Already with the title of champion under his arm, Goran Ivanisevic went to a press conference to analyze a heart-stopping week, where Novak Djokovic went from being two plays away from being eliminated in the group stage, to emerging as champion on Sunday.
The seventh title of Novak Djokovic in the ATP Finals, the one that places him alone on the list of champions, will be remembered for a lifetime for what could have been and was not. What if Sinner had lost to Rune in the group stage? That match changed everything, even for the Serbian himself, who was ignited by the competitive flame to never give up a meter of ground again. Goran Ivanisevic, who never holds back a detail, explained it perfectly in the press conference he offered this Sunday after the final. A conference to understand how the mind of the best tennis player of all time works.
– Champion in Turin
“I have to thank Jannik a little for giving us a little help and pushing to be in the semi-finals. He knew that, as soon as he reached the semi-finals, he would win the tournament, that’s when his mentality changed completely. A new Novak Djokovic entered the court starting Saturday. When the real Novak Djokovic arrived on the court it is a moment where no one can play against him.”
– Noval’s desire to be better
“It is very difficult to improve something with him, but he still wants to improve. That’s the good and the bad thing about being his coach, the same as for the rest of the team. I think he improved a lot with his volleys, his play at the net and his position at the net. Now, when he gets to the net, even if he missed some volleys today, he usually plays some incredible volleys. His position at the net is much better, it is more difficult to pass him. Before he was very easy to pass, now he knows what he is doing on the network, he feels more comfortable. Now he is not afraid to come to the net, he hits much harder with his forehand, even with the second serve he is able to reach 200km/h.”
– Compliments to Sinner
“I’m a big fan of Jannik, I’ve followed him since I was a junior. I have a lot of respect for him, I like his tennis, I think he improved a lot last year. He improved his serve, his arrival to the net, he is playing the volley much better. We have seen the real Jannik Sinner this year, it was a shame for him that he will meet Novak in the Wimbledon semi-finals. There we saw a Jannik who can win a Grand Slam, this week we saw him again at a high level, but Novak is different. Right now there are two young players two steps ahead of the rest: Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. “These two guys are going to be the future of tennis.”
– A new Djokovic from the semifinals
“I could see it in his eyes, in his approach when he comes to the locker room, when he enters the training court. Since the warm-up he seems different, everything was positive, against Alcaraz you saw him pumping from the first ball, pumping his fist. It is very difficult to beat Novak twice in one week in the same tournament. Today was a completely different game, tactically he played differently than Tuesday. Jannik received a little pressure, it was a great final, if you give a little of yourself against Novak it is not good, little by little you become exhausted. It’s like when you face an injury and you know that he is going to eat you in two seconds.”
– Impossible to get angry with the best
“He is the best player in the history of tennis, who am I to get angry with him? I can only ever get angry when he yells at us for no reason. When he loses a match, he always gives his best and tries until the end. But it’s not easy to deal with him when he is losing the match. For example, Tuesday night ended late, Wednesday we didn’t see him at all, and until Thursday we didn’t know what he was doing. We were in the room but we didn’t know what we were going to do, whether we were going to train with Hurkacz or go home. Like every human being, Nova has fights with himself, but he also knew how to stay calm. I know it’s not easy to motivate himself, because he already won everything and finished No. 1, but he always finds motivation. It’s been a great season, I can’t get mad, now I’m sitting here celebrating his victory. But it’s not easy, that’s the life of No. 1, he always wants more, I want something better all the time.”
– Anecdote during Thursday’s Sinner-Rune
“We went to eat pizza in the city, I remember checking the score, they were 6-2 and I thought it was good. Then I got to the room and the problems came, Rune started playing well. We talked among ourselves, we thought that maybe Jannik wouldn’t give 100% because he was already in the semifinals, but there he showed the type of champion he is. He is someone competitive who wants to win every game he plays, especially in front of your audience. With the break point in the third set we got scared, but Jannik played incredible in the last two games. It was a real relief, from that moment I knew that Novak was going to win the tournament.”