Djokovic relishing end-of-year break after O2 defeat
Novak Djokovic intends to enjoy a period of rest and recuperation before turning his attention to regaining the number-one men's singles ranking from Andy Murray.
The Serbian was replaced by Murray at the top of the rankings a fortnight ago, but had the opportunity to hit the summit again as the two went head-to-head in the last match of the 2016 season, with the ATP World Tour Finals crown also up for grabs.
However, a fifth successive title at the O2 Arena proved beyond Djokovic as the in-form Murray extended his winning streak to 24 matches with a relatively comfortable 6-3 6-4 triumph.
"I just played very poorly, made a lot of unforced errors from the backhand side. It just wasn't my day," said Djokovic, before hailing his opponent as a "deserved" winner.
Pressed on his goals for 2017, after he completed a career Grand Slam this year with victory in the French Open, he replied: "Right now the goal is just to rest a little bit.
"It's been a long season, a very nice year, a lot to reflect on, a lot to take in. But, you know, it's time to leave the racquet aside for a little bit, just recover, then I'll start thinking about next season.
"We should all let Andy enjoy this a little bit [as well]. Don't ask him questions about next season. He deserves to be in the moment and to really take everything in what he achieved."
Djokovic held all four grand slam titles following his success at Roland Garros in June and appeared untouchable at the peak of the men's game.
However, he was unable to maintain his outstanding form in the second half of 2016 and will now be playing catch-up when the new season begins.
"The last five, six months have not been ideal," Djokovic acknowledged. "I could have maybe done slightly better in some tournaments. Nevertheless, I played the final of the US Open, finals here. It's still pretty good playing finals. Even though I set a high standard for myself, especially the last couple years, I'm very grateful to have had the career that I've had.
"Sometimes it's just normal, I guess, to experience, to live these kind of things, not to have the half seasons as well as you want them to be, as well as they've been in the last three, four years. That's all, you know.
"Right now I'm actually looking forward to having a month and a half with no tournaments. That's something that is a luxury in men's tennis."