Novak Djokovic's 'curse': the bad record the Serb holds in the Slams

The Serbian champion, even in this edition of the Australian Open, will not be able to break down a particular fact regarding his career in the Majors

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Novak Djokovic's 'curse': the bad record the Serb holds in the Slams
© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic qualified for the second round at the Australian Open 2024, after overcoming, with some problems, the young Croatian Dino Prizmic. The match won by the ATP no.1 brings with it a negative result for Nole, the man who breaks every record.

In fact, in the 24 Slam titles won in his career, the Serbian champion has never managed to triumph without giving up at least one set to his opponents. With the set lost against the Croatian, Djokovic will therefore not be able to break this curse, but he will still be able to go after his 25th slam.

The world number one will be involved in the second round against Popyrin, winner of the Australian derby against Polmans. It matters little for the purposes of the title race, but certainly a small, big setback for a perfectionist like the Serbian champion.

If on the eve of a rather comfortable first round for ATP No.1, the 18-year-old Croatian, coming from the qualifiers, surprised everyone, managing to scare the 36-year-old Serbian and taking a set from him in the tiebreak.

The match ended 6-2 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 for Nole in four hours and one minute of match, in a match that highlighted the not very brilliant form of the 10-time champion in Melbourne. For Djokovic it is the first round in a longest Slam in his career.

The duration of the match against Gael Monfils at the 2005 US Open has therefore been exceeded, when the Serbian won in 3 hours and 57 minutes. In third place in this special ranking was his success in 3 hours and 51 minutes against Rochus at Wimbledon in 2010. It is worth pointing out that on neither occasion did Djokovic manage to win the tournament.

Nole got the 2nd round of the Australian Open 2024

"I've been unwell for the last four or five days as you might have guessed from my voice. That's the way it is. You just have to try to face, overcome and accept the circumstances and try to make the most of them."

Novak Djokovic talked about his condition at the end of the match with Dino Prizmic. The Serbian struggled more than expected and took four hours to reach the second round of the Happy Slam, but on the other side of the net he found a determined opponent capable of putting him in difficulty.

The defending champion therefore had to work overtime and will have to be good at managing the two days he will have available before the next match in the best possible way.

"I will talk to my team to establish the program. We will see whether to skip training on the pitch. I could do some light work in the gym, jogging and exercises to maintain shape. Last year I didn't train between matches 'other, but I was injured. I think two days are quite useful after playing a first round that lasted four hours," said Djokovic in a press conference before focusing on the new policy adopted by the tournament organisers.

Djokovic© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Many spectators entered Rod Laver Arena without waiting for the changeover: "I didn't know anything about this new policy or rule. I understand that the goal is to improve the fan experience, we play for them.

Frances Tiafoe, for example, is one of the tennis players in favor of allowing people to enter freely during matches as in other sports. It's difficult. I understand this and, to a certain extent, I support this idea, but throughout my career I have been accustomed to a certain atmosphere.

When it changes, it distracts you a little. Today we lost a lot of time when they let people in. My opponent was waiting for them to sit down. I don't know if it's really the best rule, but I understand that from the point of view of the tournament and the fans it's probably better, because they don't want to wait."

As mentioned, the Serbian champion will challenge Popyrin in the 2nd round of the Australian Open. but these days, Nole is also at the center of some discussions these days. Serbia issued some clarifications to the Times regarding Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, which shocked fans. Nole revealed how the Spaniard and the Swiss Maestro have judged and marginalized him throughout their careers. At the same time, the Serb had a long-standing beef with Ben Shelton, which arose from what happened last year at the US Open.

Novak Djokovic Australian Open