Djokovic reigns at ATP Finals and breaks tie with Federer

As the months and years go by, few would dare argue that Novak Djokovic is the greatest tennis player of all time after more than a decade of the most spectacular duel in the history of the sport with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

The Swiss retired a year and two months ago, and the Spaniard has been plagued by increasingly recurrent physical problems, but in the meantime, the 36-year-old Serb is closing 2023 with three Grand Slams (Australian Open, Roland Garros, and US Open), and the ATP Finals, which he won this Saturday in Turin against the Italian Jannik Sinner (he only missed out on Wimbledon in an extraordinary final against the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz).

The fairy tale that Sinner was living this week in Turin after becoming the first Italian finalist in the tournament's history, came to an end in the final against Djokovic, who left him no option to win 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes of play after a calm first set and a much more controversial second to claim more than four million euros (4,041,154).

The Serbian's on-court attitude on the court attitude was perfectly captured in an episode from Saturday's semi-final against Alcaraz. The Murcia-born player celebrated a crucial point in the second set in a somewhat excessive and perhaps inappropriate manner. 'Nole' didn't even flinch, but just a few minutes later he was even more defiant after winning a point. He wants to be the best at everything.

Nole celebrated another great success with his team. © Getty Images
Nole celebrated another great success with his team. © Getty Images

In doing so, Novak Djokovic broke the tie at six titles  in the ATP Finals with Federer and is now two ahead of two other retired legends, American John McEnroe and Czech-born American Ivan Lendl. However, the Swiss still trails him in the number of appearances at the Masters tournament (17 to 16) and in the number of finals played (10 to 9).

With his three victories this year, the Belgrade native has now won 23 Grand Slams, surpassing Nadal's 22, but still one behind American Margaret Court's 24. He will finish 2023 ranked number one for the eighth time in his career and moves ahead of the American Pete Sampras (six times).

This Monday will mark his 400th week at the top of the ATP rankings and he is already two trophies short of 100 on the ATP circuit, six of them in 2023. He remains ahead of Federer (103) and American Jimmy Connors (109).

"I think I used last year's circumstances as fuel for this year. I had an almost perfect season in 2023. That was the most important thing for me. I finished the year as number one in the world, achieved all my goals, broke a lot of records, and made history in the sport. Of course, I'm happy with the season", he commented.

Djokovic is one of the greatest athletes in history. © Getty Images
Djokovic is one of the greatest athletes in history. © Getty Images

"It's been a very successful season, one of the best I've had in my career. I feel great on the court. Obviously, I have to pick and choose and adjust my schedule a bit. I'm 36 now so things are a bit tougher. I can't play as much as I did 10 or 15 years ago. But when I do play, I try to do my best, which I’ve been doing in the last few years. The work and dedication of my team is incredible; my family and my team give me joy and strength," Djokovic said.

In the doubles tournament, American Rajeev Ram and Great Britain's Joe Salisbury retained their Masters title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Spain's Marcel Granollers and Argentina's Horacio Ceballos.