Ivanisevic on Djokovic winning ATP Finals after tumultuous year: “This one is special”

Somebody up there was looking out for Djokovic at the end of 2022, the Croat says

Goran Ivanisevic Turin 2022 Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

Goran Ivanisevic has been through a lot in his time as coach of Novak Djokovic but after the Serb won a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title on Sunday, the Croat admitted this one was extra special.

Banned (in the end) from entering Australia and from playing in the USA, he missed two Grand Slams and two Masters 1000s, missing out on a potential 8,000 points on offer for the winner of those events.

His 7-5, 6-3 win over Casper Ruud in Turin on Sunday not only ensured he equalled Roger Federer on a record six ATP Finals wins, it also made him the oldest winner of the event and he ends the year back in the world’s top five, only 2,000 points behind world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

“Because of everything what happened this year, with Wimbledon…this one is special,” Ivanisevic told reporters in Turin. “Very tough year. To finish the year like this, to win tournament like this after how six years…

“I think somebody from upstairs look at all this year and said: OK, you going to win the year like this. He deserves it. Nobody knows how was it to be him, to be the part of the team, was not easy year. But paid off.”

“A lot of ups and downs with all the team, everybody who was the part of the team. I have to mention everybody because make my job easier….was not easy for us. Was even worse for him. He deserve it. Especially the way he play this week, that’s really impressive.”

Uncertainty and waiting the hardest things to cope with

After winning Wimbledon for the seventh time in the summer, but not receiving any ranking points due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, Djokovic was left in limbo for much of July as he waited to see if he would be allowed into the United States, despite his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Ivanisevic said the uncertainty was hard to deal with.

“When you tennis player, you deal with the pressure all the time,” he said. “But waiting, making schedule, you could not make a schedule. You prepare for something that you cannot play. You don’t know where to prepare, what to prepare. It was a roller coaster. Luckily the things settled down and more and more countries were open.”

“This waiting. You want to play. You just want to play, but you don’t know where you allowed to play. In the end, he could finish No 1 in the world if ATP didn’t take the points from Wimbledon ( he would actually have been No 2). I don’t want to talk about 8,000 points that he could not even defend or be there.

“This waiting. Just waiting, waiting for something that will happen. But in the end this trophy happen, and this is really something big.”

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