Novak Djokovic overcame injury niggles from the previous day, as the world No. 1 claimed his 35th Masters 1000 title on Saturday 1-5, 6-3, 6-04 over Milos Raonic at the “Cincinnati” Masters
The ATP No. 1 wasted no time in the second set as he began his fightback on the way to a second trophy at the event normally played in the American Midwest.
Djokovic pulled level with Rafael Nadal on a leading total of 35 Masters 1000 titles as he collected the 80th trophy of his career.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner who will begin his campaign in quarantined, fan-free conditions on Monday in New York at the US Open, earned his 11th victory without a loss against Canada’s 30th-ranked Raonic
“Cincinnati” was staged in New York under quarantine at the Open’s Flushing Meadows venus due to the COVID-19 situation
Runner-up Raonic was bidding for his first title since Brisbane four and a half years ago.
The Canadian has now lost all four Masters finals he has played; he finished with 25 winners to the 12 of Djokovic, but was hampered by 25 unforced errors.
Djokovic remains undefeated this interrupted season, with 23 victories
“I’m very proud to win,” Djokovic said in a trophy ceremony inside the massive Ashe stadium which was completely devoid of fans.
“I’ve struggled a bit the last three or four days with some physical conditions (neck and abdomen). I’m glad to pull through, I didn’t have much time for recovery.
The world No. 1 echoed Raonic in addressing the current situation in the US, where lethal police violence resulting in the killing of black men is out of control.
“I’d like to send a message of peace, unity, friendship and forgiveness,” Djokovic said.
“We have to get through these difficult times together. I wish that all the people on planet Earth can find a better and more peaceful way to live
Raonic, who grew up in peaceful Canada, delivered his plea for social justice in the tournament’s troubled and divided host nation.
“It’s been a tough few months. I believe we are very lucky in Canada. where everyone on the street can feel safe.
“I hope for serious change in the US, I hope that every black man and woman can feel safe in their communities. That is much more important than anything else going on.”
Both players paid tribute to the missing fans, absnet due to the worldwide virus pandemic.
“We miss them, ” Djokovic said. “I hope they are enjoying tennis on the TV screens. I’m grateful to albe to compete.
“These are very strange circumstances.
Main photo:- Djoko with “The Rookwood Cup” the oldest tournament in the United States still played in its original city.” – Until 2020! Photo Mike Lawrence ATP Tour.com