Novak Djokovic is continuing to re-write the tennis history books.
The Serbian sensation won a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title in Turin, Italy by beating Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 to equal Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the year-end championships.
To boot, Djokovic, at age 35, became the oldest ever winner of the event and pocketed the largest pay day in the history of tennis – $4,740,300, which is $300,000 more than Ash Barty’s payday for winning the WTA Tour finals three years ago.
Djokovic, who had lost his two previous finals at the event, won the tournament for the first time in seven years.
“Seven years has been a long time,” Djokovic said. “At the same time, the fact that I waited seven years makes this victory even sweeter and even bigger. A lot of nerves … I missed a couple of forehands in the last game when I was serving for it. I had nerves, but I am really grateful to be able to serve the match out. I had a big ace to close out.”
It was Ruud’s fourth defeat in a big championship match this year after also losing finals at Miami, Roland Garros and the US Open. Ruud has never won a set against Djokovic in four meetings.
“In the end it’s been disappointing to end up losing these big finals,” Ruud said. “Overall, if you gave me an offer to end the year at No. 3, play the finals that I’ve played, at the 1st of January this year I would probably sign the contract right away. No doubt about it.
“It gives me motivation and a hunger to maybe next time — if I ever get to another final like this — I hope I can learn from what I have done this year and not been able to do and see how it goes.”
Djokovic has ended the year with an 18-1 record after winning trophies in Tel Aviv and Astana before reaching the Paris Masters final. His five titles this season also include wins at Wimbledon and in Rome.
Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink rated the ’12 Australian Open final between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as No. 7 match ever in his book “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” available for sale here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Greatest-Tennis-Matches-Time/dp/0942257936/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358104976&sr=8-2&keywords=Steve+Flink