I dared to dream, says Djokovic after 90th career title

Novak Djokovic claimed the 90th title of his career and fourth of 2022 with a dominating straight-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the ATP Finals in Astana on Sunday.

Djokovic, 35, triumphed 6-3, 6-4 in 75 minutes to add to the trophies he has won this season in Israel, Rome and Wimbledon.

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It was the ninth straight win for the fourth seed, who secured a place in the 2022 ATP Finals following the victory.

“I dared to dream, actually,” Djokovic replied when asked if he ever imagined he would win 90 titles.

“I always hoped that I would have a great career. Obviously I didn’t know how many finals I was going to play, how many tournaments I was going to win, but my intention was always to reach the highest of peaks in our sport.”

The Serb won in Tel Aviv a week ago, his first singles tournament since winning a seventh Wimbledon crown and a 21st Grand Slam title in July.

He was banned from the US Open and all of North American hard court due to his refusal to get vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell at the Laver Cup team event in London on last month.

His absence had increased his motivation, he acknowledged. “Well, it did,” Djokovic said. “I couldn’t ask for a better restart to the season. I’m super motivated and motivated to finish the season as well as I have for the past two weeks.”

For third-seeded Tsitsipas, who was aiming for a tenth career title, it was the ninth loss in as many ATP Tour 500-level Finals he has appeared in.

Djokovic got off to a flying start, winning the tied opener in just over a minute.

With Tsitsipas serving at 3-4, Djokovic took the only break point in the first set.

Djokovic earned another break in the fifth game of the second set when a Tsitsipas drop shot fell into the net.

The Serb converted his third match point with a backhand winner on open ground.

“I’m just very grateful and blessed to be able to play so well at this stage of my life,” added Djokovic.

“You know, 35 is not 25. But I think the experience, probably, in these kinds of matches and big occasions also helps to approach mentally in the right way.”

Djokovic leads Tsitsipas 8-2 in their encounters and has won the last seven clashes.

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