In 2006, Novak Djokovic proved himself to be one of the youngsters to beat in men's tennis, starting the season from outside the top-70 and concluding it in the top-20. After reaching the first Major quarter-final in Paris, Djokovic claimed the first ATP title in Amersfoort and lifted another one in Metz, settling into the top-20 and setting even higher goals for 2007.
Following a productive offseason, Novak won the title in Adelaide, the first one in the round-robin system that would stay on the ATP Tour only until March, heading to Melbourne as one of the dark horses despite early exits at the Australian Open in 2005 and 2006.
In the first round, Djokovic lost two games against Nicolas Massu to gain confidence, struggling a little bit in the second set against Feliciano Lopez before sealing the deal in straight sets to find himself in the third round.
There, Djokovic toppled Danai Udomchoke 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in two hours and 45 minutes, controlling the pace with seven breaks and missing the opportunity to deliver another victory in straight sets, serving for the third before Udomchoke bounced back to steal and stay alive.
Nonetheless, the Serb was too strong in set number four, settling the clash against Roger Federer and hoping to beat the Swiss for the first time after two losses in 2006. Ready to fight for every point, Novak said he would give his best against world no.
1, leaving everything on the court and trying to score his first notable victory over the rivals from the very top. "Facing Roger Federer in the next round is a big challenge for me; I'm looking forward to it. I had a chance to play against him twice last year on different surfaces in the Davis Cup and Monte Carlo.
I lost both of those but it's o.k, I gathered a lot of experience from them. Everybody follows him a lot and knows his game; he makes everything look so easy. The players ask themselves, is there a way we can see his weak points.
I have some nine wins in a row and I will not stop just because it is Federer on the other side of the net. I'm not giving up and want to play my best tennis and do everything to cross the finish line first. I will be there to win; that's my goal."