MONTREAL / TORONTO: Minutes after completing a 6-3, 7-5 ATP Toronto Masters final win over Kei Nishikori on Sunday for his 66th career title, Novak Djokovic had already shifted his focus to the Rio Olympics.
The world number one, who claimed his fourth Canadian title with a commanding performance over Asia’s top player lasting less than 90 minutes, will waste no time in heading south to Brazil for the weekend start of the Summer Games.
“It’s the biggest event in the history of the sport, so to be part of it is already a huge privilege and honour that I will cherish, as I did in Beijing and London Olympic Games,” said the holder of a leading 30 Masters 1000 trophies. “I had the honour of carrying the flag for my country in London 2012, one of the most unique and unforgettable moments of my life.”
Djokovic lifted his game in Canada as the week progressed, sweeping to the title without the loss of a set and dispatching challenges from Gael Monfils in the semis followed by Japan’s Nishikori.
“The overall sensation [of Rio] is not going to be the same as the other tournaments, because it’s Olympic Games,” he said. “You get to feel that you’re part of something much larger than just the tennis event.”
Djokovic won a bronze medal in Beijing and just missed the podium in London, losing to Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in the bronze medal match.
Halep eases to Montreal title
Simona Halep beat a mistake-prone Madison Keys 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 on Sunday to win the WTA Montreal hardcourt tournament and claim her 14th career singles crown.
World number five Halep, of Romania, has now won 23 of her last 26 matches, a stretch that has included lifting titles in Madrid, Bucharest and now Montreal.
“It was not my best tennis because I couldn’t play my best tennis,” said Halep. “I cannot hit stronger than her because she’s very strong.”
Sunday’s win wasn’t pretty as she hit just four winners against Keys, an American playing in her first career hardcourt tournament final.
It was a match Keys would no doubt like to quickly forget as she finished with 45 unforced errors and had her serve broken five times, including four times in the opening set.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2016.