On April 11, 2004, the 16-year-old Novak Djokovic earned the first ATP victory at home in Belgrade. Novak defeated world no. 1340 Janis Skroderis 6-2, 6-2 during the Davis Cup Group II tie between Serbia & Montenegro and Latvia.
Eighteen years later, Novak delivered his milestone 1000th ATP victory in the Rome Masters semi-final, becoming the fifth player in the Open era to achieve that. Djokovic joined Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the ultimate list, reaching the feat at 34 years and 11 months.
Novak has been among the world's best players since 2007 and the one to beat since 2011. The Serb had at least 61 ATP wins between 2008 and 2016, counting 82 in his most productive season and moving closer to 1000 in the last couple of years.
Novak's milestone triumph came against Casper Ruud last Saturday, beating the Norwegian 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 42 minutes to join other legends on an impressive list. Djokovic toppled Ruud for the third time in as many encounters, keeping the first and second serve under control and losing serve once.
Casper served at 75%, but it was not enough to keep him safe, facing nine break points and experiencing four breaks of serve to propel Novak into the final. Djokovic fired 20 winners and unforced errors, firing only four service winners and trailing in the shortest range up to four strokes.
Novak Djokovic secured a massive milestone at the Rome Masters.
The Serb erased that deficit with a better performance in the mid-range and the most extended exchanges to control the scoreboard and move closer to the title.
Novak raced into a 5-1 lead in the opener, and Casper pulled one break back in game eight. The Serb closed the set with a hold in game ten and delivered four straight games at 2-3 in the second to emerge at the top. "I want to thank the tournament and crowd for celebrating the milestone with me.
Roger and Rafa celebrated these milestones in the last couple of years, and I was looking forward to getting there myself. I'm blessed to score that many victories on the Tour. It has been a long time since I played and won my first match, and hopefully, I can keep going," Novak Djokovic said.