Djokovic Salutes 'Stand-Out' Season
Novak Djokovic calls 2015 his best season after avenging a loss to Roger Federer to retain his title
Roger Federer is the only player to have inflicted defeat on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic more than once this season. He had downed the Serb for a third time on Tuesday in the round-robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
But in the title match on Sunday, revenge came sweet for Djokovic – his straight sets result securing a fifth season-ending championship, in his 15th final from the 16 events he entered in 2015. Big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic was the only man who managed to deny him a berth in a final all season. He did so in the Doha quarter-finals.
“I guess Karlovic is my nemesis. I have a negative score against him. I have to talk about him before Doha next year,” Djokovic grinned. “It's been an incredible season. Other than that tournament, I've played all finals. Obviously, sitting here with this trophy alongside me, I couldn't ask for a better finish to the season. The last four years I managed to win the (Barclays ATP) World Tour Finals, where the best players in the world are playing. For some reason or another, I've been playing some of my best tennis after the US Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.
“I've been trying to really pay as equal attention to the work and the recovery, as well, mental and physical. It allows me to have the longevity. It allows me to have the matches and the tournaments I've had in the last couple years.
“But this season definitely stands out. I can't say I expected it, not at all … (It) obviously gives me a lot of confidence for anything that is coming in the future.”
Against Federer, in Showdown No. 2 at the season finale, Djokovic adjusted his tactics after the World No. 3 ended his streaks of 38 consecutive indoor match wins, 23 overall this season and 15 straight at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday.
“He's a very complete player. I know that he's always going to push you hard and try to protect the baseline, take away the time from you, which he was doing also today,” he said.
“I think what I managed to do better than what I've done in the last match we played in the group stage here was the fact that I was more solid from back of the court. I served well when I needed to.
“You try to take advantage of certain parts of his game that were not working well today, which was his backhand.”
It caps a remarkable season for the runaway World No. 1 who finished with 11 titles, including three of the four Grand Slams and an record six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. Only John McEnroe (1984), Jimmy Connors (1974) and Federer (2005 and 2006) have finished with a better winning percentage and with as many or more titles.
Still, however, a Roland Garros champion’s trophy is missing from the Serb’s bounty. And in 2016 an elusive Olympic gold medal will also be on the line in Rio de Janeiro.
“Roland Garros is always one of the biggest challenges I have every year, but it's not the only one. There are the Olympic Games that are happening every four years,” he said. “I will try to do as well as I've done in the last couple of years, always peak at the right moments and always try to perform my best at the biggest events.
“Now what I'm thinking about is the rest. I need some time to really recharge my batteries and then I'll think about my next season.”