Novak Djokovic opened his 2017 season winning the 67th ATP Career-title, the second in a row in Doha. He did it playing a very tiring final against Andy Murray, winning 6-3 5-7 6-4.
'It means a lot', Djokovic told Eurosport after the match. 'For the last three months of 2016, I haven't felt that confident on court and didn't play that consistent. But to start 2017 with a win over the world number one and my biggest rival was a dream start so I'm hoping I can get the best out of it. I feel confident again.'
He expected to have a such tough match: 'It was close, a very physical battle. All the way to the last shot, you never know with Andy. It's no strange occurrence for us to play three sets for three hours. It’s only the beginning of the season, so we had a little laugh at the net actually about it. We both felt like if every match we’re going to play against each other is going to be this way this season, we’re going to have a fun time.'
During the match Nole had an aggressive on-court play, as he charged the net 35 times winning almost 70 per cent of those points. Explaining his tactics, he said: 'You have to construct the point well and find the right time to approach, but you need to come in. That controlled, aggressive style of play is the way to win.'
It seems strange that they played a such beautiful and intense final for two hours and 54 minutes in an ATP 250 Event. But they 'didn't think about the category or about what happens the following day, but only about the moment you are going through. You could see that both of us wanted to win, you don't want to lose against your greatest opponent at the beginning of the season. I am sure both of us felt this way, anyway one has to win and other has to lose.'
During the match he hit a spectator with a ball and was warned by umpire Carlos Bernardes. A similar thing happened at the ATP Finals, and now he will get fined. In press conference, Djokovic said he is ready to accept the consequence: 'I definitely didn’t want to hit the ball at anybody. Just happened. Fortunate not to get a bigger fine. On the other hand, unfortunate to actually have that incident happen. I have to be more careful I guess in the future. Of course people get hit, especially in the first rows, from big serves and so forth. It happens. It’s not the first time. This is something that definitely cannot happen from my side. I accept the consequence, absolutely.'
Andy Murray said: 'I am obviously disappointed not to win tonight, but I played pretty good the last couple of the matches. I think physically it was a good test to start the year, and I did good there. My body feels all right just now, so that’s positive. It was a little bit sore earlier in the week after the first couple of the matches. Felt better each day. I still think I have a chance of winning the Australian Open after tonight.'