ATP World Tour Finals - Djokovic inspired by father's health battle

Novak Djokovic said his ailing father's struggle with serious illness had inspired him to beat Roger Federer in a thrilling climax to the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Eurosport
ATP World Tour Finals - Djokovic inspired by father's health battle
.

View photo

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Switzerland's Roger Federer in their final tennis match during the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London (Reuters)

Srdjan Djokovic was absent from his normal courtside position as his son beat Federer 7-6 7-5 at the O2 Arena and cemented his place as the world's best player.

He was not out of mind, however, and Djokovic was quick to pay tribute to his father after his gritty victory over world number two Federer, winner of the title for the past two years.

"It's been a very long year, a very long two years, but very successful two years," five-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who ended a second consecutive season as world number one having won a career best 75 matches, said.

"I didn't really know how I would follow up after my incredible 2011, but I believed that I have to use the time where I'm playing the best tennis of my life.

"It was a fantastic year, where I've had to face a lot of difficulties off the court as well. Especially coming into this tournament, having my father fighting his own fight for health gave me extra strength that I wanted to play for him in a way.

"That's one of the reasons I really gave it all every match, especially tonight. This was a title for him."

Djokovic's father has been seriously ill with a respiratory problem and Djokovic has spent hours on the phone over the past eight days monitoring his progress.

It makes his achievement of marching to the title undefeated, having won all his round-robin matches, including one against US Open champion Andy Murray, even more impressive.

"I actually feel even more satisfied right now than last year, even though I had an incredible 2011," the 25-year-old, who won three of the four majors last year after starting the season with a 43-match winning streak, said.

"I feel this year, considering the circumstances that I had to face on and off the court, expectations, all these things, I believe that this year has been even more successful for me."

Djokovic battled back from 3-0 down in the first set and 5-3 in the second to claim his first year-end title since 2008 in Shanghai, and with it the $1.76m jackpot for remaining unbeaten.

"I was playing really great tennis throughout the whole week," Djokovic said of his run in London, where he had never previously made the final.

"The first match, you know, still feeling a little bit rusty on the court. But I won against Andy (Murray).

"That was a big confidence booster for me. You know, every match after that I felt like I played really very close to the top of my game.

"Tonight whenever I needed to, to come up with some really good shots, really focus myself and get every ball back in the court, I've done that. I cannot be more thrilled."

View comments (26)
  • Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Ian Bell guided England to an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third test at Edgbaston on Friday to put the hosts 2-1 up in the series with two matches to play. Bell (65 not out) and Joe Root, with an unbeaten 38, anchored the chase after England were set to 121 to win on the third day at Edgbaston where a dominant performance banished memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's. England lost Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) to set a few nerves on edge but Bell, dropped on 20 by Australia captain Michael Clarke, made his second 50 of the match to spark raucous celebrations after Root hit the winning runs. More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Liverpool offload Rickie Lambert after just one unproductive season at Anfield More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago
  • Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Inter Milan have signed Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City, although there were conflicting reports as to whether it was a loan or permanent switch. More »

    Eurosport - 5 hours ago
  • Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Who replaces Sepp Blatter? These key questions and more are answered on this week's episode of The Rail, as Spencer is joined by football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem. More »

    Copa90 - 5 hours ago
  • No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive on Friday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Games officials meeting in Kuala Lumpur voted for the Chinese capital over the lure of a winter wonderland offering from Kazakhstan's Almaty, in a clear sign that the International Olympic Committee is craving solidity and security after a series of problems and headaches. While Rio scrambles to make up lost time in its building for the 2016 Olympics, and Tokyo is embroiled in a stadium drama the allure of a megacity with a cast-iron financial guarantee proved irresistible. More »

    Reuters - 7 hours ago