“Physical and Mental Issues Will Count”: Novak Djokovic Opens Up on Preparation for ATP Finals




World No.1 Novak Djokovic will aim to win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals for a record sixth time in his career. The Serbian has already secured the year-end No.1 ranking for the sixth time, equaling his idol Pete Sampras’ record. He moves past his arch-rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have achieved the year-end No.1 five times in their careers.

During a recent interview, Djokovic talked about feeling a sense of accomplishment after equaling Sampras’ record. At 33 years old, Djokovic is the oldest player to achieve the historic feat.

Novak Djokovic celebrating
Tennis – ATP 500 – Erste Bank Open – Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his first round match against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

“I equaled the record of Sampras, an idol from my childhood. From my point of view, this is absolutely amazing. Pete was a great player. I equaled him, and it is a great honor for me,”  said Djokovic.

The Serbian also overtook Sampras’ record of 286 weeks spent at No.1 ranking and now inches closer to Federer’s all-time tally of 310 weeks. The reigning Australian Open champion has won four titles this year and has only lost three matches until now.

Novak Djokovic visits Sisatovac Monastery

Before heading for London, Djokovic visited the Sisatovac Monastery in Fruska Gora, which is considered a holy place for Serbs. The tennis star attended the morning service and claims to draw energy by visiting such places. The 17-time Grand Slam champion revealed that he had hoped to derive mental strength from his visit to end the season on a high.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic, currently ranked world number one tennis player, speaks during a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia, REUTERS/Marko Djurica

“I hope this visit will help me prepare well for this great challenge. In London, my rivals will be the best tennis players in the world. On the way to a great result, both physical and mental issues will count. I hope that in my case everything will be in the right place,” remarked Djokovic.

Since his last ATP Nitto Finals title in 2015, he has finished as the runner-up twice in 2016 and 2018. Despite Stefanos Tsitsipas being the defending champion, his chances don’t look promising considering his poor form over the last month.