World No. 7 Novak Djokovic admitted that being out of action for three months gave him the extra motivation to win it all at the inaugural Tel Aviv Open. After winning Wimbledon, Djokovic sat out the entire North American hard court swing because he wasn’t allowed to enter Canada and the United States as an unvaccinated foreigner.
In Israel, Djokovic won four matches without a dropped set to win his third title of the year. On Sunday, Djokovic capped off his brilliant Tel Aviv run with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Marin Cilic in the final. Djokovic is now 3/4 in finals played this season.
Djokovic on the extra motivation in Israel
“I played some very good tennis, I think,” Djokovic reflected. “I [didn’t] drop a set the entire week. I hadn’t played a tournament in three months, so it was really extra motivation for me to really do well, particularly because people have been so friendly and so supportive of me throughout the week.
I’m taking some great confidence into next week as well. Just everything really that we experienced this week was positive. The way people treated us when we landed in Israel all the way to the last moments now of our stay here has been truly wonderful and I am very grateful because it was more than a tournament for me.
It was great connections that we established with people, all of us in the team, that we will cherish and will give us positive emotions for what’s coming up.” After winning it all in Israel, Djokovic is set to debut at the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan.
In the Astana Open first round, Djokovic plays Cristian Garin. The Astana Open has been promoted to the ATP 500 level this year. Djokovic is aiming to make the ATP Finals and winning the Astana Open would help him in his bid to make Turin.