PROFILE OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC
Novak Djokovic is the ATP World No. 1 tennis player currently and has been ranked the World No. 1 at the end of both years, 2011 and 2012. Djokovic, born on May 22, 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia started playing tennis when he was 4. He began his international career at the age of 13. By 16, he had won 5 ITF tournaments and was recognized as 40th in the list of the top junior tennis players. The year 2010 saw Djokovic spearhead the Serbian team to record its first Davis Cup win.
Djokovic has the longest record of 43-unbroken wins, which he achieved in 2011. His biggest achievement in 2011 was winning at Wimbledon and achieving the World No. 1 ranking. Djokovic again made it to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2012 after winning the Australian Open, only to be stopped by Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic was spotted by Jelena Gencic, the legendary Yugoslavian tennis player, when he was 6 years old. Gencic spent 6 years working with Djokovic to improve his game. It was during this time that war broke out in former Yugoslavia. Djokovic has been noted to say that the hardships of the war hardened his determination to play the game better. When he was 13, Gencic made him join the Pilic Academy, Munich for higher level competition, and at 14, Djokovic started his international career.
Jelena Gencic was the first coach to Djokovic. After spending 6 years under her coaching, he joined the Pilic Academy, Munich at the age of 13. He ended his 2011 season as a triple European champion in all forms of the game. Novak won his first ATP Challenger in Budapest in 2004. The next year, he qualified for the Wimbledon and made it to the 3rd round. This helped him move up his rankings, enabling him to come in the Top 100.
Novak Djokovic was born to Srdjan and Dijana Djokovic. He has two younger brothers, who are also professional tennis players. Novak resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Jelena Ristic is Novak’s girlfriend since 2005. Even though, the World No.1 has a world-class training schedule to follow, he has found time to learn other languages including English, Italian and German along with his native language, Serbian.
Djokovic has keen interest in football, with Red Star Belgrade being his favorite home team, and other European favorites being A.C. Milan and S.L. Benfica. Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic, the fellow Serbian tennis player are good friends, as they have known each other since childhood.
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FAITH
Novak Djokovic is a devout Serbian Orthodox Christian. In April 2011, he was awarded the Serbian Orthodox Church’s highest decoration, the Order of St. Sava I class. This was in recognition of his demonstration of love for the church and helping the Serbian people.
FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
According to Andre Agassi, Djokovic along with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is considered to be among the 3 greatest tennis players ever. Rod Laver considers Djokovic as the No. 6 player on his list of Top 10 Open Era male tennis players, while Tim Henman places him among the Top 8 in the history of the game.
During the 2007 season, Novak reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon and French Open. He went on to bag his second masters title by beating all the Top 3 ranking players – Federer, Nadal and Andy Roddick. This feat saw him become the World No. 3. At the 2008 Olympics, Djokovic played for the Serbian national team and won the bronze medal in the singles category. However, in 2010, he led the national team to win the Davis Cup for the first time.
In 2012, Djokovic’s season began on 2nd January at the 2012 ATP World Tour. He had a season record of 87 wins against only 12 losses. Even though, Federer toppled him from the top ATP ranking after his Wimbledon success, Djokovic reclaimed the ranking with his success at the Paris Masters.
In 2011, Djokovic’s win-loss record was 70 to 6. His 2011 season is considered as one of the top tennis seasons in the history of men’s tennis. He continued his undefeated streak into the semifinals of the French Open in June 2011, which helped him compile a record 43-match consecutive wins.
The year 2011 saw Djokovic win 10 tournaments that included 3 Grand Slams – the Wimbledon Championships, the Australian Open and the US Open. He went on to win a record 5 Masters Series 1000 titles including Canada, Miami and Indian Wells, on hard courts, and on clay in Rome and Madrid.
He made his 2011 more memorable by winning the Serbia Open and at Dubai. The 2011 season also saw him defeat Rafael Nadal in 6 finals. The first time he achieved the World No. 1 ranking was in July 2011, and he continued to remain at the top until the end of the season. In addition, Novak Djokovic also set a new record for a season by winning $ 12.6 million in prize money for the ATP World Tour.
According to Djokovic, his 2012-season achievements were higher than what he achieved during the 2011 season, even though he won 3 Grand Slams in 2011 and became the World No. 1. In 2012, he beat Roger Federer to remain at the top by bagging the ATP World Tour Finals title. Djokovic dedicated the victory to his father.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Novak Djokovic has been the top tennis player for 2011 and 2012, having toppled the long-term dominance of Roger Federer. The 2013 tennis season begins with the first major game at Melbourne. According to tennis experts, the next few years would see Djokovic continuing his dominance in the game. The year 2013 is expected to consolidate his dominance that has been seen in the last year. As his form has shown no decline recently, it is considered that he is yet to break many world records.