Novak Djokovic: “I’m proud to have overtaken Pete Sampras”

Novak Djokovic qualified for the final of the Rolex Paris Masters. The world number 1, returning to the ATP Tour after a two-month break, had risked in the first round match against an excellent Marton Fucsovics, bent only in the third set.

The Serbian champion then benefited from the forfeit of Gael Monfils, before dismissing the American Taylor Fritz with a score of 6-4 6-3. In the semifinals, the 34-year-old from Belgrade got the better of a very good Hubert Hurkacz thanks to a score of 3-6 6-0 7-6 (5).

The 20-time Grand Slam champion had to spend a lot of energy to stem the Pole, heartened by his access to the ATP Finals in Turin. After wasting a match point at 5-4, Nole placed the decisive paw in the tiebreak and raised his arms to the sky after two hours and 20 minutes of battle.

Thanks to this success, Djokovic has guaranteed the mathematical certainty of ending the season at the top of the ATP ranking for the seventh time in his career. Novak has overtaken Pete Sampras in this special ranking, while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are still at 5.

Djokovic in the ATP interview

Djokovic, in the interview for the ATP website, expresses his happiness at having reached this milestone: “I am proud and extremely happy. Closing the season at number 1 has always been one of my biggest goals. Succeeding for the seventh time and surpassing my absolute idol Pete Sampras is an extraordinary feat. I feel grateful and lucky right now.”

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi immediately congratulated Nole: “Finishing the year at the top of the ATP ranking is a crazy result. Doing it seven times, in this incredible era of men’s professional tennis, is something indescribable.

Novak deserves enormous credit and recognition for having redefined the concept of excellence in our sport several times. Congratulations to him and his team for this exceptional achievement.”

The Belgrade faced Daniil Medvedev for the title in what was a small rematch of the US Open final. Djokovic will be present also at the ATP Finals in Turin, the last event of the 2021 tennis season.

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