Novak Djokovic didn't play the best round-robin stage at the 2023 ATP Finals, but the best version of the Serbian showed up in the semi-final and final, and his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, knew it would happen.
Novak Djokovic went undefeated at the ATP Finals last year, but that didn't happen this year. He played a pretty good round-robin stage, winning two matches but losing one, which was enough to advance to the semi-finals.
It only happened though because Jannik Sinner beat Holger Rune in a match where the Danish player needed to win to advance. That was some dangerous living by Djokovic, who admitted that he wasn't as focused as usual after the event.
After getting that chance to play in the semi-finals, the Serbian refocused and delivered two amazing performances against Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. His coach, Goran Ivanisevic, wasn't surprised by that because he expected the best version of Djokovic to show up, as he admitted in an interview with the Tennis Majors.
But I knew – after the round-robin, the real Novak Djokovic will show up. He played OK in the first three matches, but… He was a bit empty after the first match, because he came here with a goal to secure year-end number one. I can’t say that he didn’t put in the effort, but it wasn’t true Novak, and Sinner played extraordinarily well in the first match.
The way it played out was fascinating to see. It was almost as if he flipped a switch, and Ivanisevic kind of felt the same watching it all unfold before his own eyes.
Yesterday in the warm-up – for the first time the warm-up was different, more positive. Also, the start of the match against Alcaraz – fist-pumping straight away, positive mindset. It’s true that Alcaraz missed a lot, but you still have to beat him. In the finals against Sinner, he played a lot smarter tactically compared to the first match.