Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals title will go up a level on Saturday when he faces Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals in Turin.
The World No. 1 downed Cameron Norrie to finish the round-robin stage with a perfect 3-0 record, but expects a tough challenge against Zverev as he aims to capture the trophy at the Pala Alpitour this weekend to draw level with Roger Federer on six season finale crowns.
“There is always motivation for history, but I am just focusing on tomorrow’s match,” Djokovic said. “It is going to be a big challenge. Sascha is one of the best servers in the game. He has been playing really good tennis and had one of the best seasons in his career. [He has] just played at a very high level throughout the year.
“Indoors, [he is] definitely top two or three players we have. With the big serve, he is equally as good offensively and defensively. It is going to be a battle, but I am ready for it. We all want to finish the year in the best possible way.”
Ruthless Djokovic Downs Norrie In Turin
Djokovic, who last held aloft The Brad Drewett Trophy in 2015, has earned 51 tour-level wins this season, having gone 27-1 major in major championship play. The 34-year-old drew level with Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 majors earlier this year and captured his record-breaking 37th ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris.
It has led to former World No. 1 Pete Sampras calling Djokovic the greatest player to ever grace the court.
When reflecting on Sampras’ praise, Djokovic said: “This means the world to me, especially as it is coming from someone who is a role model. He was the one when he played his first Wimbledon final, it was my first image of tennis. He made me dream to become a champion like him and hold the Wimbledon trophy and become World No. 1.
“He is one of the best players of all time in our sport and for something like that to come out of his mouth is extremely satisfying for me to hear.”
© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour