Djokovic is a vocal skeptic of vaccines but traveled to Australia after Victoria state authorities granted him a medical exemption to the country's strict vaccination requirements. But when he arrived late Wednesday, the Australian Border Force rejected his exemption as invalid and barred him from entering the country.
A supporter of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rallies outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 7, 2022. A supporter of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rallies outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 7, 2022. Loren Elliott | Reuters Djokovic is hoping to overtake rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and win his 21st Grand Slam singles title, the most by any player in men's tennis.
Djokovic's securing of an exemption so that he could play triggered an uproar and allegations of special treatment in Australia, where people spent months in lockdown and endured harsh travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic.
After his long-haul flight, the tennis star spent the night at the airport trying to convince authorities he had the necessary documentation, to no avail.
"The rule is very clear," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. "You need to have a medical exemption. He didn't have a valid medical exemption. We make the call at the border, and that's where it's enforced."
Serbia's Novak Djokovic applauds the crowd after losing to Russia's Daniil Medvedev during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men's final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 12, 2021. Serbia's Novak Djokovic applauds the crowd after losing to Russia's Daniil Medvedev during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men's final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 12, 2021.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the athlete's visa was canceled after border officials reviewed Djokovic's medical exemption and looked at "the integrity and the evidence behind it."
The grounds on which he was granted an exemption were not immediately disclosed.
While Djokovic has steadfastly refused to say whether he has gotten any shots against the coronavirus, he has spoken out against vaccines, and it is widely presumed he would not have sought an exemption if he had been vaccinated.
A federal judge will take up the case next week. A lawyer for the government agreed the nine-time Australian Open champion should not be deported before then.
"I feel terrible since yesterday that they are keeping him as a prisoner. It's not fair. It's not human. I hope that he will win," Djokovic's mother, Dijana, said after speaking with him briefly by telephone from Belgrade.
She added: "Terrible, terrible accommodation. It's just some small immigration hotel, if it's a hotel at all."
Australia's home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, said Friday that Djokovic could fly out of the country on the first available flight.
"Can I say, firstly, that Mr. Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia. He is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so," Andrews said. "And Border Force will actually facilitate that."
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has also spoken to Djokovic and said his government asked that the athlete be allowed to move to a house he has rented and "not to be in that infamous hotel."
He said Djokovic has been treated differently from other players.
"I'm afraid that this overkill will continue," Vucic said. "When you can't beat someone, then you do such things."
Border Force investigations were continuing into two other people who arrived in Australia for the tennis tournament, Andrews said.
Australia's prime minister said the onus is on the traveler to have the proper documentation on arrival, and he rejected any suggestion that Djokovic was being singled out.
"One of the things the Border Force does is act on intelligence to direct their attention to potential arrivals," he said. "When you get people making public statements about what they say they have, and they're going to do, they draw significant attention to themselves."
Anyone who does that, he said, "whether they're a celebrity, a politician, a tennis player... they can expect to be asked questions more than others before you come."
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View More The medical-exemption applications from players, their teams and tennis officials were vetted by two independent panels of experts. An approved exemption allowed entry to the tournament.
Acceptable reasons for an exemption include major health conditions and serious reactions to a previous dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. A Covid-19 infection within the previous six months has also been widely reported to be grounds for an exemption, but that's where interpretations appeared to differ between the federal level, which controls the border, and tennis and state health officials.
Former Australian Open tournament director and Davis Cup player Paul McNamee said the treatment of Djokovic was unfair.
"The guy played by the rules, he got his visa, he arrives, he's a nine-time champion and whether people like it or not he's entitled to fair play," McNamee told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "There's no doubt there's some disconnect between the state and the federal government.
"I hate to think politics are involved but it feels that way."
Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus in June 2020 after he played in a series of exhibition matches that he organized without social distancing amid the pandemic.
Critics questioned what grounds Djokovic could have for the exemption, while supporters argued he has a right to privacy and freedom of choice.
Many Australians who have struggled to obtain Covid-19 tests or have been forced into isolation saw a double standard.
Tension has grown amid another surge of Covid-19 in the country. Victoria state recorded six deaths and nearly 22,000 new cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump in the caseload since the pandemic began.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has defended the "completely legitimate application and process" and insisted there was no special treatment for Djokovic.
Twenty-six people connected with the tournament applied for a medical exemption and, Tiley said, only a "handful" were granted. None of those have been publicly identified.
Novak Djokovic is currently ranked as world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Djokovic has been No. 1 for a record total of 355 weeks, and has finished as ATP Year-End No. 1 on a record seven occasions. He has won a joint record 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles, including a record nine Australian Open titles. Overall, he has won 86 ATP singles titles, including a record 37 Masters events. Djokovic is the only man in the Open Era to achieve a double career Grand Slam and complete a non-calendar year Grand Slam. He is also the only player to complete the career Golden Masters on the ATP Tour, which he has done twice. Djokovic began his professional career in 2003. At age 20, he disrupted Roger Federer's and Rafael Nadal's streak of 11 consecutive majors to win his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open. By 2010, Djokovic also separated himself from the rest of men's tennis to join Federer and Nadal in the Big Three, the group of three players who have dominated men's tennis for more than a decade. In 2011, Djokovic was ranked No. 1 for the first time, winning three out of four majors and a then-season record of five Masters events. He remained the best player in men's tennis for the rest of the decade, leading the tour in major and Masters titles, and winning four out of his five titles at the ATP Finals consecutively from 2012 through 2015. After four consecutive year-end finishes at No. 3 through 2010, Djokovic finished No. 1 for six years and No. 2 for three years in the next decade.
Djokovic had another career year in 2015, reaching fifteen consecutive finals, including all four major finals and eight Masters finals, winning three majors and a season-record of six Masters events as well as the ATP Finals. The following year, he won the 2016 French Open to complete the first and only non-calendar year Grand Slam in the Open Era and his first career Grand Slam. He became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles at once and the only one in history to do so on three different surfaces.
Representing Serbia, Djokovic led the Serbian national team to their first Davis Cup title in 2010 and to the inaugural ATP Cup title in 2020. Moreover, he won the bronze medal for Serbia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Djokovic has won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award four times, the BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year award in 2011 and the L'Équipe Champion of Champions award in 2021. He is also a recipient of the Order of St. Sava, the Order of Karadorde's Star, and the Order of the Republika Srpska. Beyond competition, Djokovic was the former ATP player council president and is also an active philanthropist. In August 2020, Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil announced the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association as the first player-only association in tennis, citing the need for players to have more influence on the tour and advocating for better prize money structure for lower ranked players.
As a young child, Djokovic was given a mini-racket and a soft foam ball, by his parents, which his father claimed, became 'the most beloved toy in his life'.
Djokovic began playing tennis at the age of four, when his parents sent him to a tennis camp in Novi Sad, as his parents had not played any tennis in the past. In the summer of 1993, before attending primary school, the six-year-old was sent to a tennis camp organized by the Teniski Klub Partizan and overseen by Yugoslav tennis player Jelena Gencic at Mount Kopaonik, where Djokovic's parents ran a fast-food parlour and a sports equipment business. Upon seeing the child Djokovic playing tennis, she stated: 'This is the greatest talent I have seen since Monica Seles.'
Gencic worked with young Djokovic over the following six years before realizing that, due to his rapid development, going abroad in search of increased level of competition was the best option for his future. To that end, she contacted Nikola Pilic and in September 1999 the 12-year-old moved to the Pilic tennis academy in Oberschleißheim, Germany, spending four years there. At the age of 14, he began his international career, winning European championships in singles, doubles, and team competition. A resident of Monte Carlo, Djokovic has been coached by former Slovak tennis player Marián Vajda beginning in 2006, until Boris Becker took over the role of his head coach in December 2013. Becker and Djokovic officially ended their cooperation in December 2016.
Djokovic is a self-described fan of languages, speaking Serbian, English, French, German, and Italian.
He met his future wife, Jelena Ristic, in high school, and began dating her in 2005. The two became engaged in September 2013, and on 10 July 2014 the couple were married on Sveti Stefan in Montenegro, while a church wedding was held in the same place, on 12 July 2014, in the Church of Saint Stephen which belongs to Praskvica Monastery. In April 2014, Djokovic announced that he and Ristic were expecting their first child. Their son was born in October 2014. Their daughter was born in 2017.
Novak Djokovic Singles Ranking History Chart
Singles Ranking Composite History Chart 2001–03: Juniors As a member of the Yugoslav national team, Djokovic reached the final of the 2001 Junior Davis Cup for players under 14, in which he lost his match in singles.
In juniors, he compiled a singles win/loss record of 40–11, reaching a combined junior world ranking of No. 24 in February 2004. At the junior Grand Slam tournaments his best showing was at the Australian Open where he reached the semi-finals in 2004. He also played at the French Open and US Open junior events in 2003.
2003–05: Start of professional career Djokovic turned professional in 2003 by entering the ATP Tour, around the time Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal established themselves as the two dominant players in men's tennis. At the beginning of his professional career, he mainly played in Futures and Challenger tournaments, winning three of each type from 2003 to 2005. His first tour-level tournament was Umag in 2004, where he lost to Filippo Volandri in the round of 32.
Djokovic made his first Grand Slam tournament appearance by qualifying for the 2005 Australian Open, where he was defeated by eventual champion Marat Safin in the first round in straight sets, after defeating future rival Stan Wawrinka in qualifying. He went on to reach the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open, coming back from two sets down to defeat Guillermo García-López in the former, and beating Gaël Monfils and Mario Ancic in the latter. Djokovic participated in four Masters events and qualified for two of them, his best performance coming in Paris, where he reached the third round and defeated fourth seed Mariano Puerta along the way.
2006: First ATP titles Djokovic reached the top 40 in the world singles rankings after making his first quarterfinal appearance at a Grand Slam event, coming at the French Open, and also by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon that year.
Three weeks after Wimbledon, Djokovic won his first ATP title at the Dutch Open in Amersfoort without losing a set, defeating Nicolás Massú in the final. He won his second career title at the Moselle Open in Metz, France, and moved into the top 20. He also reached his first career Masters quarterfinal at Madrid during the indoor hardcourt season.
On 9 April 2006, Djokovic clinched a decisive Davis Cup win against Great Britain by defeating Greg Rusedski in four sets in the fourth match of the tie, giving Serbia and Montenegro an insurmountable 3–1 lead in their best-of-five series, thus keeping the country in the Group One Euro/African Zone of Davis Cup. Afterwards, Djokovic briefly considered moving from Serbia to play for Great Britain. Following this match-up, the British media spoke of Djokovic's camp negotiating with the Lawn Tennis Association about changing his international loyalty by joining British tennis ranks. The nineteen-year-old Djokovic, who was ranked sixty-third in the world at the time, mostly dismissed the story at first by saying that the talks were not serious, describing them as 'the British being very kind to us after the Davis Cup.' However, more than three years later, in October 2009, Djokovic confirmed that the talks between his family and the LTA throughout April and May 2006 were indeed serious:
Britain was offering me a lot of opportunities and they needed someone because Andy was the only one, and still is. That had to be a disappointment for all the money they invest. But I didn't need the money as much as I had done. I had begun to make some for myself, enough to afford to travel with a coach, and I said, 'Why the heck?' I am Serbian, I am proud of being a Serbian, I didn't want to spoil that just because another country had better conditions. If I had played for Great Britain, of course I would have played exactly as I do for my country but deep inside, I would never have felt that I belonged. I was the one who took the decision.
2007: Top 3, US Open final, and first Masters titles Djokovic began 2007 by defeating Australian Chris Guccione in the final of the tournament in Adelaide, before losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to eventual champion Roger Federer in straight sets. His performances at the Masters Series events in Indian Wells, and Miami, where he was the runner-up and champion respectively, pushed him into the world's top 10. Djokovic lost the Indian Wells final to Rafael Nadal, but defeated Nadal in Key Biscayne in the quarterfinals before defeating Guillermo Cañas for the title in the final.
After winning his first Master Series title, Djokovic returned to Serbia to help his country enter the Davis Cup World Group in a match against Georgia. He won a point by defeating Georgia's George Chanturia. Later, he played in the Monte Carlo Masters, where he was defeated by David Ferrer in the third round, and at the Estoril Open, where he defeated Richard Gasquet in the final. Djokovic then reached the quarterfinals of both the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, where he lost to Nadal, and the Hamburg Masters, where he was defeated by Carlos Moyà. At the French Open, Djokovic reached his first major semi-final, losing to eventual champion Nadal.
At Wimbledon, Djokovic won a five-hour quarterfinal against Marcos Baghdatis. In his semi-final match against Nadal, he retired with elbow problems in the third set, after winning the first and losing the second set.
Djokovic during his first round match at the 2007 US Open. Djokovic's next tournament was the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and he defeated No. 3 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Nadal in the semi-finals, and No. 1 Federer in the final. This was the first time a player had defeated the top three ranked players in one tournament since Boris Becker in 1994. Djokovic was also only the second player, after Tomáš Berdych, to have defeated both Federer and Nadal since they became the top two players in the world. After this tournament, Björn Borg stated that Djokovic 'is definitely a contender to win a Grand Slam.' The following week at the Cincinnati Masters, Djokovic lost in the second round to Moyà in straight sets. Nevertheless, he went on to reach the final of the US Open, where he had five set points in the first set and two in the second set, but lost them all before losing the match in straight sets to the top-seeded Federer.
Djokovic won his fifth title of the year at the BA-CA TennisTrophy in Vienna, defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final. His next tournament was the Madrid Masters, where he lost to David Nalbandian in the semi-finals. Djokovic, assured of finishing the year ranked No. 3, qualified for the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup, but did not advance beyond the round robin matches. He received the Golden Badge award for the best athlete in Serbia, and the Olympic Committee of Serbia declared him the best athlete in the country.
Djokovic played a key role in the 2007 play-off win over Australia by winning all his matches and helping promote the Serbia Davis Cup team to the 2008 World Group. In Serbia's tie against Russia in Moscow in early 2008, Djokovic was sidelined due to influenza and missed his first singles match. He returned to win his doubles match, teaming with Nenad Zimonjic, before retiring during his singles match with Nikolay Davydenko.
2008: First Major title, two Masters, and first year-end championship title Djokovic started the year by playing the Hopman Cup with fellow Serbian world No. 3 Jelena Jankovic. While he won all his round-robin matches, the team lost 1–2 in the final to the second-seeded American team of Serena Williams and Mardy Fish. At the Australian Open, Djokovic reached his second consecutive Grand Slam final, this time without dropping a set, including a victory over two-time defending champion Federer in the semi-finals. By reaching the semi-finals, Djokovic became the youngest player to have reached the semi-finals in all four Grand Slam events. In the final, Djokovic defeated unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets to earn his first Grand Slam singles title. This marked the first time since the 2005 Australian Open that a Grand Slam singles title was not won by Federer or Nadal.
Djokovic celebrating Australian Open triumph in Belgrade. Djokovic's next tournament was the Dubai Tennis Championships, where he lost in the semi-finals to Roddick. At the Pacific Life Masters in Indian Wells, Djokovic won his ninth career singles title, defeating Mardy Fish in the final. Djokovic won his tenth career singles title and fourth Master Series singles crown at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome after defeating Wawrinka in the final. The following week he lost to Nadal in the semi-finals at the Hamburg Masters, At the French Open, Djokovic was the third-seeded player behind Federer and Nadal. He lost to Nadal in the semi-finals in straight sets.
On grass, Djokovic once again played Nadal, this time in the Artois Championships final in Queen's Club, where he lost in two sets. Djokovic entered Wimbledon seeded third but lost in the second round to Safin, ending a streak of five consecutive majors where he had reached at least the semi-finals.
Djokovic then failed to defend his 2007 singles title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto – he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eighth-seeded Andy Murray. The following week at the Cincinnati Masters, Djokovic advanced to the final, beating Nadal in the semifinals and thereby ending the Spaniard's 32 match winning streak. In the final, he again lost to Murray in straight sets. His next tournament was the 2008 Summer Olympics, his first Olympics. He and Nenad Zimonjic, seeded second in men's doubles, were eliminated in the first round by the Czech pairing of Martin Damm and Pavel Vízner. Seeded third in singles, Djokovic lost in the semi-finals to Nadal. Djokovic then defeated James Blake, the loser of the other semi-final, in the bronze medal match.
After the Olympics, Djokovic entered the US Open seeded third, where he defeated Roddick in the quarterfinals. To a smattering of boos in a post-match interview, Djokovic criticized Roddick for accusing him of making excessive use of the trainer during matches. His run at the US Open ended in the semi-finals when he lost to Federer in four sets, in a rematch of the previous year's final. Djokovic went on to play four tournaments after the US Open. At the Thailand Open, he lost to Tsonga in straight sets. In November, Djokovic was the second seed at the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. In his first round-robin match, he defeated Argentine Juan Martín del Potro in straight sets. He then beat Nikolay Davydenko in three sets, before losing his final round-robin match against Tsonga. Djokovic qualified for the semi-finals, where he defeated Gilles Simon. In the final, Djokovic defeated Davydenko to win his first title at the year-end championship.
2009: Ten finals, five titles Main article: 2009 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic started the year at the Brisbane International, where he was upset by Ernests Gulbis in the first round. At the Sydney International, he lost to Jarkko Nieminen in the semi-finals. As defending champion at the Australian Open, Djokovic retired from his quarterfinal match with former world No. 1 Andy Roddick.
After losing in the semi-finals of the Open 13 tournament in Marseille to Tsonga, Djokovic won the singles title at the Dubai Tennis Championships, defeating Ferrer to claim his twelfth career title. The following week, Djokovic was the defending champion at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells but lost to Roddick in the quarterfinals. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Djokovic beat Federer in the semi-finals, before losing to Murray in the final.
Djokovic reached the final of the next Masters event, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on clay, losing to Nadal in the final. At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Djokovic failed to defend the title he had won the previous year, losing in the final.
Djokovic was the top seed at his hometown tournament, the Serbia Open in Belgrade. He defeated first-time finalist Lukasz Kubot to win his second title of the year. As third seed at the Madrid Open, Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals without dropping a set. There, he faced Nadal and lost despite holding three match points. The match, at 4 hours and 3 minutes, was the longest three-set singles match on the ATP Tour in the Open Era. At the French Open, he lost in the third round to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Djokovic began his grass court season at the Gerry Weber Open where after the withdrawal of Federer, he competed as the top seed. He advanced to the final, where he lost to German Tommy Haas. Djokovic then lost to Haas in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
During the US Open Series, Djokovic made the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal before losing to Roddick. At the Cincinnati Masters, Djokovic defeated third-ranked Nadal in the semi-finals before losing in the final to No. 1 Federer. At the US Open, Djokovic made the semi-finals, having dropped only two sets, defeating Ivan Ljubicic, 15th seed Radek Štepánek and 10th seed Fernando Verdasco before being defeated by Federer.
At the China Open in Beijing, Djokovic defeated Victor Hanescu, Viktor Troicki, Verdasco, and Robin Söderling en route to the final, where he defeated Marin Cilic in straight sets to win his third title of the year. Djokovic then lost in the semi-finals of the inaugural Shanghai ATP Masters to Davydenko. At the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Djokovic defeated Jan Hernych to make it to the quarterfinals, where he recovered from a deficit to defeat Wawrinka before going on to win his semi-final against Štepánek. In the final, he defeated home favourite and three-time defending champion Federer to win his fourth title of the year. At the last Masters event of the year at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, Djokovic won his first Masters title of the year by defeating Nadal in the semi-finals, before outlasting Gaël Monfils in the final.
Coming into the year-ending ATP Finals in London as the defending champion, Djokovic defeated Davydenko in his first round-robin match before losing his second match to Söderling. Despite victory over Nadal in his third round-robin match, Djokovic failed to make the semi-finals.
Djokovic ended the year as the No. 3 for the third consecutive year, having played 97 matches, the most of any player on the ATP Tour, with a 78–19 win-loss record. In addition to leading the ATP Tour in match wins, he reached a career-best ten finals, winning five titles. Djokovic also played a large role in promoting Serbia to the 2009 World Group. On 6–8 March 2010, he played a key role in bringing Serbia to the World Group quarterfinals for the first time in its independent history, winning both singles matches in the home tie against the United States against Sam Querrey and John Isner.
2010: US Open final, Davis Cup crown Main article: 2010 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic started his year by playing in the AAMI Classic, an exhibition event. In his first match, he defeated Haas before losing to Fernando Verdasco in his second. At the 2010 Australian Open, Djokovic lost a five-setter to Tsonga in the quarterfinals. Despite the loss, he attained a career-high ranking of No. 2 and went on to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, where he lost to Youzhny. At the Dubai Tennis Championships, Djokovic reached the final, this time defeating Youzhny to win his first title of the year.
Djokovic then took part in Serbia's Davis Cup tie against the United States on clay in Belgrade and helped his country reach its first quarterfinal in the Davis Cup with a 3–2 victory, defeating Querrey and Isner. At the Indian Wells Masters, Djokovic lost in the fourth round to Ljubicic. At the Miami Masters, he lost in his opening match to Olivier Rochus. Djokovic then announced that he had ceased working with Todd Martin as his coach.
In his first clay-court tournament of the year at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, top-seeded Djokovic reached the semi-finals with wins over Wawrinka and David Nalbandian before losing to Verdasco. Djokovic again lost to Verdasco at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, this time in the quarterfinals. As the defending champion at his hometown event, the Serbia Open in Belgrade, he withdrew in the quarterfinals while trailing Filip Krajinovic.
Djokovic entered the French Open seeded third. He defeated Evgeny Korolev, Kei Nishikori, Victor Hanescu, and Robby Ginepri en route to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Jürgen Melzer in five sets. Djokovic entered Wimbledon as the third seed, defeating Rochus, Taylor Dent, Albert Montañés, Lleyton Hewitt, and Yen-Hsun Lu en route to the semi-finals, which he lost to Tomáš Berdych in straight sets.
Djokovic then competed at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, where he lost to Federer in the semi-finals. Djokovic also competed in doubles with Nadal in a one-time, high-profile partnership. This had not happened since 1976, when Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe as No. 1 and No. 2 paired together as a doubles team. They lost in the first round to Canadians Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil. Djokovic then lost to Roddick in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters.
As the third seed at the US Open, Djokovic came very close to losing in his opening round against Viktor Troicki in extreme heat. He then defeated Philipp Petzschner, James Blake, Mardy Fish, and No. 17 seed Gaël Monfils, all in straight sets, to reach the US Open semi-finals for the fourth consecutive year. There, he defeated Federer in five sets after saving two match points with forehand winners while serving to stay in the match at 4–5 in the fifth set. It was Djokovic's first victory over Federer at the US Open in four attempts, and his first victory over Federer in a Major since the 2008 Australian Open. Djokovic went on to lose to Nadal in the final, a match that saw Nadal complete his career Grand Slam.
After helping Serbia defeat the Czech Republic 3–2 to make it to the Davis Cup final, Djokovic competed at the China Open as the top seed and defending champion. He won the title for the second successive year, after defeating Maoxin Gong, Mardy Fish, Gilles Simon, and John Isner en route to the final. Djokovic then defeated Ferrer in the final. At the Shanghai Masters, Djokovic made a semi-final appearance, losing to Federer. Djokovic played his final tournament of the year at the ATP Finals in London. Djokovic was placed in Group A along with Nadal, Berdych, and Roddick. Djokovic won his first round-robin match against Berdych. He next lost to Nadal. He defeated Roddick in his final round-robin match and advanced to the semi-finals, where he lost to Federer in two sets.
Djokovic went on to win his two singles rubbers in Serbia's Davis Cup final victory over France. This started a long unbeaten run that went on into 2011. Djokovic finished the year ranked No. 3, his fourth successive finish at this position. He was awarded the title 'Serbian Sportsman of the year' by the Olympic Committee of Serbia and 'Serbian Athlete of the year' by DSL Sport.
Serbia progressed to the Davis Cup final, following the victories over Croatia and the Czech Republic. Serbia came from 1–2 down to defeat France in the final tie 3–2 in Belgrade to win the nation's first Davis Cup Championship. In the final, Djokovic scored two singles points for Serbia, defeating Gilles Simon and Gaël Monfils. He was the backbone of the Serbian squad, going 7–0 in singles rubbers to lead the nation to the title, although the honour of winning the deciding rubber in the final went to compatriot Viktor Troicki.
2011: Rise to the top in one of the greatest seasons in tennis history Novak Djokovic celebrates his 2011 Wimbledon semi-final win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The victory meant that Djokovic successfully clinched the ATP world No. 1 Ranking for the first time in his career on 1 July 2011. He also reached his first-ever Wimbledon final, which he eventually won. Djokovic celebrates upon defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, clinching the world No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career. Main article: 2011 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic won ten tournaments in 2011, including three Grand Slam tournament victories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Djokovic also captured a record-breaking five ATP Masters titles, and set a record for the most prize money won in a single season on the ATP Tour. He held a 41-match winning streak from the start of the season to the French Open semi-finals, when he was defeated by Roger Federer. His level dropped toward the season's end, beginning with a back injury sustained during the US Open which caused him to retire from the Davis Cup, and ending with a poor showing at the ATP Finals. Djokovic concluded the season with a 70–6 record and a year-end ranking of No. 1.
Pete Sampras declared Djokovic's 2011 season as the best he had seen in his lifetime, calling it 'one of the best achievements in all of the sports.' Boris Becker called Djokovic's season 'one of the very best years in tennis of all time', noting that it 'may not be the best statistically, but he's beaten Federer, he's beaten Nadal, he's beaten everybody that came around to challenge him in the biggest tournaments in the world.' Rafael Nadal, who lost to Djokovic in six finals on three different surfaces, described Djokovic's performances as 'probably the highest level of tennis that I ever saw.' Djokovic was named 2011 ITF World Champion.
2012: Third Australian Open title and year-end No. 1 Main article: 2012 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic began his season by winning the Australian Open. In the quarter-final, he defeated David Ferrer in three sets. In the semi-final, Djokovic beat Andy Murray in five sets after 4 hours and 50 minutes, recovering from a two-sets-to-one deficit and fending off break points at 5-all in the fifth set. In the final, Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in five sets, recovering from a break down in the final set to win 7–5. At 5 hours and 53 minutes, the match was the longest Grand Slam final in Open Era history, as well as the longest match in Australian Open history, surpassing the 5-hour and 14-minute 2009 semi-final between Nadal and Fernando Verdasco.
Djokovic was beaten by John Isner in the semi-finals at Indian Wells. He successfully defended his title in Miami. In the Monte Carlo final, he lost in straight sets to Nadal. Djokovic also lost in straight sets to Nadal at the 2012 Rome Masters final.
Djokovic reached his maiden French Open final by defeating Roger Federer, reaching the final of all four majors consecutively. Djokovic had the chance to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles at once, having won last year's Wimbledon and US Open titles as well as this year's Australian Open, but was beaten by Nadal in the final in four sets. Following the French Open, Djokovic failed to defend his Wimbledon title, losing to Roger Federer in four sets in the semi-finals.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Djokovic was chosen as the flag bearer for Serbia. On 2 August 2012, Djokovic defeated French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and advanced to the semi-finals, where he was beaten by Murray in straight sets. In the bronze medal match he lost to Juan Martín del Potro, finishing fourth. He successively defended his Rogers Cup title, dropping just a single set to Tommy Haas. Following the Rogers Cup, Djokovic made the final of the Cincinnati Masters but lost to Federer in straight sets.
At the US Open, Djokovic reached his third consecutive final by beating fourth-seeded David Ferrer in a match suspended a day due to rain. He then lost the final to Murray in five sets. Djokovic went on to defend his China Open title, defeating Tsonga in straight sets. The following week he won the Shanghai Masters by defeating Murray in the final. With Federer's withdrawal from the Paris Masters, Djokovic regained the No. 1 ranking. On 12 November 2012, Djokovic won the 2012 ATP Finals by defeating Federer in the final. Because of his achievements in the 2012 season, Djokovic was named the 2012 ITF World Champion in men's singles by the International Tennis Federation.
2013: Fourth Australian Open title and three Masters titles Main article: 2013 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic began the 2013 season by defeating Andy Murray in the final of the 2013 Australian Open to win a record third consecutive Australian Open trophy and the sixth major of his career. A week later, he participated in a Davis Cup match against Belgium, where he defeated Olivier Rochus to give the Serbian team a 2–0 lead.
On 2 March 2013, Djokovic defeated Tomáš Berdych in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships. Another solid week of tennis saw Djokovic reach the semi-finals at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, before losing to Juan Martín del Potro, ending his 22-match winning streak. The following week, Djokovic entered the Miami Masters as the defending champion, but lost in the fourth round to Tommy Haas in straight sets.
In April, Djokovic played for Serbia against the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. Djokovic clinched a tie for his team by defeating John Isner and Sam Querrey. Later that month, he defeated eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to clinch his first title in Monte Carlo. In May, he was defeated by Grigor Dimitrov in three sets in the second round of the Madrid Open in Madrid. The following week, he lost to Berdych at the quarterfinal stage of the Rome Masters.
Djokovic began his French Open campaign with wins over David Goffin, Guido Pella, and Dimitrov in straight sets. In the fourth round he recovered from a set down and defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in four sets. In the process, he reached a 16th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, which he won over Tommy Haas. Djokovic then lost to Nadal in the semi-final in a five-set epic.
In the Wimbledon final, Djokovic lost to Murray in straight sets. At the Rogers Cup, he lost to Nadal in the semi-final in three sets. Later, Djokovic lost to Isner in the quarterfinals in Cincinnati. Djokovic went on to reach the US Open final, where he met Nadal for the 37th time in his career. He went on to lose in four sets. In early October, Djokovic collected his fourth Beijing title by defeating Nadal in the final in straight sets. He also collected his second Shanghai Rolex Masters title, extending his winning streak to 20–0 over the last 2 seasons at the hard court Asian swing of the tour. Djokovic won his 16th Masters title in Paris at the end of the season, beating David Ferrer in the final. At the 2013 ATP Finals Djokovic retained his trophy, beating Nadal in straight sets. At the end of the season, Boris Becker joined his staff as head coach.
2014: Second Wimbledon title and return to No. 1 Main article: 2014 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic began the year with a warmup tournament win, the 2013 Mubadala World Tennis Championship. At the Australian Open, he won his first four matches in straight sets against Lukáš Lacko, Leonardo Mayer, Denis Istomin, and No. 15 seed Fabio Fognini respectively. He met Wawrinka in the quarterfinals of the tournament, the second consecutive year the two had met at the event. Despite coming back from two sets to one down, Djokovic fell 9–7 in the fifth set, ending his 25–match winning streak in Melbourne, as well as his streak of 14 consecutive Grand Slam tournament semi-finals. The week of 27 January marked the first time since 2011 that Djokovic has not been a Grand Slam titleholder.
Djokovic also would play in the Dubai Tennis Championships but lost to eventual champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals. However, Djokovic would avenge his loss to Federer, winning his third Indian Wells Masters title, beating Federer in the final. Continuing his good run, he beat No. 1 Nadal in the final of the Miami Masters in straight sets. Suffering from a wrist injury which hampered him throughout the Monte-Carlo Masters, Djokovic lost the semi-finals to Federer in straight sets. After returning from injury, Djokovic won his third Rome title by beating Nadal in the final of the Italian Open. He subsequently donated the $500,000 in prize money that he had received to the victims of the 2014 Southeast Europe floods.
