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. The Serb's 2012 began with the Australian Open victory against Rafael Nadal, the third title in Melbourne, and the fifth Slam of his career. In the year of the London Olympics, Nole won six titles, including the ATP Finals and three ATP Masters 1000s: Miami, Toronto, and Shanghai.
His clay and grass seasons were not very satisfying: he lost the French Open final against Rafael Nadal, the Wimbledon semi-final against Roger Federer, and the Olympic bronze medal play-off against Juan Martin del Potro (at Wimbledon).
His statements were mixed about 2012. In an interview, he said: "2012 was almost like 2011, which was incredible. The season was very competitive with four different Slam winners. It was a very hard year on the Olympic Games, which I remember as a fantastic experience”.
In another interview, in 2015, he said: "In 2011, my best season, where I became number one of the world, I was very happy for winning so much. The following year it was difficult to face all those challenges and defend points.
I got carried away by the distractions off the pitch. But that allowed me to become mentally stronger as a tennis player and a person." 2013 began with the fourth Australian Open victory against Andy Murray, his sixth Slam title.
In that season he won seven titles, including the ATP Finals, Monte-Carlo, Shanghai and Paris-Bercy Masters 1000 events. Yet he was also beaten by Rafael Nadal first in an epic semi-final at the French Open, then in the US Open final.
2014 was a year that started with very painful defeats – such as the Australian Open quarter-final lost against Stan Wawrinka, and the Roland Garros final lost against Nadal – and with the victory of the Sunshine Double and the Italian Open.
From July onwards, things changed. At Wimbledon, he defeated Roger Federer in an epic final, defeating his Swiss rival in five hard-fought sets, winning his 2nd All England Club title and his seventh Slam. A few days later, Nole married Jelena Ristic.
At the wedding, Jelena was already pregnant with their first child, son Stefan, who was born a few months later. “Seeing her for the first time in her wedding dress, smiling and walking towards me... she looked like an angel.
I was focused on her, on her smile and on our baby. It was a perfect moment. I married the woman I love and there is no better feeling. I won Wimbledon and now I'm getting ready to become a father: I couldn't ask for more!" In 2014, Djokovic won seven titles, winning the ATP Finals in London for the third consecutive year.
But his real dominion was yet to begin.