After a notable 2006 season that propelled him into the top-20, Novak Djokovic embraced an even better one a year later. The Serb became world no. 3 in 2007 following two Masters 1000 titles and the first Major final at the US Open.
The 20-year-old was among the favorites in New York, and he proved that on the court after scoring six wins and setting the clash against the three-time defending champion Roger Federer. Novak gives his everything to challenge the more experienced rival in the most crucial match in a career up to that point, squandering no less than seven set points in the closing stages of sets one and two before Roger prevailed 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Sharing his thoughts after the match, Novak praised Roger and his incredible mental strength. Not looking back, Djokovic was eager to face Federer many more times in the future, ready to improve his game ahead of the next season and challenge the rivals ahead of him.
Novak Djokovic spoke about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at US Open 2007.
Novak seized only two out of nine break chances in the final and got broken three times. The youngster had a realistic chance of taking at least one set, squandering five set points on his serve at 6-5 in the opener and two more on the return in the second set's 12tth game before falling short in the third.
It was Novak's second loss at Majors to Federer that year, losing to the Swiss in Melbourne and New York and to Nadal in Paris and London. Roger had to dig deep to grab the opener in the tie break, overcoming those five set points on the return for a massive boost.
The more experienced player prevailed in the second set in a similar fashion, defending two set points on his serve just before the tie break and winning it thanks to Novak's double faults for a massive advantage. Ready to fight until the end, Djokovic stayed in touch in the third set before getting broken in game ten to propel Federer over the top.
"Roger was mentally stronger today, and he turned my weakness into victory. In general, my US Open went quite well, playing good tennis and just failing to take my chances in the title clash. Roger is probably the strongest player mentally, and I knew I had to be aggressive and patient at the same time.
You can learn something new every time you face Federer or Nadal and try to improve your game for the next encounter. I'm still 20, and I have enough time in front of me, so I'm not worried. I feel sorry about today, but I have to look into the future.
Roger and I will play more matches in the upcoming years. I still have to improve physically, although I'm already much stronger than a year ago," Novak Djokovic said.