Why Djokovic Will Get Even Better


By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, November 20, 2022

Novak Djokovic’s season started with major rejection and climaxes with commanding reclamation.

A determined Djokovic defeated Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 in the Turin final to make history as the oldest-ever ATP Finals champion—and equal Roger Federer’s record capturing his sixth year-end crown.

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Roaring through the field with a 5-0 record, Djokovic collected a tennis record $4,740,300 champion’s check for his efforts.

The best is yet to come for the former world No. 1, says his coach, Goran Ivanisevic.

Meeting the media in Turin after his charge won his 91st career title, including his fifth of 2022, Ivanisevic said he believes Djokovic will continue to improve.

Why?

Because the 21-time Grand Slam champion is working harder than ever, owns more weapons than the rest of the pack and is driven to surpass rival Rafael Nadal’s men’s major mark of 22 Grand Slams and reach 100 career championships.

“He’s practicing even harder than he when he was 22. That’s why he’s still so good and that’s why he’s still going to be even better.

“The will to practice, the will to improve, the will to be better is amazing. He’s taking care of his body. In my time we stop tennis with 30, 31. You were already old guy ready to leave.

“But now unbelievable.”

Tennis Express

It is Djokovic’s first year-end crown since 2015 and comes after a chaotic season that saw the 35-year-old Serbian denied entry into the Australian Open and US Open, as well as four Masters 1000 events, because of his unvaccinated status.

To be sure, some of Djokovic’s issues were self-inflicted—had he been vaccinated as every other player in the AO field, he would have been a strong favorite to capture a 10th Australian Open title. The waiting for approval to play turned out to be the toughest part of a challenging season, said Ivanisevic.

“You know, this waiting. You want to play. You just want to play, but you don’t know where you allowed to play,” Ivanisevic said.

“In the end, he could finish No. 1 in the world if ATP didn’t take the points from Wimbledon. I don’t want to talk about 8,000 points that he could not even defend or be there.”

Seeing Djokovic’s desire to improve and continue to compete has convinced Ivanisevic the seven-time Wimbledon winner will win multiples majors in the coming years.

“Look at Novak. He’s still hungry, he’s still winning the tournament, playing unbelievable tennis,” Ivanisevic said. “He’s still already thinking now about preparation for next season.

“Till he’s like that, in his mind he’s going to be always competitive, favorite to win majors and big tournaments.”

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

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