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Jannik Sinner thrilled his home fans with his run to the title match at the Nitto ATP Finals, but the Italian fell short against Novak Djokovic in Sunday's championship round. Despite the defeat in Turin, the 22-year-old was upbeat in his post-match press conference.
Sinner was full of praise for his opponent while stepping back to look at the big picture in terms of his own game and development.
"I think today [Djokovic] played really, really good, especially in the back of the court," said Sinner. "But I think today I was not that sharp in certain moments. I felt like also that I dropped this little bit physically. When you drop a little bit against the best player in the world, he makes it look like it's a big difference."
Earlier in the week, Sinner defeated Djokovic on the way to a perfect group-stage record. But the Serbian was a different proposition on Sunday, when he brought his best form in a near-flawless serving performance.
"Tennis is interesting because, as you can see, every day is different," Sinner said. "Some days [ago] I won against him. Here the same conditions again and you lose.
"But I think generally today I saw that I still have to improve, for sure. I believe that he makes me a better player, like all the other players have done who I lost to. I now have to work on this."
Continuing to look forward, Sinner was upbeat when analysing the state of his tennis. "I think there are many positive things, to be honest," he said. "I think, especially the second half of the year, mentally I was much, much stronger. I was not complaining so much on court when things were going in the wrong way. I think these kind of things, they make difference sometimes.
"One of the things where I can be really happy is that I played many, many important matches in the biggest stadiums we have throughout the whole year. This is something what's hopefully can help for the next season."
With the Davis Cup Finals still to come this season, Sinner owns a 61-15 tour-level record on the year with titles in Montepellier, Toronto, Beijing and Vienna. Dating back to his Beijing run, the Italian is 17-3 in his past 20 matches — a run which ensured he will finish 2023 at a career-high of No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.