Djokovic reached the final of the French Open losing only two sets in six matches, but lost in the final to Nadal in four sets. It was Djokovic's first defeat in the last 5 matches between both. At the Wimbledon Championships Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the final in five sets. With this victory he replaced Rafael Nadal again as the world No. 1. Djokovic played at the Rogers Cup, losing to eventual first-time champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets. He followed that with a loss to Tommy Robredo at the Cincinnati Masters. At the US Open, Djokovic reached the semi-finals, where he lost in four sets to Kei Nishikori.
Djokovic returned to Beijing with a fifth trophy in six years, defeating Murray in the semi-final and Berdych in the final. The following week he was beaten by Federer in the semi-final of Shanghai Masters. He then won the Paris Bercy masters title, without losing a single set, beating Raonic in the final.
In the ATP Finals, Djokovic created a record by winning three round robin matches with a loss of just nine games. By reaching the semi-final, he also secured the year-end No. 1 ranking for the third time, tying him with Nadal at fifth position. He was awarded the ATP Finals trophy after Federer withdrew before the final. This marked the seventh title of the season for him and the fourth title at the year-end event.
2015: Three Majors, six Masters, eleven titles & ranking points record Main article: 2015 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic began the season at the Qatar Open in Doha, where he won his first two rounds for the loss of just 6 games, however, lost in the quarterfinals against Ivo Karlovic in three tight sets. He rebounded from this defeat well at the 2015 Australian Open, where he made it through the first five rounds without dropping a set. In the semi-finals, he faced defending champion Stan Wawrinka, the man who beat him the previous year. He twice lost a set lead, however, came roaring back in the fifth to take it to love, and set up a third final against Andy Murray. After splitting the first two sets in tiebreakers, Djokovic suddenly found his form after dropping his serve at the start of the third set, going on to win 12 of the last 13 games to record a four-set victory over the Scot, and win an Open Era record-breaking fifth title in Melbourne, overtaking Roger Federer and Andre Agassi. He moved into equal eighth on the all-time list of men with the most Major titles, tying Agassi, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry.
He next competed at the Dubai Tennis Championships and lost to Roger Federer in the final. After 2 weeks, Djokovic defeated John Isner and Andy Murray en route to his 21st Masters title, beating Federer in three sets in Indian Wells. In Miami, he defeated David Ferrer and John Isner en route to winning his fifth title defeating Andy Murray in three sets. With his 22nd Masters title, Djokovic became the first player to complete the Indian Wells – Miami title sweep three times. In April, Djokovic clinched his second Monte-Carlo Masters by beating Tomas Berdych in the final. Djokovic withdrew from the 2015 Madrid Masters. He won the title for the fourth time at the Rome Masters, making it 4 out of 4 titles in Masters events entered by Djokovic in 2015.
He continued his good form on clay at the French Open by reaching the final without dropping a set in the first five rounds, including a quarterfinal clash with Nadal and a five-set semi-final victory over No. 3 seed Andy Murray which took two days to complete. This meant he became only the second man to have won against Nadal at the French Open. However, he lost the next match and the tournament to No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka in four sets, after having prevailed in the first set and being up a break in the fourth set and up 40–0 on Wawrinka's serve in a subsequent game. He lost six of the final seven games of the match. With this loss, Djokovic was denied his first victory at the French Open and a personal career Grand Slam. Five weeks later, he rebounded again from a tough loss in Paris, just like 2014, coming from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson in the fourth round, and then going on to claim his third Wimbledon title in his fourth final at the All England Club, with a four-set win over Roger Federer.
Prior to the final Grand Slam event of the year, Djokovic had the chance to become the first man in history to complete the full set of Masters titles in Cincinnati, and reached the final for the fifth time, however, he was once again beaten by Federer, making it a fifth straight defeat in a Cincinnati final. At the 2015 US Open, Djokovic reached the final for the sixth time in his career, achieving the feat of reaching all four grand slam finals in a single calendar year. In the final of the tournament, he faced Federer once again, defeating him in four sets to win his third grand slam title of the year, his second title at Flushing Meadows, and his tenth career Grand Slam singles title, becoming the fifth man in the Open Era to win ten or more Grand Slam singles titles, as well as only the third man to reach all four Major finals in a calendar year.
He returned to Beijing in October, winning the title for the sixth time, defeating Nadal in straight sets in the final to bring his overall record at the tournament to 29–0. Djokovic then reached the final of the Paris Masters, where he defeated Murray in straight sets, taking his fourth title there and a record sixth ATP Masters tournament in one year. After losing to Federer in the round-robin stage of the 2015 ATP Finals he took on the third seed again in the final. He beat Federer in straight sets winning his fifth ATP Finals title and he became the first player to win four consecutive titles at the event.
2016: 'Nole Slam' and ATP ranking points record Main article: 2016 Novak Djokovic tennis season
Djokovic kissing Coupe des Mousquetaires after winning the 2016 French Open, completing Nole Slam and the career Grand Slam. Djokovic collected his 60th career title in Doha, defeating Rafael Nadal in two sets in a final that lasted 73 minutes. He broke his own ATP ranking points record, bringing it up to 16,790. Djokovic then proceeded to win his sixth Australian Open. On his road to his Open Era record sixth title in Melbourne, he defeated Roger Federer in four sets in the semi-finals, and in a rematch of the 2015 final, he defeated Andy Murray, in three straight sets. He quickly rebounded from an eye infection at the Dubai open to collect a fifth Indian Wells Masters title, defeating Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, and Milos Raonic in the final. Djokovic's run was so dominant that Nos. 2 and 3 could have combined their points and still not have had enough to pass him.
On 3 April 2016, Djokovic won the 2016 Miami Open for the third consecutive year, and did so without dropping a set en route to his sixth career Miami Open title, tying him with Andre Agassi for most ever Miami Open men's singles titles. In addition, 2016 marked the third consecutive year that Djokovic swept both Indian Wells and the Miami Open, the first male singles player to ever do that. This was also the fourth time in his career Djokovic won both Miami and Indian Wells back-to-back. His win in the Miami final saw Djokovic surpass Roger Federer to become the all-time leading prize money winner on the ATP tour with career earnings of $98.2 million. After an early round exit at the Monte Carlo Masters, Djokovic quickly bounced back by winning the Madrid title for the second time in his career with a three-set victory over Murray. They met again in the Rome Masters final one week later with Murray the victor, despite a sluggish performance, Djokovic defeated Nadal and Nishikori in two long quarterfinals and semi-finals.
Djokovic defeated Andy Murray in the final of the 2016 French Open in four sets, making him the reigning champion of all four major tournaments, a historic feat the media dubbed the Nole Slam. With his French Open triumph, Djokovic became the eighth player in history, and the second oldest, to achieve a Career Grand Slam, the third player in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, and the first player to win $100 million in prize money. At Wimbledon, his major win streak came to an end in the third-round when he lost to American Sam Querrey in four sets. It was his earliest exit in a Grand Slam since the 2009 French Open.
In late July, Djokovic returned to form by winning his fourth Rogers cup title, and 30th Masters title overall, without dropping a set. In August, Novak was beaten in the first round of the Olympic men's singles in Rio de Janeiro by Juan Martín del Potro. It was Djokovic's first opening round defeat since January 2009, when Ernest Gulbis defeated him at the 2009 Brisbane International. In the final slam of the year, the US Open, Djokovic advanced to the final but was defeated by Stan Wawrinka in four sets. Djokovic was defeated by Roberto Bautista Agut and Marin Cilic in the semi-finals and quarterfinals in Shanghai and Paris. Due to this result he lost the No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray. However, a runner-up finish at the ATP Finals indicated his best performances in nearly three months. After the season, he parted ways with his coach of three years, Boris Becker.
2017: Split with team and long injury hiatus Main article: 2017 Novak Djokovic tennis season In January, Djokovic defended his title in Doha defeating new world No. 1 Andy Murray in three sets. At the 2017 Australian Open, he was upset in the second round by No. 117 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. This was the first time since 2007 that Djokovic had failed to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, and the first time ever in his career that he had lost to a player ranked outside of the top 100 in a Grand Slam tournament. In February and March, Djokovic played at the Mexican Open and the Indian Well Masters, but in both events was eliminated by Nick Kyrgios, in the third and fourth rounds, respectively. In April, Djokovic reached the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters losing to David Goffin. After the tournament, he decided to split with his long-time coach Marián Vajda, fitness specialist Gebhard Phil-Gritsch and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic, citing the need to find a winning spark. A better showing at the Madrid Masters saw Djokovic reach the semi-finals, losing to Nadal in straight sets. A runner-up result at the Rome Masters indicated solid improvements in his form.
On 21 May 2017, he announced that Andre Agassi would become his new coach, starting at the 2017 French Open. However, as the defending champion, he lost at Roland Garros in the quarterfinals to Dominic Thiem in straight sets. He prepared for Wimbledon at the Eastbourne International, playing his first non-Wimbledon tournament on grass since the 2010 Aegon Championships. He won the tournament, beating Gaël Monfils in the final. This marked his first grass title outside of Wimbledon. He made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before retiring against Tomas Berdych while down a set and a break, due to an elbow injury which he said had been bothering him for a year and a half.
On 26 July, Djokovic announced that he would miss the 2017 US Open and the rest of the 2017 season to fully recover from his elbow injury.
2018: Surgery, two Majors, back to No. 1, and the Career Golden Masters Main article: 2018 Novak Djokovic tennis season In January he won against Dominic Thiem in straight sets at the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament. At the 2018 Australian Open, the Serbian won in the second round against Gael Monfils and then in the third round eliminated Albert Ramos Viñolas in straight sets, before bowing out in close straight sets against Chung Hyeon from South Korea. In late January, he underwent surgery on his elbow. On 3 March, he announced on Twitter he was back on the practice courts, and with a little over one week practice, he surprisingly played Indian Wells, losing in the second round to Taro Daniel. He later had another second-round loss in the Miami Open, this time to Benoît Paire.
Reuniting with Marián Vajda, at the Monte Carlo Masters, he collected victories over Dusan Lajovic and Borna Coric, followed by a loss to world no. 7 Dominic Thiem. In a press conference, he stated, 'After two years finally I can play without pain.' After another early exit, this time in Barcelona to Martin Klizan, Djokovic's gradual return to form would show itself at the Madrid Masters. In his first win over a top 20 player in 10 months, he defeated Monte Carlo Masters runner-up Kei Nishikori in straight sets, but did not progress past the second round, losing to Kyle Edmund in three sets. Going into the Rome Masters with a 6–6 season record, he reached the semifinals, losing to Rafael Nadal in straight sets. He later reached the quarterfinals of the French Open losing to Marco Cecchinato in four sets.
