Novak Djokovic won his third title of 2022 and 89th of his career with a straight-sets win over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final on Sunday, insisting that his lengthy absence since winning his seventh Wimbledon title in July provided “extra motivation.”
Djokovic, 35, won 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli hard court title to his victories on the Rome clay and Wimbledon grass this season.
I played some excellent tennis. “I didn’t drop a set all week,” said Djokovic, the former world number one.
“I hadn’t played in a tournament in three months, so it was extra motivation for me to do well, especially since everyone has been so friendly and supportive of me all week.” “I’m going into next week with a lot of confidence.”
Djokovic won his 127th career final on Sunday. It also allowed him to become the first man this year to win titles on all three of the sport’s surfaces.
“My approach is to win tournaments wherever I am, and I’m grateful to have a team of people around me who make sure I’m in the best shape to be a contender for titles,” Djokovic told atptour.com.
“That’s why I came to Israel: to win the title.” It was my first time playing here since a Davis Cup tie more than 15 years ago, so it was an incredible experience.”
Djokovic broke Cilic, 34, in the second game of the final on Sunday and won the first set with a fourth ace after 47 minutes on court.
Cilic, who was chasing his 21st career title but first in 2022, was broken in the first game of the second set and never recovered.
The Serb faced only one break point in the match, which was won in 94 minutes.
“Really, everything we experienced this week was positive,” Djokovic added.
Djokovic will now compete in the Astana ATP tournament, where world number one and US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz will be seeded first.
Djokovic, who is ranked seventh in the world and has won a Grand Slam title this season, only needs to finish in the top 20 to qualify for the ATP Finals.
That would allow him to end 2022 on a high note after being deported from Australia earlier in the year due to his controversial vaccination stance.