Novak Djokovic has admitted he had mixed feelings about finishing a “strange year” as world No1 for the sixth time in his career after a season that was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Djokovic won a record-extending eighth Australian Open in January, as well as a record 36th Masters title in Rome, claiming four singles titles altogether en route to the year-ending No1 ranking.
The 33-year-old has a 39-3 record in a season in which numerous tournaments were suspended or cancelled between March and August as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 1.3 million people around the world.
“Obviously I’m super proud of it, but I have mixed emotions because of what’s going on in the world,” Djokovic told the ATP Tour website.
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Djokovic’s exhibition tour of Serbia and Croatia between June and July ended with several players – ‘the Djoker’ included – contracting Covid-19.
“I can’t be ignorant to [the impact the virus has had], although I have achieved one of the biggest goals in sport. I feel for many people in the world going through hardship and my heart goes out to them.”
Djokovic’s feat saw him go level with childhood hero Pete Sampras who ended the year as No1 six times from 1993 to 1998.
The Serb begins his quest for a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title when he takes on Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the round-robin stage on Monday.
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