He had a strong start to the grass court season at Queen's Club, securing his first win over a top 5 player in almost 18 months after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the second round. He then defeated Adrian Mannarino and Jérémy Chardy without dropping a set to reach the final where, despite having a championship point, he lost to top seed Marin Cilic. He also played doubles partnering with longtime friend and rival Wawrinka.
Djokovic entered Wimbledon as the 12 seed. He defeated Tennys Sandgren, Horacio Zeballos, Kyle Edmund, Karen Khachanov, and Kei Nishikori to reach the semifinals, where he faced long-time rival Rafael Nadal. Djokovic defeated Nadal 10–8 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 17-minute match, spread over two days. This match became the second-longest semifinal in Wimbledon history, second only to the match between Kevin Anderson and John Isner held earlier on the same day. With this win, Djokovic reached his first major final since the 2016 US Open. He claimed his fourth Wimbledon title and 13th major title overall by defeating Anderson in straight sets after 2 hours and 18 minutes, winning the third set in a tiebreak after saving five set points throughout the set. With this win, he rose 11 ranking spots and re-entered the top 10 for the first time since October 2017.
Djokovic celebrating at the 2018 US Open. His victory at the event tied him with Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slam titles. After a triumphant grass season, Djokovic started his North American hardcourt swing with a third round showing at the Rogers Cup, losing against eventual runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas in a 2-hour, 16-minute three-setter. Afterward, he returned to play the Cincinnati Masters for the first time in three years. In an event plagued by suspended play due to rain, Djokovic defeated defending champion Grigor Dimitrov in the third round and Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals back to back in three sets. Djokovic went on to defeat Marin Cilic in the semifinals in a fourth consecutive three-set match, setting up his sixth appearance in the final of the tournament and fourth final against seven-time champion Roger Federer. Although Federer was riding a streak of 100 consecutive holds of serve at the tournament, Djokovic went on to break his serve three times and win his first Cincinnati Masters title convincingly in straight sets. With this victory, Djokovic became the first player in tennis history to complete the career Golden Masters—a feat achieved by winning all nine ATP Masters events at least once in one's career.
Djokovic was the 6 seed entering the US Open. This was his first appearance at the US Open since the 2016 final. He defeated Márton Fucsovics, Tennys Sandgren, Richard Gasquet, and João Sousa to reach the quarterfinals, where he was expected to face Roger Federer; however, Federer was upset by John Millman, who Djokovic then defeated in straight sets. Djokovic thus advanced to his eleventh US Open semifinal in as many appearances. He overcame Kei Nishikori in straight sets to reach his eighth US Open final, where he faced No. 3 seed Juan Martín del Potro. He defeated del Potro in straight sets to win his third US Open title and second Grand Slam title of the year. This win returned him to the top 3 in the world rankings for the first time since the 2017 French Open.
Seeded second at the Shanghai Masters, he defeated Jérémy Chardy, 16th seed Marco Cecchinato, seventh seed Kevin Anderson, fourth seed Alexander Zverev, and 13th seed Borna Coric in a decisive run. He did not drop a set nor have his serve broken during the tournament. This was his fourth title in Shanghai and second Masters title of the year. With this win, he overtook Roger Federer and returned to the No. 2 ranking for the first time since the 2017 French Open. On 31 October, Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the 2018 Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury, and Djokovic reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking.
At the Paris Masters, Djokovic was seeded second. He defeated João Sousa, Damir Džumhur, and fifth seed Marin Cilic to reach the semifinals, where he faced third seed Roger Federer. They fought a tight three-set match, with Djokovic emerging victorious in the third set tiebreak. In the final, Djokovic was upset by unseeded Karen Khachanov in straight sets.
At the ATP Finals, Djokovic was seeded first, and drawn in Group Guga Kuerten. With the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal from the event, Djokovic was guaranteed a fifth year-end No. 1 ranking. In the round robin stage, he dominated his opponents, defeating Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, and John Isner without dropping a set. He advanced to the semifinals, where he decisively defeated Kevin Anderson in straight sets to reach his seventh final at the tournament, and his sixth in as many appearances, where he faced Alexander Zverev. He was upset by Zverev in straight sets. Nonetheless, his performance at the ATP Finals saw him secure an almost 1,600 point lead over no. 2 ranked Nadal. At the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, he scored victories over Karen Khachanov & Kevin Anderson to win the title. He ended the year with 9,045 points.
During the Madrid Open, Novak Djokovic celebrated the 250 weeks at world number 1 in ATP rankings. He is one of only five players to achieve 250 weeks at No.1, after Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors. After beating ATP Next Generation player Stefanos Tsitsipas in Madrid Open final, Djokovic lifted the Madrid trophy for the third time and tied Nadal's record of 33 ATP Masters titles. After heavy rain delays at the Italian Open, he made quick work of Denis Shapovalov and Philipp Kohlschreiber, followed by a 3-hour slug fest victory over long time rival Juan Martín del Potro. He finished the tournament with a runner-up & being the only player to take a set off a rejuvenated Nadal.
He competed in the French Open, reaching the semifinals without dropping a set and recording wins over Hubert Hurkacz, Henri Laaksonen, Salvatore Caruso, Jan-Lennard Struff, and fifth seed Alexander Zverev. His fourth round win over Struff made him the first man to reach 10 consecutive quarterfinals at Roland Garros. In the semifinals, he faced 2018 finalist Dominic Thiem, who defeated Djokovic in a four-hour, five-set match that was interrupted by rain multiple times and stretched across two days. This ended his 26-match winning streak in major tournaments and brought his search for a second Nole Slam to an end.
At Wimbledon, he won his sixteenth Grand Slam, defending his title to win the tournament for a fifth time by defeating Roger Federer in an epic five-set final that lasted four hours and fifty seven minutes, the longest in Wimbledon history. Djokovic saved two championship points in the fifth set en route to winning the title and the match also marked the first time a fifth set tiebreak was played in the men's singles of Wimbledon at 12 games all. Djokovic then played at the 2019 Cincinnati Open as the defending champion and reached the semifinal where he lost to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev in three sets. At the 2019 US Open, Djokovic was unable to defend his title, falling to Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round, after retiring due to injury whilst trailing by 2 sets and a break. The defeat prevented Djokovic from winning three of the four Grand Slam events that year, a feat that he achieved in 2011 and 2015. In October 2019, Djokovic defeated John Millman in straight sets to win the Japan Open. At the Shanghai Masters, Djokovic reached the quarterfinal stage, but lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets. In November 2019, Djokovic reached final of Paris Masters after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. In the final, Djokovic claimed his fifth title in Paris Masters after a two set win over Canadian young star Denis Shapovalov. Djokovic then played in the Björn Borg group at the 2019 ATP Finals but was eliminated in the round robin stage after a straight-sets win over Matteo Berrettini, a three-set loss to Dominic Thiem and a straight sets defeat to Federer.
2020: ATP Cup crown, 8th Australian Open, double Golden Masters Main article: 2020 Novak Djokovic tennis season At the inaugural 2020 ATP Cup, Djokovic helped Serbia win the title by scoring six victories, including wins over Medvedev in the semifinal and Nadal in the final. At the Australian Open, he defeated longtime rival Roger Federer in straight sets en route to the final where he defeated three-time grand slam runner-up Dominic Thiem in five sets. This marked Djokovic's eighth win at the Australian Open and 17th Grand Slam title, making him the first Open Era male player to win Grand Slam titles in three different decades. He also regained the world No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings. Djokovic then won the title at Dubai Tennis Championships fifth time, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. In June, Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 during the Adria Tour, a series of charity exhibition games in Balkans, which he helped organize. Djokovic was criticized for holding the event with a lack of social distancing and other precautions taken against COVID-19, although they were organized in accordance with the measures issued by the governments. The last match of the tour was cancelled after several players, their wives and coaches tested positive for the virus. Djokovic said he was 'deeply sorr'y, admitting he and organisers 'were wrong' to go ahead with the event and that they believed the tournament met all health protocols. He also said that many of the criticisms were malicious, adding: 'It's obviously more than just criticism, it's like an agenda and a witch hunt'.
With the resumption of the ATP Tour, Djokovic made history after defeating Milos Raonic to win his second Cincinnati Masters title. By doing so, he won his 35th Masters title, equaling Rafael Nadal's then-record of most ATP Masters titles and completing his second Career Golden Masters. By achieving this feat, Djokovic became the first person in tennis history to complete multiple masters sets. In the fourth round of the US Open, Djokovic was defaulted after accidentally hitting a line official in the throat with a tennis ball during his match against Pablo Carreño Busta. The United States Tennis Association docked Djokovic all ranking points he would have earned at the tournament and fined him the prize money that he would have won had the incident not occurred. On 21 September, Djokovic moved past Pete Sampras for the second highest number of weeks spent as the ATP number 1 ranked player.
Djokovic next won a record 36th ATP Tour Masters title, his fifth in Rome, defeating Diego Schwartzman in the final. In the 2020 French Open, Djokovic lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in the final, only winning seven games. Djokovic then played at the Vienna Open where he was upset in the quarterfinals by Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets, marking his first defeat against a lucky loser.
In the ATP Finals, Djokovic lost to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets but defeated Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman in straight sets to qualify for the semifinals. He then lost his semifinal match to Dominic Thiem in three sets.
On 21 December, Djokovic reached his 300th career week as the number 1 ranked singles tennis player, becoming the second player in ATP history to do so, after Roger Federer.
2021: Three Majors, double Career Slam, and record weeks at No. 1 Main article: 2021 Novak Djokovic tennis season Djokovic began his 2021 season by playing for Serbia as the defending champions in the ATP Cup, but the nation was eliminated in the group stage despite Djokovic winning both his singles matches. He then went on to win his 18th major title and record-extending ninth title at the Australian Open, with a straight sets victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final. On 1 March, Djokovic equaled Federer's Open Era record of 310 weeks at world No. 1. The following week, he surpassed that mark and has extended the record in his own right. Djokovic skipped the Dubai Open and the Miami Masters in order to recover from an abdominal tear he suffered in Australia. Djokovic next played at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he defeated the Miami runner-up Jannik Sinner in straight sets. However, he ended up losing his third round match to Dan Evans in straight sets. Djokovic then played at the Serbia Open for the first time since 2011 before the tournament was suspended in 2012, defeating Kwon Soon-woo and compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic before losing his semifinal match to Aslan Karatsev in three sets. At the Italian Open, Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas and Lorenzo Sonego en route to the final, where he lost in three sets to longtime rival Rafael Nadal.
