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. Djokovic won his first two titles in 2006, despite not having a very positive start to the season. The first joys came to the Dutch Open in Amersfoort and at the Open de Moselle in Metz. In that season he played three finals ending the year as world no.
16 of the ATP ranking. It was in 2007 that he began to win important titles and to achieve the first prestigious goals. That year Nole won his first two ATP Masters 1000 in Miami and at the Montreal Rogers Cup. In total, he won five titles in seven finals played.
In March he played and lost the Indian Wells final against Rafael Nadal, while in September he managed to get the US Open final, where he lost against Roger Federer. That was one of the first real comparisons between the two: a rivalry that then characterized the following years. In 2007 Djokovic was also approached for an alleged match-fixing case: "In 2007, they tried to have me for a match-fixing.
They wanted to offer me $200,000 for a match in St. Petersburg. Obviously I ignored it." In 2008 he played his second consecutive Slam final, at the Autralian Open. In that match, he faced and defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, winning his first Slam and breaking into the elite of world tennis.
That season he also won Indian Wells, the Italian Open and the ATP Finals. A particular episode occurred during the US Open 2008. Before his quarterfinals against Andy Roddick, the American joked about some of Djokovic's alleged physical problems in the previous match against Tommy Robredo: "Do you have ankle problems? Maybe even all other, or in the back or he still suffers from a sore throat, cough or maybe he has contracted bird flu and SARS."
During the match, the New York crowd always whistled Djokovic. At the end of the challenge, the two tennis players almost had a fight, but they managed to clear up. Anyway, before the clarification, Nole said about the crowd: "I am against me because they believe that I am a fake and this is not beautiful."
But that was not the only controversy of 2008. Who does not remember the cold and polite way in which Roger Federer said to Djokovic's box during the Monte-Carlo semifinal: "Be quiet!?" In a subsequent interview, Srdjan Djokovic, Nole's father, talked about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal: "Federer is probably the greatest player ever, but on the human side and off the pitch he is completely the opposite.
Roger tried to discredit my son in every way, just because he understood that Novak was his successor. Rafa was his best friend until Nole started winning. When things changed, their friendship ended. sports behavior." Yet over the next few years, Nole went on to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in head-to-head.