Novak Djokovic battled through a gruelling third set with Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals in Turin to maintain his 100% record at the tournament ahead of his semi-final clash with Taylor Fritz on Saturday.
Speaking after the match, Djokovic admitted he “didn’t feel physically well” and was “proud” to get over the line.
“I started off very well, I had the chances early in the second and, some break points he just played very well in those decisive moments,” Djokovic said. “I think there was one rally on break point in the second set for me, but other than that he had big serves, he was playing really quick, I didn’t feel physically so well in the third set to be honest, I struggled a lot to stay physically there.
“It’s a battle, it’s a fight, I’m really proud of being able to find the last drop of energy and necessary focus in order to come back into the match from being 5-4 down, he was serving for it, I don’t know, I just managed to anticipate well that game, got my back in a good position.”
The 21-time Grand Slam champion was insistent that the thought of pulling out of the match and preserving his energy for his semi-final on Saturday never crossed his mind.
Djokovic says ‘it was a battle, a fight’ after outlasting Medvedev at ATP Finals
“No, no, no,” Djokovic said when asked if he contemplated retiring from the match. “To be honest I don’t know, I don’t know what the rules are.
“I don’t think that if I pull out I won’t be able to play tomorrow, I don’t know, but I wasn’t even thinking about it to be honest.
“This match, against one of the greatest rivals that I have today is very important, regardless of the fact that I have qualified already, I wanted to win.”
The win was the 35-year-old’s third in Turin as the tennis season comes to a close.
He had already beaten second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev to reach the last four, before dragging himself through the dead rubber against Medvedev.
Medvedev lost all three of his ties in Red Group as the defeat at the hands of Djokovic drew his 2022 campaign to a close.
Djokovic: ‘My mentality is to win every match’ after epic battle with Medvedev