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. 2017 was a very complicated season for Djokovic. First Nole separated from Boris Becker, who has been his super coach since 2013, then from the rest of his historical team, including Marjan Vajda.
The moral of the Serb was broken and the results on the court are very disappointing. Djokovic looked like a different player, lacking the mental and athletic strength of the better days. The victories of 2015 and 2016 had drained him of all internal energy.
That season was dominated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with Nole destined to play the role of supporting actor. The painful defeats and disappointing performances put many doubts about his future. After the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2017, he announced the beginning of his collaboration with Andre Agassi starting from the French Open.
The partnership will not be successful: "I tried to help Novak with all the best intentions, but too often we found ourselves at odds: I wish him the best and to get through this moment. I think he had real hope that his elbow could be treated naturally, but I was not very supportive of this choice.
Health is important for everyone. Taking care of your body, making difficult decisions, taking the necessary time and moving forward methodically. Rest, in my opinion, was not appropriate," said Agassi. The partnership between Djokovic and Agassi ended in March 2018.
Marjan Vajda rejoined his team and, after a bad showing at Roland Garros, things changed. From July 2016 to July 2018, Djokovic won three titles, from Wimbledon 2018 to the Australian Open 2020 he won 11, including 5 Slams.
The old certainties gave Djokovic new lifeblood: the victory at Wimbledon 2018 against Kevin Anderson was the starting point of his second professional life at the top. A new Slam triumph at the US Open, this time against Juan Martin del Potro.
A crazy second half of 2018. With the victory in Cincinnati, he also became the only player to have won all the Masters 1000 and to complete the Career Golden Masters. 2019 was even more legendary, with the 7th Australian Open (record) victory in the final against Rafael Nadal and, above all, the incredible and unforgettable victory in the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer.
That was an epic, legendary and dramatic match. In the fifth set, Federer had two match-points on his service, but Novak canceled them and won an epochal challenge: "If not the most exciting, this was one of the best finals I've ever played, against one of the greatest of all time, for which I have a lot of respect.
Unfortunately in this kind of match one of the two must ultimately lose. Roger said to give other 37-year-olds hope, but he certainly inspires me. When I was a five-year-old boy I dreamed of becoming a tennis player: I wanted to play and win here because it's a super-special thing.
And now I want to share this trophy with my son and my parents, who suffered in the box. It was a dream come true to have won in front of them." he said at the end of that match. In 2020 he started the season by winning the Australian Open (eighth title at Melbourne and 17th Slam) against Dominic Thiem and Dubai against Stefanos Tsistipas.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic which interrupted the season, but when everyone returns to the court, Novak Djokovic will be the man to beat: once again.