Novak Djokovic was 18 years old when he made his Wimbledon debut in 2005. That was smack in the middle of Roger Federer’s five-year reign at the All England Club. The Serb made an impressive third-round appearance at Wimbledon that year, but it was just the start of what would prove to be a stellar career on the hallowed grass.
“I was a 7-year-old boy in Serbia constructing a Wimbledon trophy from improvised materials that I could find in the room. And today, standing with a sixth Wimbledon trophy... it’s incredible,” said Djokovic on Sunday after his win against Matteo Berrettini that saw the World No 1 get to the milestone of 20 Grand Slam titles.
After finding his feet on the senior circuit the first two seasons, Djokovic switched gears in 2007 by reaching the semi-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon, before finishing runner-up at the US Open.
He finally won his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2008, but that was followed by a couple of inconsistent seasons as Rafael Nadal established his dominance at the top of the men’s game.
However, with the turn of the decade, a new Djokovic emerged and he began to reign supreme. He won his first Wimbledon title in 2011 and kept going from strength to strength.
Djokovic found most success in the first Grand Slam of the year but his grass game improved steadily as well. His speed, balance and athleticism on hard courts stood out, and he brought that advantage to the grass.
His ability to slide on grass, in fact, is unreal and a knack to hit strong groundstrokes on the run from well behind the baseline, coupled with a gradual improvement in his serve played key roles in making him a serial winner at The Championships.
Djokovic's results at Wimbledon
Here’s a look at each of Novak Djokovic’s six Wimbledon triumphs:
2011 - bt Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title, dethroning champion Rafael Nadal to celebrate his coronation as new world No 1 in style.
It was the 24-year-old Serb’s third Grand Slam title, to add to his 2008 and 2011 Australian Open victories, and 50th win his last 51 matches.
Djokovic also denied the Spaniard, the champion in 2008 and 2010, an 11th Grand Slam title.
“It’s the best day of my life. This is the most special tournament that I always dreamed about winning when I was young,” said Djokovic.
2014 - bt Roger Federer 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4
Djokovic ended Federer’s hopes of a record eighth Wimbledon title, winning his second Wimbledon and seventh Grand Slam title.
Djokovic overcame squandering a championship point in the fourth set where he led 5-2 as he ended a streak of three losses in finals at the majors.
“After losing the fourth set it wasn’t easy to go on and win the fifth set, I don’t know how I did it,” said Djokovic who also reclaimed the world No 1 spot from Rafael Nadal.
2015 - bt Roger Federer 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (10/12), 6-4, 6-3
Defending champion Djokovic won a third Wimbledon title and a ninth Grand Slam crown, ruthlessly shattering once again Federer’s bid for a record eighth All England Club triumph.
World No 1 Djokovic added the 2015 Wimbledon title to the Australian Open he captured in January.
It was a cathartic moment for Djokovic just a month after his heartbreaking French Open final defeat against Stan Wawrinka – a loss that denied him the only major title he had yet to win.
“It’s a big challenge playing against Roger. A lot of players of my generation have looked up to him and followed his lead,” said Djokovic
2018 - bt Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Djokovic powered to his fourth Wimbledon title and 13th major with a rout of South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Djokovic became a Grand Slam champion for the first time since winning the 2016 French Open.
It was the Serb’s first Wimbledon crown since 2015, making the world No 21 the lowest ranked man to win at the All England Club since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.
“I had many moments of doubt, I didn’t know if could come back to this level to compete,” said Djokovic, who also won the Wimbledon title in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Two years earlier, he had lost to Sam Querrey in the third round and alluded to difficulties in his private life.
He also spent two periods off tour with a serious elbow injury which saw him drop out of the world’s top 20 earlier in 2018 for the first time since 2006.
2019 - bt Roger Federer 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12 (7/3)
Djokovic triumphed over Federer having saved two championship points in the tournament’s longest ever final and which was settled by an historic tie-break.
The Serb claimed his fifth Wimbledon title, taking his Grand Slam tally to 16 after 4 hours and 57 minutes on a court where most spectators were firmly behind the Swiss who was 37 at the time.
“When the crowd is chanting ‘Roger’ I hear ‘Novak’,” said Djokovic, the first man since Bob Falkenburg in 1948 to win the Wimbledon title having saved match points.
2021 - bt Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Djokovic won a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title and sixth Wimbledon with a four-set victory over battling Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
The world No 1 moved level on 20 majors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
His win also put him three-quarters of the way to the first calendar Grand Slam of all four majors since 1969.
A sixth victory at the All England Club for Djokovic, who was playing in his 30th final at the Slams, added to his nine Australian Opens, two Roland Garros titles as well as three at the US Open.
(With inputs from AFP)
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