Uncharted Territory: Novak Djokovic's Trophy Dry Spell

Novak Djokovic failed to win an ATP title in the opening four months of 2024

by Jovica Ilic
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Uncharted Territory: Novak Djokovic's Trophy Dry Spell
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic is yet to win an ATP title in 2024, suffering three losses at the ATP tournaments and hoping for a better run in May and June. Novak is without an ATP title in the opening four months of the season for the third time in the previous 17 years, repeating the negative streak from 2018 and 2022.

Djokovic reached two semi-finals in Melbourne and Monte Carlo, earning enough points to keep his rivals behind and remain world no. 1 at least until the end of Rome. While he does not think about the ranking milestones anymore, Novak would love to claim his first trophy of the season in the upcoming events, hoping to reach his A-game by Roland Garros and defend the crown in Paris.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Six years ago, Djokovic struggled with an elbow injury, celebrating his first title at Wimbledon and turning the season around.

Two years ago, the Serb lifted his first trophy in Rome, backed by another at Wimbledon. Novak will try to mirror that in the upcoming months, although his focus remains on the Olympic Games in Paris. Djokovic started the season as world no.

1 and lost to Alex de Minaur at the United Cup, dealing with right wrist issues. Novak headed to Melbourne as the defending Australian Open champion, seeking his 25th Major crown. Instead, he had a minor virus in the opening rounds, suffering against Dino Prizmic and Alexei Popyrin but beating them in four sets.

Djokovic played better versus Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Adrian Mannarino, advancing into the last eight. The Serb faced Taylor Fritz and prevailed 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 after three hours and 45 minutes. Novak struggled under the sun in the opening two sets, missing all 15 break chances before finding the rhythm on the return in sets three and four.

The defending champion faced Jannik Sinner in the semi-final and suffered a heavy 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 loss in three hours and 22 minutes, losing his first Australian Open match after the quarter-final stage.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Graham Denholm / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic failed to win an ATP title in the first four months of the season.

Jannik outplayed Novak, taking the opening two sets in style before missing a match point in the tie break of the third set.

The Italian made a fresh start in the fourth, bringing the victory home and ending the Serb's streak of 33 consecutive wins in Melbourne. Djokovic failed to create a break chance in completed matches at Majors for the first time in a career, spraying over 50 unforced errors and calling it one of his worst performances on the most significant scene.

Novak took a couple of weeks off the court, not playing in February and returning to action in Indian Wells, competing in the desert for the first time in five years. World no. 1 could not play his best tennis, passing Aleksandar Vukic in three sets in the second round before facing a lucky loser Luca Nardi in the third.

Luca Nardi & Novak Djokovic, Indian Wells 2024© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The young Italian entered the match with only a couple of ATP wins. However, he played like he had plenty of them, toppling his idol 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a career-best win.

Djokovic needed a stomach pill against world no. 123, not feeling at his best and experiencing an early exit. Novak raised his level in the second set before falling short in the decider. The Serb won one point more than the Italian.

However, the young gun played better in the decisive moments, facing four break points and suffering two breaks. Luca delivered three breaks from 11 chances, making a fresh start in the decider and sealing the deal in style.

Nardi grabbed a break at 2-2 in the opening set, bouncing back from 15-40 and clinching a break with a forehand winner. Luca closed the set with an unreturned serve in game ten for 6-4 after 44 minutes. Djokovic broke Nardi from 0-40 in the second game of the second set before losing serve in the next game after a questionable call from the umpire.

Novak secured another return game at 3-2 and cemented it with a hold at love. The Serb squandered set points on the return in game eight before landing a backhand winner on serve at 5-3 to force a decider. Djokovic survived the second game, denying three break points and holding after 12 and a half minutes.

Nardi stepped in on the return in game six, seizing the second break point and moving closer to the top.

Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Luca served for a shocking win at 5-3 and fired three winners at 15-15, sealing the deal and sending Novak packing.

Djokovic skipped Miami and competed in Monte Carlo last week. World no. 1 claimed three wins before falling to Casper Ruud 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, missing another chance to chase his first title of the season. Thanks to the second set, Novak claimed 11 points more than Casper.

However, he failed to emerge at the top, overcoming a 4-1 deficit in the final set before losing serve at 4-5 after a costly double fault to propel Ruud into the title clash. Djokovic will compete in Madrid or Rome (most likely at Foro Italico) ahead of Roland Garros, hoping to deliver his best tennis at the second Major event of the season.

Novak Djokovic
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