Novak Djokovic won his second title of the year, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to win the Madrid Open on Sunday. For Djokovic, it’s his third title in Madrid, 74th ATP Tour trophy and his 33rdMasters Series 1000 title equaling Rafael Nadal’s record total. It’s his first title since he claimed his 14th major crown, the Australian Open in January.
“I feel like this tournament win was very important for my level of confidence because after Australian Open I wasn’t playing my best, I wasn’t finding the right game and the consistency on the court in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo, “ the world No. 1 said to media during his news conference.
“I felt like I was close and needed a little bit of a push, so to say. And a very important win came yesterday against Thiem in a very close match. And today Stefanos, who had amazing match last night and win against Rafa, probably affected him a little bit. He did not, I think, move as well as he did last night and he was probably a bit tired.
“But my goal was to start off well to try to make break as soon as possible, which was the case right away, and I felt I was always ahead in the game. I felt I was dictating the play and played my best tennis so far this week. I haven’t dropped a set and, for sure, it’s a great honor to have this trophy and to win in one of the biggest tournaments in the world.
“And, as I said, at the very important time for me in the year, in the season, because this gives me a lot of confidence prior to Rome and, of course, Roland Garros where I definitely want to play my best.”
“These are the best tournaments, biggest tournaments we have in our sport, in the ATP, of course alongside the Grand Slams,” the Serb said during an on-court interview after his victory. “This is as important and as good as it gets.”
“He deserved the victory, he played unbelievable,” said the 20-year-old Greek finalist. “I couldn’t do much. Really like I think his performance this week — I didn’t play with all the guys, but pretty sure was the best. So physically I was not there. My legs were not coping with my mind. Completely I could feel the fatigue and this soreness, not just in my legs, but everywhere in my body.
“And yes, he played quite smart. He tried moving me around the court. He knew I had a tough match last night, so he took advantage of that knowing that, you know, he’s going to have to make me run and suffer more and I just didn’t have solutions.
“I tried getting the ball, coming a little closer to the line but I didn’t feel today that comfortable doing that. He seemed very solid from the baseline. He knew what he was doing. And that’s about it.”
“He has the best backhand on tour I have ever seen in a human being. He controls it so well. He can play cross, he can play down the line the same way. And that’s very difficult to deal with.
“Usually some players have a good stroke, but it’s not that consistent, so I find if he’s in a day where his serve works pretty well, the placement of his serve, his forehand is not his biggest weapon. He can hit it but it’s not his biggest weapon. But he can, if the backhand and the serve work really well, he can — that is why he has been dominating for so many years.”
Tsitsipas, by reaching the final will move up to a career-high No. 7 in the world on Monday. He was aiming for his third title of the year, after taking the Marseille and Estoril titles.
For the 31-year-old Djokovic, this was his 200th win over a Top Ten opponent.
Djokovic is weeks away from playing Roland Garros, Rome is the last of the tournaments he’ll play before the year’s second major. He holds the last three major titles and is trying to repeat his feat of holding all four majors at the same time.
“I mean, it was a great lead-up I feel for me this week to what’s coming up next in Rome and Paris,” said the 31-year-old. “But I think because of the difference in conditions I’m going to have to obviously try to get as many, you know, quality hours on the court training and also competing because it’s going to be different.”