Novak Djokovic and his hunt for a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals title will be tested to the limits by Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals in Turin. The World No.1 eased past Cameron Norrie to finish the round-robin stage with a perfect 3-0 record. Despite enjoying a great run this week in Turin, the Serbian understandably expects a difficult challenge against Zverev. He will be aiming to capture the trophy at the Pala Alpitour this weekend to draw level with Roger Federer on six season finale crowns. “There is always motivation for history, but I am just focusing on tomorrow’s match,” Djokovic said.
“It is going to be a big challenge. Sascha is one of the best servers in the game. He has been playing really good tennis and had one of the best seasons in his career. [He has] just played at a very high level throughout the year. Indoors, [he is] definitely top two or three players we have. With the big serve, he is equally as good offensively and defensively. It is going to be a battle, but I am ready for it. We all want to finish the year in the best possible way.”
Djokovic has registered 51 tour-level wins this season. The 34-year-old had come within one victory of completing the Grand Slam in 2021. He went 27-1 at the four major championships, winning the trophies at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. His bid to win all four Grand Slams in the same year ended in the US Open final loss to Daniil Medvedev.
Recently, Djokovic also reached another landmark feat. A day after clinching a seventh year-end No.1 finish in the FedEx ATP Rankings, the Serbian had also secured a record-breaking 37th ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris. As a result of his incredible achievements, former World No.1 Pete Sampras called Djokovic the greatest player to ever grace the court.
When reflecting on Sampras’ praise, Djokovic said: “This means the world to me, especially as it is coming from someone who is a role model. He was the one when he played his first Wimbledon final, it was my first image of tennis. He made me dream to become a champion like him and hold the Wimbledon trophy and become World No.1. He is one of the best players of all time in our sport and for something like that to come out of his mouth is extremely satisfying for me to hear.”
It is three wins from three in the Green Group for Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals. He destroyed Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-1 in the final group match on Friday. “I tried not to think about tomorrow’s semi-final,” Djokovic had said in his on-court interview.
“It is not easy to walk on the court knowing you have already qualified and you know your opponent. I tried to be professional and I tried to give my best and I played really well. It was the first time we have played each other. I took the time away from Cameron. I analysed his game and knew the game plan and executed it very well.”