Djokovic on Unfathomable Success and 90th Title – “I Dared to Dream”

The Serb has never been shy about his ambition, and he continues to dream as his title count hits 90.By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday, October 9, 2022

Back-to-back titles in Tel Aviv and Astana have put Novak Djokovic as the center of attention on the ATP Tour.

Though he is only ranked seventh, the feeling is that the 21-time Grand Slam champion is starting to look like his old self after a season of disarray and unforeseen circumstances.

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Djokovic has upped his career title count to 90, and secured a spot in the ATP’s season-ending championships for a 15th time.

After the Serb raised the trophy in Astana, he admitted there was a reason he has climbed to such heights in the world of tennis.

“I dared to dream, actually,” he said. “I always hoped that I would be going to have a great career. Obviously, I didn’t know the amount of finals I was going to play, the amount of tournaments I was going to win, but my intention was always to reach the highest heights in our sport.”

Djokovic has never been shy about his intentions. The prodigiously talented – and determined – phenom has always set lofty goals for himself. Over the years, one by one, those goals have been ticked off.

Whether he can get to the 109 titles claimed by all-time leader Jimmy Connors is another question. For now, the Serb will set his sights on Paris, where he’ll defend his title in early November, then the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, which begin on November 13.

Djokovic’s title in Astana ensured qualification for Turin, so there’s nothing for Djokovic to do now but take a breather and prepare for his next challenge.

That bit of business was officially taken care of on Sunday, as the Serb rose to No.10 in the Race to Turin standings and, most importantly, guaranteed that he would finish in the Top-20 by the end of the Paris Masters, no matter what happens over the next few weeks.

This two-week run of domination is great news for the 35-year-old Serb. He is finally getting some match rhythm and showing the rest of the tour that he is very much a force to be reckoned with. Djokovic has now won nine straight matches, and 17 of 18 dating back to Wimbledon, where he won his 21st major title.

It has been an odd season for the world-beating Serb. He has missed two majors due to his decision to remain unvaccinated, and various other events in North America (Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati) that could have both bolstered his ranking and his title count.

But that’s all water under the bridge. As Covid restrictions lift across the globe, we should see Djokovic play a bigger role in the fabric of the tour for the rest of the season and in 2023.

For those anointing World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz as the man to beat on tour, Djokovic may very well have something to say about that. The Spaniard won their lone meeting in May in Madrid, but Djokovic may have been a bit undercooked given that Madrid marked his fourth event of the season.

A much more mouthwatering prospect would be a clash of the two forces when both have had adequate time to find their best form. That could come this autumn, at the ATP Finals – now that Djokovic is a lock, he’ll be there seeking his sixth title, as Alcaraz makes his heavily anticipated debut in Turin.

The mere thought of a Djokovic v Alcaraz showdown, or two, is a great reason to get excited about the final month of a long season. And, of course, here’s to a few more mouthwatering matchups in 2023…