09:46 PM GMT November 20, 2016
It's a rare sight when someone other than Novak Djokovic is posing with ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode and the year-end No. 1 trophy. That honour has fallen upon the Serbian in four of the previous five years at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but on Sunday it was Andy Murray dramatically wrestling the mantle.
Djokovic, who saw his four-year reign at The O2 also come to an end, was on the losing end of a 6-3, 6-4 result as the spotlight abruptly shifted to his Scottish counterpart. But despite the defeat, the World No. 2 reflected on what has been a sparkling 2016 campaign. Standards will always be high for Djokovic and putting losses into perspective is key for the Serbian.
"We're sitting now talking post-match, obviously analysing the whole year," said Djokovic. "There are many highlights, many things to reflect on and be proud of... Every year is an evolution for me. It's a different year. It's hard to expect to repeat all these things forever.
"Nothing is eternal. I know there are other players coming up and present players that are getting stronger. I'm trying to do the same thing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. All in all, it's one great lesson that you have to accept and move on hopefully as a wiser person and as a better player."
Djokovic concludes a season as No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 2013, when he finished behind Rafael Nadal. He was bidding to join Roger Federer as the only six-time winners at the season finale, failing to lift the trophy for the first time since 2011.
The Belgrade native is confident that the bump in the road will smooth over, with much-needed rest and recovery following a long season. A 65-9 win-loss mark and seven titles, including four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Toronto) and Grand Slam crowns at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, is a season to be proud of.
"Right now the goal is just to rest a little bit," Djokovic added. "It's been a long season, a very nice year, a lot to reflect on and a lot to take in. But it's time to leave the racquet aside for a little bit, just recover, then I'll start thinking about next season.
"The last five, six months have not been ideal. Surely, I could have maybe done slightly better in some tournaments. Nevertheless, I played the final of the US Open and final 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.
"But, sometimes it's just normal to experience these kind of things and to not 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."