Novak Djokovic made significant progress in 2005, gaining more than 100 places on the ATP list to finish the year in the top-80. The young Serb made a debut at Majors at the Australian Open, reaching the third round at Wimbledon to find himself in the top-100 and repeating the same result at the US Open a couple of months later.
In his first match in New York, Novak needed almost four hours to dismiss another talented youngster Gael Monfils 7-5 in the deciding set after losing the fourth 6-0, finding extra energy despite breathing problems to cross the finish line first.
In the second round, Novak took down Mario Ancic before another challenging test versus Fernando Verdasco who prevailed in five sets to end Novak's journey on the US Open debut. After the match, the Serb spoke about his breathing problems, hoping to overcome them in the next couple of months and return even stronger in 2006, confident in his abilities and eager to chase the rivals from the top.
"In the last couple of conferences, I was speaking a lot about my breathing issues. I don't know what the main problem is; today I didn't have a problem with it. It was just an exhausting match and I want to congratulate my opponent; I didn't play my best today.
I was trying and fighting; that's why I played five sets. I think I had a chance in the fourth set but my energy wasn't on the highest level. I didn't have problems with my breathing today because the weather was much better for me to play.
The first day against Gael Monfils was the worst, way more humid. I like to play on every surface but in the last two years, my best results came on clay. Now, I started to feel good on hard and grass too. It's not easy for me to play long matches on clay but will try to solve that problem in the future; I will perform much better after that.
By the end of the year, I want to focus on the ATP tournaments and finish the season at Paris Bercy before starting long preparations for 2006. I have started to work with Ricardo Piatti and I have been practicing in Monte Carlo for the last two months.
If I want to be a top player, I need an experienced coach who will motivate me to chase the very top and challenge the best players in the world."