Holger Rune in the picture – Photo Getty Images
On an evening full of expectations, Novak Djokovic began his journey to the 2023 ATP Finals with a remarkable win against Holger Rune. This victory not only marks a positive start to the tournament for the Serbian champion, but also guarantees him to maintain his position as world number one until the end of the season and to reach the historic number of 400 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings to reach.
In the post-match press conference, Djokovic expressed his satisfaction: “It’s incredible. It means a lot to me. I knew that one win in this tournament was enough for me and I wanted it to happen tonight. I didn’t want to prolong the wait or complicate the goal. I’m very happy to have achieved it have. For me it has always been a big goal to be number one in the world. Apart from the Grand Slams, it is the most important thing. To end the year at this stage of my career as number one is something impressive. At the beginning of the year The priorities for me weren’t the Grand Slams, but rather the Grand Slams. But these great results put me in a good position to fight for number one at the end of the year. The win in Paris was important, so I have my “Given my best. Now everything that happens here in the tournament is a bonus for me.”
Speaking about the difficult moments of the match with Rune, Djokovic admitted: “There were several complicated moments. It was very difficult to compete against Holger, who played at a high level tonight. He was very aggressive from the start and took every opportunity to get to the net. He served with great precision and power. It was difficult to find spaces in his game. I had to work hard and fight to achieve victory. I think it was the longest game I’ve ever played here. I’m glad to have mastered this challenge because Holger did his best.”
When asked if this was the best year of his career, Djokovic replied with a smile: “Definitely one of my best years. I wouldn’t say it’s the best, but one of the best. The fact that I won three of the four Grand Slams, was in the final of the other and it’s not even my best year is pretty funny (laughs). It’s definitely one of my best seasons. I had a couple of years where I won three of the four races, 2011 and 2015, when I was much more dominant on the track. Now the circumstances are completely different because I only played 10/11 tournaments. I played very well, less than the others, but I reached my best level in the right events. That’s what’s really important to me. As far as Grand Slams go, it’s definitely one of my best seasons, especially in the last few months. I haven’t lost a game since Wimbledon.
Finally, Djokovic commented on the incident with the broken racket: “Some say it’s pragmatic because I can let go of any tension and frustration and move on, maybe that was the case tonight. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do that. Not even myself. I’m not happy I did it, but I did it and I have to take responsibility. I think in the past I’ve done that in some cases and started to play more freely and let myself go. There are other, perhaps more intelligent, ways to vent frustration than breaking a bat.”Novak explained with a smile.
In the fight against world number one Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals 2023 Holger Rune He once again demonstrated his high level of tennis. Despite the defeat, the young Dane showed many positive aspects in his game that deserve to be highlighted.
– His rivalry with Novak Djokovic
Reflecting on the game, Rune shared: “It was a good meeting. We both had a good start with our serves. I managed to take a break early but he gave it back to me. The first set was quite even. I think I had a chance to take a 3-0 lead in the second set, but that didn’t happen. He managed to recover in a hard-fought set. I managed to win the second set and make the match exciting. Another great fight with Novak.”
“We have played great games in the past. Unfortunately I couldn’t win today, but that’s okay. I have to keep going, keep the positive and work on what is not positive, train tomorrow and try to improve. I think he played at a higher level than in Paris. I’m proud of that. The result was pretty similar, Novak is an incredible player.”
– His reaction to Djokovic’s comments about the similarities in the game
Rune replied: “I completely disagree. Of course it’s a compliment to be compared to him, but I don’t think we play similarly. It’s nice to be compared to one of the best in tennis. Physically I felt good. We played for three hours and I feel it, but I’m sure he feels it too. I was ready to move on, but it didn’t happen. I tried to manage my energy as best as possible, not to waste it unnecessarily, to stay calm and play the tennis I wanted.”
– His collaboration with Boris Becker and the advice he received
Rune spoke about his collaboration with Boris Becker and said: “Our cooperation is very good. He’s been out there a lot, so that helps. He can pass on to me his experience in dealing with situations on and off the pitch. I had great support from my team. It was the little things that were crucial in ensuring that we could continue to concentrate on the serve. My first serve is just as important as Novak’s. If you don’t go in first, you feel the pressure because he always reacts very well. It was little things that reminded me of my player identity, of playing on my own terms, even if it’s difficult against Novak because he tries to play his way. It was like a battle to see who would enforce his game, and he won.