Novak Djokovic is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a look back at his career to date, shows why.
In the lead up to the 2016 US Open, the Serbian had 12 Grand Slam titles to his name and was the official world number one on the ATP Tour. At the time of writing, Djokovic has the held the world number one ranking for 213 weeks and is the fourth most successful player in the history of the sport, at Grand Slam events.
Djokovic started his career as a member of the Yugoslav national team at junior level and represented his country at the junior Davis Cup, reaching the final in 2001. However, Djokovic failed to win a junior Grand Slam title, with his best record coming at the Australian Open, reaching the semi-final in 2004.
Having turned professional in 2003, Djokovic played mainly Challenger and Futures events before participating in his first Grand Slam, at the 2005 Australian Open. He was defeated by Marat Safin in the first round, without winning a set. That being said, during the same year, Djokovic went on to reach the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open and qualified for two Masters events.
The following year saw a major breakthrough in Djokovic’s career, as the Serbian broke in to the world top 40 and reached the quarter-final of the French Open. Following the 2006 Wimbledon tournament, Djokovic won his first ATP Tour title at the Dutch Open and moved in to the world top 20. In 2007, Djokovic continued to progress, reaching his first Masters final, winning at Key Biscayne, however, it was at the Rogers Cup where he really placed his first stamp of authority on the ATP Tour, defeating the top three players in the world, to claim the title. Djokovic went on to reach the US Open final that year, his best performance at a Grand Slam.
Djokovic went one better at the start of 2008, winning the Australian Open, his first Grand Slam title but failed to win any of the other Grand Slams that year. The following year, Djokovic won five titles but none of them were Grand Slams and the same happened in 2010, when his best performance was reaching the final of the US Open. However, 2011 was a real sign of what was to come, as Djokovic won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Djokovic also reached world number one status and it was declared as one of the best years of tennis ever seen, by an individual player.
2011 was the year Djokovic took control at the top of the world game, with Masters and major titles to follow in every year since. However, 2016 will be a year Djokovic will always remember, as he completed the career Grand Slam, by winning the French Open. Interesting how, the first major quarter-final Djokovic ever reached, was at the French Open, yet it was the one title he has struggled to win ever since.
There can be no doubt, Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players on the history of the sport. The question is, what more does he have in store for us, in the latter stages of his career?