Novak Djokovic has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the seventh consecutive year and will be trying to win the title for the third time (2008 and 2012 champion).
Grand Slam Results
Australian Open: W
French Open: SF
US Open: F
Australian Open 2000 (Hard)
Dubai 250 (Hard)
Monte Carlo 1000 (Clay)
Beijing 500 (Hard)
Shanghai 1000 (Hard)
Paris 1000 (Indoor Hard)
Although overshadowed by the outstanding comeback in 2013 by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic (Player Profile) has still had a season to remember – picking up his sixth grand slam title and hitting 100 weeks as the World No.1 player before he was knocked off the top spot last month.
Djokovic’s dominance this decade at the Australian Open continued as he made it three titles in a row in Melbourne becoming the first player in the Open Era to achieve this feat and a record only bettered by Roy Emerson in the complete history of the event. The four set victory in the final over Andy Murray would also see him tie the record of four titles in the Open Era, matching Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. However, the highlight of the tournament would be his stunning match against Stanislas Wawrinka where he fought back to take the match 12-10 in the fifth.
He won the Dubai title to take a 12-0 season record into Indian Wells and would see it ended by Juan Martin Del Potro. It came as a surprise after Djokovic had defeated the Argentinian in straight sets in the previous event but would fail to capitalise on his one set lead to repeat the feat in America. Defeat to Tommy Haas in Miami would close out a disappointing few weeks in America but he bounced back in some style to begin the clay season.
The rivalry between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is considered one of the best in the sport today but it appeared on clay courts at least that Nadal had took back the advantage with three straight wins on the surface in 2012 including the French Open final. Their first meeting of the year would be in Monte Carlo with Nadal seeking a ninth straight title at the event. However, Djokovic showcased why he would be a legit threat to Nadal at the French Open with a straight sets win to end Nadal’s record breaking streak.
A raucous Madrid crowd saw Grigor Dimitrov defeat Djokovic while Tomas Berdych picked up a rare win in Rome as the Serbian struggled in the lead up to the French Open. However, he had a fairly straight forward route to the much anticipated semi final with Rafael Nadal with just one set dropped to Philipp Kohlschreiber. With Nadal seeded at No.3 due to his time out with injury, many called for the seven time champion to be pushed further up – possibly to avoid a Nadal-Djokovic semi final with David Ferrer seen as easy pickings for the winner.
However, this did not happen and the pair would slug it out in the semi finals in a match lasting almost five hours. Djokovic had control with a break lead in the final set but a silly mistake that saw him touch the net at *4-3 40-40 would eventually prove decisive as Nadal broke back and eventually took the match 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7(3) 9-7.
Djokovic went into Wimbledon without a warmup but looked fairly untroubled on his way to the semi finals where he would meet an impressive Juan Martin Del Potro. Despite failing to convert fourth set match points, Djokovic remained unperturbed and eventually took the match in the fifth to make his second slam final of the year. However, he was outplayed for much of the match by Andy Murray who took the match in straight sets for his first Wimbledon and the second slam title of his career. It would also be the second final in the last three that Djokovic had lost to the Scot.
Djokovic went title-less in North America for the first time since 2010 after losing to Nadal in a third set tiebreaker in Canada and continuing his struggles against John Isner (0-2 last 2 on outdoor hard) with a three set loss to the American in the warm up events to the US Open.
At Flushing Meadows, Djokovic eased his seventeenth straight slam quarter final without losing a set before finally dropping one in victory to Mikhail Youzhny. Next up would be Stanislas Wawrinka, who had already played one five set epic with Djokovic this year and their meeting here did not disappoint here. It would go five once more as Djokovic outlasted the Swiss after going 1-2 down in sets with a place in the US Open final on the line.
In 2011, Djokovic went 5-1 against the other members of the Big Four at slams on his way to three titles but has been found wanting in the next two years by his very high standards. Rafael Nadal ensured he won just one of the four matches he played against the trio with his second slam title of the year, defeating Djokovic in four sets. Djokovic held the advantage in the third set after being outplayed for much of the early part of the match but failed to convert and would eventually fall apart in the fourth set, winning just one game in the last seven.
Djokovic bounced back from the disappointment in some style going unbeaten since then in the lead up to London. He is now 20-0 in the late season Asian swing in the past two years with titles in Beijing and Shanghai. He won in straights against Rafael Nadal in Beijing but finally lost his World No.1 spot by virtue of Nadal getting that far in the Chinese capital. He was projected to play Nadal in the Shanghai final too although Juan Martin Del Potro would ensure there was no top-2 meeting for the third tournament running. It would go to a third set tiebreak which Djokovic won 7-3 for his fifth title of the year.
He made it six in Paris, still holding faint hopes that he could regain the top spot in the rankings. He defeated World Tour Finals participants Stanislas Wawrinka, Roger Federer and David Ferrer back to back to take the title. Despite being far from his best, Djokovic showed up when it mattered against Ferrer. Ferrer served for both sets but it would be Djokovic who took them both with a 7-5 7-5 win.
Djokovic still has to be pencilled in as the favourite for this weeks event but with Rafael Nadal back it will make the grand slams next year a whole lot more interesting. Like Roger Federer before him, it may be that if Djokovic is ever to win a French Open he will have to do so without facing Rafael Nadal who turns it up a notch when they meet in Paris and arguably his best two chances to do so have passed. One slam title still represents a decent haul on the year but competition will be tougher than ever with Nadal back and Andy Murray a legit contender if recovered fully from his injury.