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. Anno Domini 2011. An exciting season for Djokovic. The Serb won 10 titles in 11 finals played. At the Australian Open, he played his fourth final in a Major. By beating Andy Murray in the final he won his second Slam, confirming once again a great champion.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg of his year. The season was mainly characterized by his challenge against Rafael Nadal. In previous challenges against Spaniard before 2011, Nole won seven of 23 matches. In 2011 he won six in six matches played!
Nole was able to make the Sunshine Double: after the victory in Melbourne, he won both in Indian Wells and Miami, twice beating his Spanish rival. With the start of the clay season and the victory in Belgrade, Djokovic challenged Nadal in Madrid and Rome, winning both times.
At Roland Garros, for the first time in his career, he had the chance to become the new world no. 1: he should have reached the final for this goal, but he was beaten by Roger Federer in the semi-final, in four sets. That appointment with history was only postponed.
In Wimbledon, after the victory against Tsonga, he became the 25th number 1 in the history of men's tennis. Two days later he defeated Rafael Nadal again in the Championships final, winning his third Slam and triumphing for the first time on the lawns of the All England Club.
"He is kind, but unfortunately he plays in the Federer and Nadal's era. Before he was world no. 3 and people were fine with it, but when he became the world no. 1 they didn't accept it. I suffer a lot for this thing," said Dijana Djokovic, Nole's mother, after last year's Wimbledon victory against Federer.
After winning the Rogers Cup, Djokovic was also the favorite at the US Open. During the New York Slam he defeated Federer first and then won in the final against Nadal, beating the Spaniard for the umpteenth time and winning his fourth Slam.
In an interview a few years ago about his best memory at the US Open, he said: "Obviously, when I won the two trophies, in 2011 and 2015. But if I had to choose a moment, it would be the 15-40 in the fifth set against Roger Federer in the semifinals of 2011, where I saved two match-points, one of them with an incredible response."
But Novak Djokovic could not have known that an even more incredible situation would happen a few years later.