Novak Djokovic believes Andy Murray should be allowed to enjoy ending the season as world No 1, and not be questioned about keeping the ranking in 2017.
Murray claimed his 24th successive win and fifth tournament victory in a row by beating Djokovic, the world No 2, in straight sets in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday.
The pair are now likely to battle for the No 1 spot in the opening months of the new campaign, but Djokovic insisted he was not yet planning for 2017 – and said Murray should not have to either.
He told a press conference after his defeat: “I’m not thinking about it at all at the moment. We should all let Andy enjoy this a little bit. Don’t ask him questions about next season. He deserves to be in the moment and to really take everything in what he achieved.
“His team, as well, and his wife. She has to get some credit, guys. She gave birth this year. He has travelled all over the place. I know how it is with my wife, Jelena, what she had to go through as a mother back home with a little baby.
“So, Kim, well done. She’s maybe made even a bigger effort than Andy!”
Djokovic rediscovered some of his best form to cruise into the final at the O2 Arena, only to then produce one of his worst performances of the season against Murray.
His won just 59 per cent of his first serves, compared with Murray’s 84 per cent, but the most telling flaw was his 30 unforced errors to Murray’s 15.
Djokovic added: “I just played very poorly and made a lot of unforced errors from the backhand side. It just wasn’t my day.
“On the other hand, credit to Andy for being mentally tough and playing the right shots and making me play extra shots in every rally. He definitely deserved to win.
“There was no serious chance for me to win today’s match. From the very beginning, we could see that. He was just a better player all in all.”