At the French Open, Djokovic advanced to the final after defeating Rafael Nadal in the semifinals in four sets. It marked Nadal's second loss to Djokovic at the event, along with it being the only loss Nadal has suffered in the semifinals at the event. In the final, Djokovic came back from two sets down to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets. He became the first man in the Open Era to win a Major after coming back from 0–2 in sets in two separate matches, having done so also in the fourth round against Lorenzo Musetti. With the title, Djokovic became only the third man to win all four Grand Slam singles tournaments at least twice after Roy Emerson in 1967 and Rod Laver in 1969, and the first to accomplish a double career Grand Slam in the Open Era. Moreover, he became the first and only man to win every Major, ATP Masters and ATP Finals at least twice.
Djokovic's grass-court season began at the Mallorca Championships, where he competed in doubles alongside Carlos Gómez-Herrera. The team advanced to the final, where they withdrew before the match due to an injury to Gómez-Herrera. At the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, Djokovic recorded the 100th grass-court win of his career by defeating Márton Fucsovics in the quarterfinal. He then defeated Denis Shapovalov to advance to his 30th Major final, where he defeated Matteo Berrettini to claim his sixth Wimbledon title and equal Federer and Nadal's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles. It also marked his third career-year of winning three majors, after 2011 and 2015. Djokovic became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon Championships in the same year and the second player to win Majors on three different surfaces in the same year, after Nadal in 2010. Djokovic also became the fifth man to achieve the 'Channel Slam', by winning both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same calendar year.
Djokovic opened his summer hard court season at the Tokyo Olympics, where he sought to improve on his bronze medal result from Beijing 2008. However, he lost in the semifinals to Alexander Zverev, and then to Pablo Carreño Busta in the bronze medal match. Djokovic also competed in mixed doubles partnering Nina Stojanovic. The pair lost their semifinal match to Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina to set up a bronze medal clash against WTA singles No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and John Peers. However, following his loss to Carreño Busta in singles, Djokovic and Stojanovic pulled out of the bronze medal match, with Djokovic citing a shoulder injury, giving Barty and Peers a walkover win and the bronze medal.
Djokovic then entered the US Open vying to be the third man in history to achieve the Grand Slam, a feat in men's singles achieved only by Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969. He began with wins over qualifier Holger Rune and Tallon Griekspoor. In the third round, Djokovic faced former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori and dropped the first set, but won the next three sets to advance to the fourth round to face wildcard Jenson Brooksby, where he again lost the first set but rallied to win the subsequent three. He next faced Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals, in a rematch of their Wimbledon final encounter, and again won in four sets after losing the opening set. In the semifinals, he encountered Alexander Zverev in a rematch of their Olympic semifinal encounter, and prevailed after five sets. He faced Daniil Medvedev in the final, where he lost in straight sets, ending his chances of winning the Grand Slam. However, he nonetheless repeated his 2015 feat of reaching all four major finals in a season, and equaled Federer's record of 31 men's singles major finals reached.
At the Rolex Paris Masters, Djokovic defeated Marton Fucsovics, Gael Monfils, Taylor Fritz, and Hubert Hurkacz en route to the final. By reaching the final, Djokovic secured the year-end number 1 ranking for a record seventh time, which broke a tie with Pete Sampras. In the final, he avenged his US Open final loss to Daniil Medvedev in three sets to win his sixth title at the event, as well as win a record 37th ATP Masters 1000 title, breaking his tie with Rafael Nadal.
At the 2021 ATP Finals, Djokovic was defeated in three sets in the semifinal by Zverev, although he won all three matches in his group. Tournament's finalists, Zverev and Medvedev were the only players to defeat Djokovic in 2021 in either Grand Slam or Olympics elimination match. Djokovic finished the season by leading Serbia to the semifinals of 2021 Davis Cup Finals, where they lost to the Croatia in deciding doubles match.
2022: Australian Open controversy Main article: 2022 Novak Djokovic tennis season See also: § Opposition to COVID-19 vaccine, and 2022 Australian Open § COVID-19 vaccination and visa controversies Djokovic was set to begin his 2022 season by participating in the ATP Cup but pulled out. Next was the Australian Open where he is a three-time defending champion. Djokovic was one of 'a handful' of players and staff to be granted a medical exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination by Tennis Australia and the Department of Health of the state government of Victoria. He travelled to Melbourne on 5 January but was detained by the Australian Border Force after they determined he did not meet the entry requirements for an unvaccinated traveler. His visa was cancelled and he was held in an immigration detention hotel with refugees and asylum-seekers for several days awaiting a court hearing. On 10 January the Federal Circuit and Family Court ruled in favor of Djokovic, ordered his release from detention and directed the federal government to pay his legal expenses.
Rivalries See also: Big Three and List of tennis rivalries Djokovic vs. Nadal Main article: Djokovic–Nadal rivalry Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have met 58 times, including in all four Grand Slam finals, an Open-Era record for head-to-head meetings between male players, and Djokovic leads 30–28. Djokovic leads on hard courts 20–7, while Nadal leads on clay 19–8, and they are tied on grass 2–2. They have played a joint-record 17 Grand Slam matches with Nadal winning 10, and a joint-record nine Grand Slam tournament finals with Nadal winning five. Djokovic is the first player to have at least ten match wins against Nadal and the only person to defeat Nadal seven times consecutively. The two share the record for the longest Grand Slam final match ever played, at the 2012 Australian Open final.
In the 2011 Wimbledon final, Djokovic won in four sets, which was his first victory over Nadal in a Major. Djokovic also defeated Nadal in the 2011 US Open Final to capture his third major title of the year and fourth overall. By beating Nadal, Djokovic became the second player to defeat Nadal in more than one Grand Slam final, and the first player to beat Nadal in a Slam final on a surface other than grass. In 2012, Djokovic defeated Nadal in the Australian Open final which made Nadal the first male player to lose in three consecutive Grand Slam finals.
At the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April, Nadal finally beat Djokovic for the first time since November 2010. They had met in seven finals from January 2011 to January 2012, all of which Djokovic won. Nadal again defeated Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters tournament.
At the 2012 French Open, Djokovic faced Nadal in the final. For the second time in tennis history, two tennis players played four consecutive Grand Slams finals against each other. They also became the only players in history, except for Venus and Serena Williams, to have faced the same opponent in the final of each of the four different Grand Slam events. Nadal eventually won in four sets after multiple rain delays that forced the final to be concluded on the following Monday afternoon.
In 2013, Djokovic defeated Nadal in straight sets in the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters to clinch his first title in Monte Carlo. This was his third clay win against Nadal. At the 2013 French Open semifinal, Nadal defeated Djokovic to up his record to 20–15 against Djokovic, and again at the 2013 Rogers Cup semifinal. On 9 September 2013, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the 2013 US Open final in four sets. In 2014, Djokovic defeated Nadal in 3 sets at the Rome Masters tournament to claim his third title there. At the 2014 French Open, they played in the final, with Djokovic again attempting to capture the Career Grand Slam. Nadal won in four sets to capture the French Open for the ninth time.
At the 2015 French Open, Djokovic finally defeated the nine-time champion and five-time consecutive defending champion at the French Open, thus ending Nadal's 39-match win streak at this tournament. He became only the second man in history to have defeated Nadal at the tournament, and the first to do so in straight sets.
At the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, the two-faced each other in the semifinals. This match became their second-longest match and just their third five-set meeting, stretching for 5 hours and 17 minutes over two days. Djokovic broke Nadal in the final game of the fifth set to win 10–8, after saving three break points at 7–7 which would have allowed Nadal to serve for the match. This was Nadal's first defeat in the semifinals of a Grand Slam since the 2009 US Open, and his first ever defeat in the semifinals of Wimbledon.
At the 2019 Australian Open, Djokovic defeated Nadal in straight sets in the final. At the 2020 French Open, Nadal defeated Djokovic in straight sets in the final.
At the 2021 French Open, Djokovic beat Nadal in the semifinal in four sets. In doing so, he became the first player to have beaten Nadal twice at the French Open.
Djokovic vs. Federer Main article: Djokovic–Federer rivalry
Djokovic and Federer after their semifinal match at the 2011 US Open. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have faced each other 50 times, and Djokovic currently leads 27–23. Djokovic leads on hard courts 20–18 as well as grass 3–1, whereas they are split 4–4 on clay. They have played a joint-record 17 Grand Slam matches. Djokovic is the only player other than Nadal who has defeated Federer in consecutive Grand Slam tournament matches. Federer ended Djokovic's 41-match winning start to the 2011 season at the 2011 French Open semi-finals. However, Federer would lose to Djokovic in the following year in straight sets. Djokovic played Federer in his first Major final at the 2007 US Open and lost in three sets.
Djokovic has more wins against Federer than any other player. The two had three encounters at the Australian Open, which Federer won in straight sets in 2007 and Djokovic won in straight sets in the other two. The two have met five years in a row at the US Open with Federer triumphant in their first three encounters, while their last two meetings were five-set matches in which Djokovic saved two match points before going on to win. In 2012, Djokovic lost to Federer in the Wimbledon semi-final. Djokovic won the 2012 ATP Finals by defeating Federer in straight sets in the final. The two met again during the finals of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships with Djokovic emerging victorious after a five-set match and with the victory reclaiming the No. 1 ranking from Nadal. Federer withdrew from the final of 2014 ATP Finals and Djokovic successfully defended his title, it was the first final walkover in the tournament's 45-year history. In the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, despite 'an extraordinary second-set tiebreaker in which Federer saved seven set points to level the match', Djokovic went on to claim a four-set victory and even the lifetime record between the two players. The two met again in another Grand Slam final in 2015, this time at the 2015 US Open, where Djokovic defeated Federer in four tight sets to claim his second US Open title and tenth Grand Slam.
The two would also meet in the 2016 Australian Open semi-finals, where Djokovic played virtually flawless tennis in the first two sets to eventually claim a four-set victory en route to capturing a record sixth Australian Open and his 11th Grand Slam title.
At the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, Djokovic and Federer met for a third time in Wimbledon final where Djokovic prevailed in five sets in an almost 5 hour match. The two would meet for a last time in the 2020 Australian Open semifinals, Djokovic won in straight sets.
Djokovic vs. Murray Main article: Djokovic–Murray rivalry Djokovic and Andy Murray have met 36 times with Djokovic leading 25–11. Djokovic leads 5–1 on clay, 20–8 on hard courts, and Murray leads 2–0 on grass. The two are almost exactly the same age, with Murray being a week older than Djokovic. They went to training camp together, and Murray won the first match they ever played as teenagers. The pair have met 19 times in finals, and Djokovic leads 11–8. Ten of the finals were Masters finals, and they are tied at 5–5. Their most notable match in this category was a three-set thriller at the final of the 2012 Shanghai Masters, in which Murray held five championship point opportunities in the second set; however, Djokovic saved each of them, forcing a deciding set. He eventually prevailed to win his first Shanghai Masters title, ending Murray's 12–0 winning streak at the event. This, and the three-set match they played in Rome in 2011, were voted the ATP Tour match of the Year, for each respective season. They have also met in seven Grand Slam tournament finals: The 2011 Australian Open, the 2012 US Open, the 2013 Australian Open, the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, the 2015 Australian Open, the 2016 Australian Open and most recently, the 2016 French Open. Djokovic has won in Australia four times and won at the French Open, while it was Murray who emerged the victor at the US Open and Wimbledon.
