London: Novak Djokovic was left purring about his phenomenal season despite failing to capture a record-equalling sixth title at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals here on Sunday.
“Maybe I have not been really perfect in the last three to four weeks,” Djokovic told media after losing to Alexander Zverev in straight sets late on Sunday. “That took a lot out of me. But at the same time I played Bercy [1000 Paris Masters] and here [in London]. I have to be happy with that result.
“Of course, finishing the year as No. 1 was the goal coming into the indoor season and I managed to achieve that. Overall it was a phenomenal season that I have to be definitely proud about.”
Going into the final tournament of the season everything was stacked in favour of Djokovic especially after the world No. 1’s group win against Zverev last Wednesday. However, the year-ender has an odd history in which a player winning the round-robin has lost 10 of the 19 times the two have met in the final.
“Psychologically you would think the player who won round-robin match coming into the finals would have more confidence because he won against the player few days before that,” Djokovic said. “I knew that he’s going to change something and he’s going to play better, and he did. I just played under-par, so to say, comparing to all the matches I had so far this week.”
The 31-year-old was pleased he had learnt so much from the season, more so after undergoing surgery cure a troublesome elbow in February. But the second half of the season saw the Serb bounce back and add another two Grand Slams — Wimbledon and the US Open — to signal his return to form.
“I always believe in myself,” he said. “Really, as I said before many times, I kind of also expect myself to do very well. When I went on the table for surgery, I knew it was going to be a different season because it never happened. Whatever the outcome in the end of the year, I knew that I’m going to learn a lot from this season.
“Fortunately for me, it ended up in the best possible way and I’m just grateful. I’ve had most success in my life, in my career and hopefully I can keep that going.”