Novak Djokovic couldn't have wished for a better start in London. The world No. 2 ruined Matteo Berrettini's ATP Finals debut with a 6-2, 6-1 destruction. The first singles match of the 2019 year-end championship took just 64 minutes.
Djokovic did what he does best: return like an impenetrable wall. With the pressure on, the world No. 8-ranked Italian struggled with his serve, wining just 47 percent of his first-serve points and 29 percent of his second. He got broken five times.
"I think he was returning unbelievable, [that's] the most impressive thing that he did," Berrettini told press. "We were playing flat, fast, and he was moving better than me, was playing better than me. So it was tough to win the points."
The Serbian's only wobble was a break at 4-1, but given his sizable lead already, he had no trouble closing out the round-robin victory. Still, the lost service game did visibly upset him, despite how one-sided the match would end up.
"[There] is no other reasonable explanation than trying to play as perfect as possible. But I guess that's me, you know," Djokovic said. "Everyone is different. Throughout my career, I always intended and always tried to perfect my game and, you know, in the midst of a battle and heat of the moment, sometimes you just get frustrated with certain things regardless of the results.
"Sometimes I really don't mind the results as much as I care about the execution of certain shots or tactics or whatever it is. That's all it is."
He's seeking his record sixth ATP Finals title, and is now 440 points behind Rafael Nadal for the year-end No. 1 ranking. He'll need to reach the final to give himself a shot at sealing the throne.
Meanwhile, Berrettini is picking up valuable experience. The 23-year-old started his breakthrough season outside of the Top 50, and snuck in as the last player in the ATP Finals field after winning two titles, reaching the US Open semifinals and having two semifinal runs in the fall season.