Novak Djokovic clenched his fist and shouted his joy, then the Serb rushed to his family in the stands and distributed kisses to the two kids. In the final of the ATP Finals in Turin, the Grand Slam record champion made short work of local hero Jannik Sinner 6:3, 6:3, defended his title – and, with his seventh success, became the sole record winner in the prestigious year-end tournament. “One of the best seasons I’ve played in my life,” the world number one cheered after his next coup: “It’s something very special, I’m very proud of my performance.”
Five days earlier, Djokovic had been defeated in three sets against Sinner in the group phase. With a dominant final performance, the 36-year-old managed to take revenge. The Serb thus maintained his streak at the ATP Finals: “Djoker” has never lost twice against the same opponent during one event.
In front of a sold-out crowd, Djokovic started the game more than confidently. He managed three of his service games in the first set to zero, hit seven strong aces – and offered a lot of resistance to Sinner’s service. The result: a quick break with which Djokovic made it 3-1. The picture hardly changed in the second set either, Djokovic showed his best tennis. First he took the serve from Sinner without losing any points, then he remained flawless again with his own service. But Sinner fought back, every point he scored sparked loud cheers from the Tifosi. The highlight: game seven, which Sinner secured after 16 minutes and fended off two break points. But Djokovic remained unimpressed – and converted his first match point after 1:44 hours.
Djokovic, who left six-time champion Roger Federer (Switzerland) behind him, once again wrote history – as he did with his Grand Slam titles 22 to 24 this year in Melbourne, Paris and New York. Only at Wimbledon did he lose in the final to the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. The fact that Djokovic was able to compete in the final was also due to the crowd’s favorite Sinner, who only suffered his first defeat in the last match of the home tournament and missed out on the record fee of around 4.8 million US dollars.
Djokovic was only able to reach the semi-finals thanks to Sinner’s help, who won the decisive group game against the Norwegian Holger Rune. There he impressed against Alcaraz, who was 16 years his junior – and a day later in the second attempt against Sinner.