Due to various personal decisions, Djokovic was unable to play tennis for the majority of this year and dealt with numerous challenges off the court. It is the cause of Nadal's current advantage in the grand slam standings and the reason why Djokovic won't finish first in the rankings like he did last year.
"First of all. Congrats to Novak and to your team as well. I can't imagine how difficult this year has been for you at times, so hats off to you for what you have overcome and what you have achieved this year," said Ruud during the trophy ceremony.
"It's been remarkable and really quite impressive. Congratulations again for showing everyone that you're still up there and finishing off this year in a great way," said Ruud.
Talking about his own season, which far exceeded everybodies expectations Ruud admitted content with it:
"I'm very happy with all that I've achieved, and how things turned out, played out for me this year. It's been great. But I still feel like there is room for improvement, so that's a good thing I believe to still be happy and know that there is still room for improvement, which is a good thing. I've overachieved compared to my own mind, so I'm very happy about that."