Ever since he made the first professional steps, Novak Djokovic was among the notable youngsters on the ATP Tour, gaining more than 100 positions on the ATP list in 2005 and improving his game even more in the following season.
Starting the 2006 season from outside the top-70, Djokovic reached his first Major quarter-final at Roland Garros, winning the first ATP title in Amersfoort and playing in another final a week later in Umag. By the end of the year, Novak claimed the crown in Metz, entering the top-20 and gaining boost ahead of 2007 when he wanted to improve his ranking position even more.
Working hard in the offseason, Novak was ready to prove his quality in the opening events of the season, winning the third ATP title in Adelaide and standing strong after the first three rounds at the Australian Open. Losing in the first round in the first round in Melbourne in 2005 and 2006, Djokovic toppled Nicolas Massu after losing only two games, dominating against Feliciano Lopez too and booking the place in the third round.
The Serb ousted 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 after serving for the third. Udomchoke stayed focused to steal the set and prolong the encounter but he had to admit defeat as Novak proved to be too strong in the fourth.
With that triumph, Novak set the clash against world no. 1 Roger Federer, losing to the Swiss twice in 2006 and hoping to change that here in Melbourne. After beating Udomchoke, Novak praised Federer and his abilities to hit every shot with ease and play on a high level in an aggressive or defensive style.
"In the previous season, there were many situations when I could have won the points and matches at the net but didn't go for it and stayed back. I sat down with my coach and we talked about that, working a lot to improve that, as I believe that's the future of the game.
Tennis has changed a lot and you have to bring all the elements together if you want to chase the big titles. Fifteen years ago, tennis was serve & volley while there are only a couple who do that all the time today. Federer can play everything with ease; he can serve & volley, play aggressive tennis or defend if that's required.
That kind of game brings you excellent results and it will work in the future as well. I will seek that as well because I think I have a good game from the baseline, with aggressive and consistent strokes. I only have to use my opportunities to rush to the net and that's why I worked more on my volleys."