Novak Djokovic from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Serb's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. Nole was born in Belgrade, on 22nd May 1987 under the zodiac sign of Gemini. Father Srdan and mother Dijana had two other children, also tennis players. Djokovic's passion for tennis grew under NATO bombs during the Yugoslav civil war.
Little Nole began to become passionate about tennis when he was six-years-old: he saw the construction of tennis courts in front of his parents' pizzeria, in Kopaonik. Jelena Gencic, a former professional tennis player, became the coach of those new tennis courts.
Novak was spotted by Gencic in front of the court to see other children play tennis, and she asks him if he wants to play- Novak accepted. The woman immediately turned against the boy's innate talent, training him in tennis and also providing him with a true-life education.
In Belgrade, meanwhile, the NATO bombings continued, even several times during a day, led Djokovic and his young companions to train and play at the Partizan tennis club, considered by everyone to be a true escape route: "From 1991-1992 until 2000 we had the Embargo, the war for bread and milk and for primary things.
Then in '99 the bombs for two and a half months every single night. Every night we wake up because we felt the alarm, the noise of the planes and it was devastating, scary. The worst thing we have ever seen. Many innocent people lost their lives, fortunately, I have not lost any of my loved ones as opposed to other people I know.
It is something that remains forever in your mind. It is something unforgettable and unforgivable, but we cannot condemn a people, an entire nation for these episodes. But seeing the positive side, this has given so much value to my life.
I appreciate more and thanks at that experience I became the person and the player I am now, with more hunger and more desire to work," said Djokovic many years later in an interview. The Serbian's junior career was excellent, but the jump to professionalism came in 2003, year in which Roger Federer won his first Slam, at Wimbledon.
Novak played his first ITF match in Munich, and he soon made his first victory in a Futures tournament, in Serbia in June 2003. In July, Djokovic qualified into the main draw of an ATP event for the first time in the main draw of an ATP event, in Umag, losing however in the first round match against Filippo Volandri.
Only in September, he got his first victory in the main draw of an ATP tournament, in Bucharest, where he defeated Arnaud Clément 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. He ended the season at the 184th of the ATP ranking. In 2005 he managed to qualify and play for the first time in the main draws of all four Slam tournaments.
His improvements were incredible, but nobody could think of his future career, despite his great talent. The following year he won the first titles of his extraordinary career: the beginning of a long history.