Novak Djokovic pinpoints moment he started to believe he ‘belonged at the top of the men’s game’

ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic looking to the sky

The year 2008 will always be special for Novak Djokovic as he attributes his success at the season-ending ATP Finals in Shanghai as the moment he started to believe that he “belonged at the top of the men’s game”.

Djokovic made his Grand Slam breakthrough at the 2008 Australian Open as he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final while he also won two ATP Masters 1000 titles that season.

But it was his success at the end-of-year championships, known as the Tennis Masters Cup back then, that helped his confidence to “skyrocket”.

“Next to the Slams, the [ATP] Finals is probably the biggest event that we have in our sport,” Djokovic told Tim Henman in an interview for ATPTour.com.

“It’s probably the ultimate challenge in a season, facing the Top 8 guys of the year. I have been fortunate to experience the Finals quite a few times in the last 10-15 years.

“Back in 2008 was my first win in Shanghai. That was the last year the World Tour Finals was held there and that was very special, obviously. That skyrocketed my confidence and allowed me to believe that I belong at the top of the men’s game with all these guys.”

Djokovic, of course, has gone on to win another 16 Grand Slams and four more ATP Finals trophies.

He will be gunning for a sixth season-ending title at this year’s tournament and asked for some of his best memory at The O2 Arena, which will host the Finals for the last time this year, Djokovic replied: “Winning against Roger in two very close sets in [the final in] 2012 with a backhand down the line, passing shot on match point that was definitely one of the best shots for me to hit on such a big occasion. That’s probably the one I remember the most.”

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