Novak Djokovic beat Holger Rune in his first challenge at the ATP Finals 2023, achieving the first goal he had set himself on the eve of the year-end Masters in Turin. The Serbian champion has reiterated on more than one occasion his desire to end the season at the top of the ATP ranking and, thanks to the success achieved against Holger Rune in three sets, he will be able to extend his record by reaching 400 weeks as number one.
It is the eighth time that the Serbian has accomplished the feat: no one has done better than him in the history of tennis. The match with the Dane proved to be complicated and put his nerves to the test, but it did not prevent him from triumphing and starting the defense of the title with an important victory.
Djokovic: "Being No.1 means a lot to me"
At the press conference, Djokovic analyzed the victory and his new record: "It means a lot to me. I knew that I needed a victory to achieve the goal and end the season as number one.
I wanted it to happen already this evening, I didn't want to prolong or complicate the situation. I'm really grateful that I was able to do it. It's always been a big goal of mine. Besides the Grand Slam tournaments, this is what matters most.
Finishing the season at the top of the rankings at this stage of my life and career is incredible. At the beginning of the year I didn't prioritize this goal, I focused more on the Slam tournaments. Thanks to the excellent results achieved, especially in the Majors, I accumulated points and put myself in a good position.
Whatever happens in this tournament now will be a bonus for me." Djokovic subsequently analyzed the match with Rune, an opponent capable of always putting him in difficulty. "There were many complicated moments. It's challenging to play against Holger, who showed a very high level.
He was very aggressive and had a clear game plan. It was difficult to find patterns in his game tonight. I had to work very hard to get the win. The match lasted more than three hours. I'm glad I passed this challenge, because I felt that Holger was very close to the best version of him. Every time we play each other, the games are very close. We have a similar style of play," he explained.