Djokovic’s U.S. Open Win Sets Prize-Money Record

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Novak Djokovic’s victory in the tennis final at the U.S. Open two days ago raised his total prize money for 2011 to $10.6 million, setting a record for the ATP World Tour.

The 24-year-old Serbian player, ranked number one in the world, received $1.8 million for winning over 2010 champ Rafael Nadal during the final match, and garnered a bonus of $500,000 for finishing in second place for the standings in the U.S. Open Series.

In addition to winning over Nadal, Djokovic also garnered victories in the Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year. He was also a semi-finalist at the French Open, with his prize money from the four Grand Slam games reaching $6.2 million. Thanks to his victory over Nadal, Djokovic’s match record improved to 64-2 this season, making him the sixth male player to grab three out of four major titles in the same year.

After the final, Djokovic was interviewed by media men at New York’s National Tennis Center. He described the number of matches that he lost this year as “incredible,” adding that he would have a hard time trying to repeat even half of his performance this year for next year’s games.

In his game against Nadal, Djokovic turned in a nearly perfect game that matched his nearly perfect season. The match was filled with mesmerizing returns and points, finishing with his first U.S. Open championship, also his third Grand Slam trophy of the year.

He shared that big matches were typically settled by small margins, saying the winner tended to be the “one who believes in victory more.”

“I’m more aggressive,” he admitted, explaining that he had not changed his game in a major way over the past two years but was “going for it” this year.

Last year, Nadal had garnered three major titles, which had included a victory over Djokovic in the final played at Flushing Meadows. That loss had apparently shown Djokovic how passive he had been during key moments of the sport.

Nadal commented that he was disappointed, obviously, but described Djokovic’s game as “unbelievable.”
Djokovic’s 2011 earnings far overshadow the last record, which had sat at $10.2 million, won by Nadal. It had required 17 tournaments for the Spaniard to reach that figure, whereas Djokovic only took 12 matches to reach the new record.

So far, the only other tennis player to get total prize money of $10 million during a season was record-holder 16-time major champ Roger Federer, who reached a prize money of $10.1 million in 2007, over the course of 16 tournaments.

Djokovic has grabbed the victory in 10 tournaments throughout 2011, which included a record of five titles in the ATP World Tour Masters.

His overall career earnings reached $38.9 million with the win at the U.S. Open.

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