"I don't take anything for granted because I know how it feels like having zero on the table" - Novak Djokovic on prize money in tournaments

Nitto ATP Finals - Day Four
Novak Djokovic is on course for the biggest pay cheque in tennis history.

Novak Djokovic remains grounded despite being on the cusp of winning the biggest paycheque in tennis history. On Saturday, he beat Taylor Fritz in two tiebreaks in the ATP Finals semifinal in Turin to move to an eighth title match at the season-ending event.

In a hard-fought contest, the Serbian squandered a break to take the opener in a tiebreak. Fritz served for the second but blinked, allowing Djokovic a way back into the set. The 35-year-old forced a tiebreak, where he converted his second match point to continue his unbeaten run in Turin this week.

The unbeaten champion in the Italian city is set to receive a record pay cheque of $4.74 million - the biggest in tennis history. With both Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev - who played the second semifinal later on Saturday night - losing once in the round-robin stage, the former World No. 1 is on course to create more tennis history.

Having seen struggles from close quarters โ€” coming from a war-torn nation โ€” Djokovic knows how to put things into perspective. In his post-match press conference, he said:

"Every euro that I've earned was through hard sweat and tears. I don't take anything for granted because I know how it feels like having zero on the table, five family members, war, sanctions. Let's not forget where I come from, in which kind of era I was growing up.I know exactly the opposite side, which helps me in life I think to appreciate everything I earn more."

Earlier this week, the Serb became the first tennis player โ€” male or female โ€” to breach the $160 million prize money mark.

"Against Murray in 2016" - Novak Djokovic on his toughest loss in ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic is into an eighth ATP Finals final.
Novak Djokovic is into an eighth ATP Finals final.

Novak Djokovic is one of the most successful players in ATP Finals history. With victory on Sunday, he will move level with Roger Federer for most titles (six) at the season-ending event.

Over the years, he has enjoyed huge success in the ATP Finals, especially the wins over Federer in 2012, 2014 (walkover), and 2015. Speaking about his best memory from the event, he said:

"The best memory from the Finals would be probably - trying to remember the year against Roger, when I made the passing shot down the line on match point. I think it was 2014 or '15 when I won against him."

He has not won the ATP Finals since winning his fifth title in 2015. Since then, he has lost two finals โ€” 2016 (Andy Murray) and 2018 (Alexander Zverev). The Serb has termed the defeat to Murray as the toughest, as the year-end World No. 1 was up for grabs, saying:

"The toughest loss, in the Finals, I had two of them, would probably be against Murray that year in 2016. We were actually fighting for year-end No. 1, and he won."

Djokovic and Casper Ruud will lock horns in the final on Sunday.

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Edited by Anirudh
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