Djokovic and Murray also played an almost five-hour-long semi-final match in the 2012 Australian Open, which Djokovic won 7–5 in the fifth set after Murray led two sets to one. Murray and Djokovic met again in 2012 at the London 2012 Olympic Games, with Murray winning in straight sets. The two met in the final of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, where second seed Murray defeated Djokovic in straight sets, the first time since 2010 that Djokovic had failed to win a set in a Grand Slam match. In the final of the 2015 Paris Masters, Djokovic triumphed in two sets and became the first man to win six Masters tournaments in one season. At the 2016 Australian Open final, in a rematch of the previous final, Djokovic won in three sets and captured his sixth Australian Open title.
In the 2016 clay court season, Djokovic and Murray met in the final of the 2016 Mutua Madrid Open, where Djokovic captured his record-breaking 29th Masters title in three sets. One week later, however, Murray comfortably beat Djokovic in straight sets in the 2016 Internazionali BNL d'Italia final, denying Djokovic his 30th Masters crown and interrupting his path to becoming the first player to break through the 100 million dollar prize money mark. At the apex of the clay court season, the 2016 French Open, Djokovic and Murray met once again at the final. Despite losing the first set 3–6, Djokovic went on to win the next three sets 6–1, 6–2, 6–4 and claim his maiden French Open title. This win completed Djokovic's Career Grand Slam and denied Murray his first French Open title. In November 2016, Murray beat Djokovic in straight sets 6–3, 6–4, at the ATP Finals in London to finish the year as No. 1.
Djokovic vs. Wawrinka Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have met 25 times with Djokovic leading 19–6, however, the two have contested numerous close matches, including four five-setters at Grand Slam level. Wawrinka and Djokovic have played three consecutive Australian Open years, each match going to five sets, and a five-setter in the US Open: in the 2013 Australian Open fourth round, which Djokovic won 12–10 in a fifth set; at the 2013 US Open semi-finals, which Djokovic won 6–4 in a fifth set; and at the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinals, which Wawrinka won 9–7 in a close fifth set. Wawrinka's win broke Djokovic's impressive run of 14 consecutive semi-finals in Grand Slam play, ended a 28-match winning streak, and prevented Djokovic from capturing a record fifth Australian Open crown. Djokovic got revenge in the 2015 Australian Open, winning 6–0 in the fifth set, but again it went the distance. At the 2015 French Open final, Wawrinka defeated Djokovic in four sets to claim his second major title. In 2015, Djokovic defeated Wawrinka at the Paris Masters. At the 2016 US Open, Wawrinka beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam final for the second time. Suffering from a foot injury for the latter stages of the match, Djokovic lost in four sets. He did not attribute his loss to the injury, but rather to Wawrinka's courageous play at decisive moments in the match. Contrary to most high-profile rivalries, they have played doubles together.
Despite Djokovic's 19–6 overall record against Wawrinka, Wawrinka leads Djokovic 2–0 in Grand Slam finals and 3–2 in all ATP finals. During Djokovic's run of thirteen appearances at Grand Slam finals from 2014 Wimbledon through the 2020 Australian Open, his only two losses came at the hands of Wawrinka.
Djokovic vs. Tsonga Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have met 23 times with Djokovic leading 17–6. Their first meeting was in the final of the 2008 Australian Open; Djokovic and Tsonga had defeated the top two players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their respective semi-finals in straight sets. Djokovic won this match in 4 sets to win his first Grand Slam singles title.
Their next meeting at a Grand Slam event was again at the Australian Open, in the 2010 quarterfinals, exactly two years to the day since Djokovic defeated Tsonga to win his first Grand Slam singles title. However, this time it was Tsonga who prevailed, winning in five sets after Djokovic fell ill during the match. It would be another year-and-a-half until they met again, with the stakes even higher – in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2011, with the winner advancing to his first Wimbledon final. It was their first meeting on grass, and Djokovic prevailed in four sets to advance to his first Wimbledon final, and in the process ending the seven-and-a-half-year reign of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings. At the 2012 French Open, Djokovic and Tsonga met again in an important quarterfinals match, with Djokovic prevailing in five sets after more than four hours of play.
They met again two months later at the Olympics, with Djokovic winning in straight sets in the quarterfinals. They met in the final of the 2012 China Open, with Djokovic once again victorious in straight sets. The pair were drawn in the same pool for the 2012 ATP Finals. Djokovic defeated Tsonga in his first round robin matches. It was Djokovic's fifth win over Tsonga in 2012.
Their most recent Grand Slam tournament meeting was in the second round of the 2019 Australian Open. Djokovic defeated Tsonga in straight sets.
Djokovic vs. del Potro Djokovic and Juan Martín del Potro have met 20 times with Djokovic leading 16–4. Djokovic won their first four meetings, before back to back victories for del Potro at the 2011 Davis Cup and their Bronze medal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics in straight sets. However, in 2013, Djokovic got the upper hand on the rivalry again and won two of the most important matches between them to date; an epic five-setter at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships semifinals which was the longest Wimbledon semifinal at the time, and a thrilling three-setter at the 2013 Shanghai Masters final. In the same year, del Potro defeated Djokovic en route to his second Masters final, at the 2013 Indian Wells Masters, where he lost to Nadal. Del Potro upset Djokovic in the first round at the 2016 Olympics in Rio en route to the final, where he lost to Murray. Djokovic defeated del Potro in three close sets in the final of the 2018 US Open, which was the first grand slam final for del Potro since his victory at the 2009 US Open.
Djokovic vs. Nishikori Djokovic and Nishikori have met 20 times with Djokovic leading 18–2.They have met 7 times in Grand Slam matches with Djokovic leading 6–1. In the 2014 US Open semifinals, Nishikori defeated Djokovic en route to his first Grand Slam final.
Legacy Djokovic is considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Some observers, tennis players and coaches describe Djokovic as the greatest of all time because he won the trophies with victories against the top players and the biggest rivals in one of the strongest eras of tennis. Currently, Djokovic leads the head-to-head record against all members of the Big Three and he has the highest number of Slams won beating a Big Three member en route. Furthermore, he beat on average higher-ranked players on the way to the Grand Slam trophies than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Pat Cash emphasized that Djokovic is one of two players who beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open, which he considers to be 'the biggest challenge in tennis'. Richard Krajicek and The Roar, sports opinion website, said that Djokovic should be considered for the greatest player of all time because he is the only one among his greatest rivals who has won four Grand Slams in a row. Following the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, Andrew Castle said that Djokovic has already surpassed Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the greatest because he is the only one of the trio who has won each of the grand slams more than once. Patrick Mouratoglou stated "Novak is the most complete player of all times. That enables him to find the solution to most of the problems on court and this, on every surface. It explains why he is now in the best position to become the GOAT'. Djokovic is widely considered to be one of the greatest returners in the history of the sport, an accolade given to him even by Andre Agassi, who was considered to be the best returner ever. Though staying clear of best ever conversations, tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has continually been praising Djokovic as the 'most complete player ever' and the 'most perfect player of all time':
When you look at match players in the history of tennis, I don't believe that anybody can equal everything on the court that Djokovic does. I don't think you can find a weakness in his game. His movement, personality, his return of serve, his serve, excellent touch, not hesitant in coming to the net, great serve. Overall, almost every player has a downfall; to me, he doesn't have one. He's perhaps the best put-together player that I've seen over 60 years.
Tennis pundits have classified many of Djokovic's matches as some of the greatest contests ever, with the 2012 Australian Open final being considered one of the greatest matches ever seen. Some longtime analysts claim that the Djokovic–Nadal rivalry ranks as the best rivalry in tennis history primarily because of the quality of matches they produce.
Playing style and equipment Djokovic is an aggressive baseline player. His groundstrokes from both wings are consistent, deep, and penetrating. His backhand is widely regarded as one of the best in today's game, due to its effectiveness on both sides of the court. His best shot is his backhand down the line, with great pace and precision. He excels at returning serve in particular, and regularly ranks among the tour leaders in return points, return games, and break points won. After great technical difficulties during the 2009 season, his serve is one of his major weapons again, winning him many free points; his first serve is typically hit flat, while he prefers to slice and kick his second serves wide. He has also led the ATP Tour in their career 'Under Pressure Rating' statistic, in part because of his prowess at winning deciding sets.
Djokovic serving at the Eastbourne International in 2017. Djokovic has been described as one of the fittest and most complete athletes in sports history, with high agility, court coverage and mobility, which allows him to hit winners from seemingly indefensible positions. Because of this, coupled with flexibility and length, he rarely gets aced. Todd Martin, who coached Djokovic between 2009 and 2010, noted that:
His athleticism is from another world. His return of serve is way better than any other return of serve ever and I mean way better. Nobody has gotten so many balls back and neutralized so many good serves.
Djokovic's return of serve is a powerful weapon for him, with which he can be both offensive and defensive. He is highly efficient off both the forehand and backhand return, often getting the return in play deep with pace, neutralizing the advantage the server usually has in a point. Occasionally, Djokovic employs a well-disguised backhand underspin drop shot and sliced backhand. His smash is considered to be one of his biggest weaknesses, being prone to making mistakes on the shot in big moments such as the 2008 Olympics.
Djokovic commented on the modern style of play, including his own, in an interview with Jim Courier after his semi-final win against Andy Murray in the 2012 Australian Open tournament:
I had a big privilege and honour to meet personally today Mr. Laver, and he is one of the biggest, and greatest players ever to play the game, thank you for staying this late, sir, thank you... even though it would actually be better if we played a couple times serve and volley, but we don't know to play... we are mostly around here, we are running, you know, around the baseline...
Entering the pro circuit, Djokovic used the Head Liquidmetal Radical, but changed sponsors to Wilson in 2005. He couldn't find a Wilson racquet he liked, so Wilson agreed to make him a custom racquet to match his previous one with Head. After the 2008 season, Djokovic re-signed with Head, and debuted a new paint job of the Head YouTek Speed Pro at the 2009 Australian Open. He then switched to the Head YouTek IG Speed paint job in 2011, and in 2013, he again updated his paint job to the Head Graphene Speed Pro, which included an extensive promotional campaign. Djokovic uses a hybrid of Head Natural Gut in the mains and Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough in the crosses. He also uses Head Synthetic Leather Grip as a replacement grip. In 2012, Djokovic appeared in a television commercial with Maria Sharapova promoting the use of Head rackets for many techniques such as golf and ten-pin bowling.
