Novak Djokovic set another record on Sunday with his seventh ATP Finals title, toppling local hero Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 in Turin and leaving tennis fans wondering when he will relinquish his dominance of the tennis.
Djokovic entered the Finals at the end of an age-defying year that brought three Grand Slams, taking his total to an all-time best of 24 and a 40th Masters 1000 title.
He will mark his 400th week at world number one after capping an incredible season — which also saw him reach the Wimbledon final — by surpassing retired great Roger Federer in wins at the season-ending tournament.
The 36-year-old claimed the record crown by beating two of the game’s best young players in Sinner and semi-finalist Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets, showing he still has plenty to give with the Paris Olympics around the corner and a gold medal the only major title which is missing from its price list.
“Very special, one of the best seasons I’ve had in my life, without a doubt. To top it off with a win against a hometown hero in Jannik, who played amazing tennis all week, is amazing,” Djokovic said .
“I’m very proud of the performances of the last two days against Alcaraz and Shiner, who are probably the two best players in the world, next to me and Medvedev at the moment. The way they were playing I had to do it over.”
Sinner bid to become the first Italian to win the Finals and looked the man to do it after his impressive win over Djokovic in the group stage.
But the 22-year-old, like Alcaraz in Saturday’s semi-final, simply couldn’t handle Djokovic, a man on a mission who hit his best form at exactly the right time in the tournament.
However, it is a testament to how far Sinner, a four-time winner this year, has come last year that he had Djokovic’s tournament fate in his hands at the end of the group stage when defeat by Holger Rune would have sent the Serb home early.
Sinner saved Djokovic’s skin and eventually paid for it in the final, but the quality of his performances at Pala Alpitour was cause for great optimism in Italy and suggests he should be a Grand Slam contender next season.
“We saw today that there is still a lot to work on… but we can see the positives from this season,” Sinner said.
“When I started this season I was one type of player, now I’m another. Let’s see how we go next season.”
Djokovic took control early in the match, breaking Sinner at the first opportunity in game four and then comfortably serving out the opening set.
Such was his dominance that Djokovic silenced a partisan crowd that had been in a frenzy throughout Sinner’s matches, and promptly broke serve again at the start of the second set.
He won 14 straight points from the start of the last game of the first set to the third game of the second, which Sinner eventually won to just hold his serve.
Sinner looked like he was being passed over but showed huge heart and got the crowd going when he held serve in the seventh game, a 15-minute mini-epic in which Djokovic had two break points, to stay at 4-3.
However, in the end he couldn’t hang with Djokovic and surrendered the match in disappointing fashion with a double fault.
Earlier, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury retained their doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.
The US Open champions retained their crown with a near-perfect campaign in Turin, unbeaten in their five matches.
American Ram and British Salisbury extended their season-ending tournament winning streak to 10 games after also going unbeaten in last year’s title.
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