “You could see there were a lot of emotions on the court. I could feel it. I was very eager to win tonight’s match, get that monkey off my back. I won Paris, which put me in a much better position rankings-wise, and I knew coming into Turin I only needed to win one match. A big goal is achieved, everything else now is a bonus.”
Djokovic admitted it was always going to be a tough challenge for him and he realized the same after the first three or four shots in the opening game.
“It took everything,” said Djokovic. “I saw in the first game, when he fired shots from the baseline in the firsdt three or four points, I knew that it was going to be a tough life for me. If I wanted to win this match, I was going to have to work really hard… He was feeling the ball well, he was sharp. Very aggressive, every short ball he was coming in and he served terrific.”
The Serbian showered praise on Holger Rune for coming up with an impressive show and challenging him throughout the game.
“I thought he played great,” said Djokovic. “I played great at some moments. At some moments I dropped the level, but overall a win is a win. It was a very emotional win and a tough win because of the significance of tonight’s match, obviously knowing that if I won I was going to clinch the year-end No. 1. So that was added pressure and tension, but after a terrible second-set tie-break I think I played a really solid deciding set.”
Djokovic has been a force to reckon with in the ongoing season and he will want to end the year on a high.