In assessing Djokovic's 2011 season, Jimmy Connors said that Djokovic gives his opponents problems by playing 'a little bit old-school, taking the ball earlier, catching the ball on the rise, driving the ball flat.' Connors adds that a lot of the topspin that Djokovic's opponents drive at him comes right into his zone, thus his ability to turn defense into offense well.
Coaching and personal team See also: Novak Djokovic coaches In the period 2004 and 2005, Djokovic was coached by Dejan Petrovic. From fall 2005 until June 2006, he was coached by Riccardo Piatti, who divided his time between the 18-year-old and Ivan Ljubicic. Player and coach reportedly parted ways over the latter's refusal to work full-time with Djokovic.
From June 2006 until May 2017, Djokovic was coached by Slovakian former professional tennis player Marián Vajda. They met for the first time during that year's French Open, after which Vajda was hired to be the 19-year-old's coach. On occasion Djokovic employed additional coaches on part-time basis: in 2007, during the spring hardcourt season, he worked with Australian doubles ace Mark Woodforde with specific emphasis on volleys and net play while from August 2009 until April 2010 American Todd Martin joined the coaching team, a period marked by his ill-fated attempt to change Djokovic's serve motion. From early 2007 until 2017, Djokovic worked with physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic, who was previously employed by Red Star Belgrade, and NBA player Vladimir Radmanovic.
From the fall 2006, Djokovic had an Israeli fitness coach, Ronen Bega, but the two parted ways during spring 2009. Djokovic decided to make a change after identifying his conditioning as a weakness in his game following continual losses to Nadal. In April 2009, ahead of the Rome Masters, Djokovic hired Austrian Gebhard Phil-Gritsch to join the team in fitness coach capacity.
In July 2010, before the Davis Cup clash away at Croatia, Djokovic made another addition to his team – Igor Cetojevic, a Serbian nutritionist and proponent of traditional medicine living in Cyprus, who influenced Djokovic's diet. A gluten-free diet appeared to have worked as Djokovic began feeling stronger, quicker, and much more fit. After Djokovic's Wimbledon win in July 2011, Cetojevic left the team.
After retiring from professional tennis in August 2011, Serbian player Dušan Vemic joined Djokovic's team as assistant coach and hitting partner for Novak. The collaboration ended before the 2013 US Open.
Six-time major champion and former world No. 1 Boris Becker, who had mostly worked as television pundit for BBC Sport and Sky Sports since retiring from playing in 1999, was announced as Djokovic's new head coach in December 2013. According to Djokovic, the Becker appointment was done with input from the player's existing head coach Marián Vajda who reportedly wanted to spend more time with his family and was looking to have his coaching workload somewhat reduced. For Becker, in addition to working alongside Vajda, the job entailed special emphasis on Grand Slam tournaments as Djokovic felt he missed out on winning a couple of majors over the previous two seasons due to a lack of mental edge in the final stages of those tournaments. Becker's first tournament coaching Djokovic was the 2014 Australian Open.
On 5 May 2017, Djokovic confirmed that he had come to a mutual agreement to terminate his coaching relationship with Vajda, as well as Phil-Gritsch and Amanovic. In a statement on his website, Djokovic cited the reasons for the personnel shakeup: 'Novak and the team members decided to part ways after a detailed analysis of the game, achieved results in the previous period, and also after discussing private plans of each team member. Despite the fantastic cooperation so far, Djokovic felt he needed to make a change, and to introduce new energy in order to raise his level of play.'
Djokovic reunited with Marian Vajda in April 2018 for the Monte Carlo Masters. On 30 June 2019, Djokovic confirmed that he also added former world No. 2 and Wimbledon champion Goran Ivaniševic to his coaching team.
Off the court Philanthropy
Kindergarten in Jalovik village built by the Novak Djokovic Foundation. In 2007, Djokovic founded the Novak Djokovic Foundation. The organization's mission is to help children from disadvantaged communities to grow up and develop in stimulating and safe environments. The foundation partnered with the World Bank in August 2015 to promote early childhood education in Serbia. His foundation has built 43 schools and supported almost 20,800 children and a thousand families.
He participated in charity matches with the aim of raising funds for the reconstruction of the Avala Tower, as well as to aid victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and 2010–11 Queensland floods. Starting in 2007, he has established a tradition of hosting and socializing with hundreds of Kosovo Serb children during Davis Cup matches organized in Serbia. Djokovic was selected as the 2012 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year, for his contributions through the foundation, his role as a UNICEF national ambassador and other charitable projects. In August 2015, he was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
During the 2014 Balkans floods, he sparked worldwide financial and media support for victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. After winning the 2014 Rome Masters, Djokovic donated his prize money to the flood victims in Serbia, while his foundation collected another $600,000. Following his 2016 Australian Open victory, Djokovic donated $20,000 to Melbourne City Mission's early childhood education programm to help disadvantaged children. After the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Serbia in March 2020, he and his wife announced that they will donate €1 million for the purchase of ventilators and medical equipment to support hospitals and other medical institutions. He also made a donation to Bergamo, Italy‚ one of the worst-affected Italian provinces, as well as to Novi Pazar, Serbia and North Mitrovica, Kosovo.
Sponsorships and business ventures Djokovic endorses Serbian telecommunications company Telekom Srbija and German nutritional supplement brand FitLine.
Since turning professional in 2003, Djokovic has been wearing Adidas clothing. At the end of 2009, Djokovic signed a 10-year deal with the Italian clothing company Sergio Tacchini after Adidas refused to extend his clothing contract. Tacchini doesn't make shoes so Djokovic continued with Adidas as his choice of footwear. His sponsorship contract with Tacchini was incentive heavy, and due to Djokovic's disproportionate success and dominance in 2011, the company fell behind on bonus payments, leading to the termination of the sponsorship contract.
From 2011, Djokovic began to wear custom Red and Blue Adidas Barricade 6.0's shoes, referring to the colours of the Serbian national flag. By April 2012, the Tacchini deal had fallen first short and then apart. At that point, he was set to join forces with Nike, Inc., but instead, on 23 May 2012, Uniqlo appointed Djokovic as its global brand ambassador. The five-year sponsorship, reportedly worth €8 million per year, began on 27 May 2012 in Paris' Roland-Garros French Open Tennis Tournament. A year later, Djokovic's long-term footwear deal with Adidas was announced ahead of 2013 French Open.
In August 2011, Djokovic became the brand ambassador of Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet. Less than a month later, Djokovic signed a sponsorship deal with German car company Mercedes-Benz. In March 2012, Djokovic was announced by Bombardier Aerospace as its latest Learjet brand ambassador, thus joining the likes of actor and pilot John Travolta, architect Frank Gehry, maestro Valery Gergiev, and classical pianist Lang Lang. From January 2014 Djokovic has been endorsing French car manufacturer Peugeot. At the same time he entered into an endorsement deal with Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko, having just ended his affiliation with their rivals Audemars Piguet. In early 2015, ahead of the Australian Open, Djokovic teamed up with Australian banking corporation ANZ for a social media campaign to raise money for local communities across the Asia Pacific region. At the same time his partnership with Jacob's Creek, an Australian wine brand owned by Orlando Wines, was announced in regards to the production and distribution of 'Made By' film series, a documentary style content meant to 'show a side of Novak not seen before as he recounts never before told life stories from Belgrade, Serbia, celebrating what has made him the champion he is toda'y.
Since 2004, the business end of Djokovic's career has been handled by Israeli managers Amit Naor and Allon Khakshouri, the duo that also had Marat Safin and Dinara Safina as their clients. In June 2008, after the duo entered into a partnership with CAA Sports, the sports division of Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency, meaning that the famous company started representing tennis players for the first time, Djokovic formally signed with CAA Sports. After Djokovic's contract with CAA Sports expired during summer 2012, he decided to switch representation, announcing IMG Worldwide as his new representatives in December 2012.
On 22 May 2017, Djokovic was unveiled as a brand ambassador of Lacoste after a five-year partnership with Uniqlo.
During the 2021 US Open, some people in Djokovic's player box wore hats and shirts bearing the logo of Raiffeisen Bank International, the central back of one of the two largest banking cooperatives in Austria. In April 2021, Djokovic became a brand ambassador for RBI and its subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe. The bank will help to support Djokovic's tennis academy in Belgrade. Djokovic did not wear the RBI logo, but he did wear on his shirt the logo of UKG, an American workforce management and human resource management company. People in his box wore the logo on hats as well. UKG lists Djokovic as one of their sponsored athletes.
Investments In 2005, as Djokovic moved up the tennis rankings, he began venturing into the business world. Most of his activities in the business arena have been channeled through Family Sport, a legal entity in Serbia established and run by members of his immediate family. Registered as a limited liability company, Family Sport initially focused on hospitality, specifically the restaurant business, by launching Novak Café & Restaurant, a franchise themed around Djokovic's tennis success. Over time, the company, whose day-to-day operations are mostly handled by Novak's father Srdjan and uncle Goran, expanded its activities into real estate, sports/entertainment event organization, and sports apparel distribution.
The company launched Novak Café & Restaurant in 2008 in the Belgrade municipality of Novi Beograd, the flagship location in a franchised chain of theme café-restaurants. During 2009, two more locations were added—one in Kragujevac and the other in Belgrade, the city's second, in September at the neighbourhood of Dorcol overlooking the playing courts of Serbia Open whose inaugural edition took place several months earlier. On 16 December 2011 a location in Novi Sad was opened, however, it operated just over three years before closing in late March 2015. Banja Luka in neighbouring Bosnia got its Novak Café & Restaurant location on 16 October 2015 within Hotel Trešnja on Banj hill.
In 2009, the company bought a 250-series ATP tournament known as the Dutch Open and moved it to Serbia where it was renamed the Serbia Open. With the help of Belgrade city authorities, the tournament's inaugural edition was held during May 2009 at the city-owned 'Milan Gale Muškatirovic' courts, located at an attractive spot in Dorcol neighbourhood. The tournament folded in 2012 after four editions and its place in the ATP calendar got taken over by the Düsseldorf Open.
In May 2015, right after winning his fourth Rome Masters title, Djokovic launched a line of nutritional food products, called Djokolife. On 10 April 2016, while in town for the Monte-Carlo Masters, Djokovic opened a vegan restaurant called Eqvita in Monte Carlo. The restaurant reportedly closed in March 2019.