Following his victory on Sunday, Novak Djokovic (6/4 – Australian Open 2023 Outright) admitted he was more motivated than normal at the Tel Aviv Open after being out of action for much of the last three months.

The Serb picked up his first title since winning Wimbledon in July as he comfortably overcame Marin Cilic in the final 6-3 6-4.

Djokovic missed the US Open in August and September after he was refused entry to the United States because of his coronavirus vaccine status but did play in the Laver Cup representing Team Europe last week.

The top seed maintained his impressive record of not dropping a set throughout the whole Tel Aviv tournament and admitted he was keen to put on a top display after being unable to feature much recently, while he thanked fans for their support.

“I played some very good tennis, I think. I [didn’t] drop a set the entire week,” he said.

“I hadn’t played a tournament in three months so it was really extra motivation for me to really do well, particularly because people have been so friendly and so supportive of me throughout the week.”

Djokovic had not played in Israel for over 15 years since appearing in a Davis Cup tie and he was delighted to secure his 89th career Tour title there.

He added: “My approach is to win tournaments wherever I am and I’m glad that I have a team of people around me that makes sure that I am in the best shape in order to be a contender to win titles. That’s why I came to Israel, was to try to win the title.

“First time playing here [since a] Davis Cup tie more than 15 years ago, so it was a really amazing experience.”

The 35-year-old will now take part in this week’s Astana Open in Kazakhstan, which also features Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Djokovic, who is seeded fourth, takes on Chile’s Cristian Garin in the first round on Tuesday when he is 2/11 to win in straight sets and 9/2 to win 2-1 against an opponent ranked 81st in the world.