G.O.A.T., Serbia, Ivanisevic: Everything you always wanted to know about Novak Djokovic (but never had time to find out) – updated after 2024 Australian Open semi-final

Novak Djokovic is arguably the greatest tennis player in history and among the greatest sportsmen of all time. Here are the answers to some common questions you may have about the Serb

Novak Djokovic US Open 2023 - Zuma / Panoramic Novak Djokovic US Open 2023 – Zuma / Panoramic

Who is Novak Djokovic?

Novak Djokovic is a professional tennis player from Serbia and is considered by many to be the greatest men’s tennis player of all time. He holds the men’s Grand Slam record with 24, making him the joint leader in the all-time list with Margaret Court.

What happened to Novak Djokovic at the 2024 Australian Open?

Jannik Sinner beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-final of the 2024 Australian Open, 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3. The Serbian did not have a single break point in the match – the first time that has happened to him in a completed Grand Slam match.

The last time Djokovic had lost in the Australian Open was 2018, when he lost in the fourth round to Hyeon Chung in straight sets.

What happened with Novak Djokovic at the 2023 Davis Cup?

Novak Djokovic had a winning streak in singles in the Davis Cup that stretched back to 2011’s semi-finals, but lost that proud record in a semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. To compound his disappointment, he then lost the deciding doubles, with Kecmanovic against Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego as Italy reached the final.

What did Novak Djokovic do at the ATP Finals in 2023?

Novak Djokovic became the first man to win the ATP Finals seven times when he beat Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 in the final in Turin. Djokovic had lost to Sinner in the group stages but dropped just eight points on serve as he clinched the title, breaking free of a tie with Roger Federer. It was his 98th career title.

Is Djokovic the G.O.A.T.?

While some may have different opinions about who is their favourite player or candidate for the greatest player of all time, on all important parameters, Djokovic comes out on top as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time).

A comment by 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras, made in November 2021, is the latest strong comment that points to Djokovic being the best tennis player of all time.

“I do think what Novak’s done over the past 10 years, winning the majors, being consistent, finishing No. 1 for seven years, to me it’s a clear sign that he is the greatest of all time,” Sampras said.

Alexander Zverev, the player Djokovic beat to reach the 2021 US Open final, called the Serb mentally the greatest player in the history of the sport following his five-set loss in the semi-final at Flushing Meadows.

“There is a reason why he’s won 20 Grand Slams [at that time],” Zverev said. “There’s a reason why he’s spent the most weeks at world No. 1. There’s a lot of reasons for that. I think mentally he’s the best player to ever play the game. Mentally in the most important moments I would rather play against anybody else but him.”

Niki Pilic, the former French Open runner-up who coached Djokovic from the age of 12, said there was no doubt in his mind that the Serbian will go down as the best player of all time. “Djokovic has won the most Masters titles, he is the only player to have won every Slam at least twice, and at one point he had almost 17.000 ATP points – in that moment, he accumulated more points than Murray, Nadal and Federer combined. I am not being biased, Novak is the best of all time,” he told a Croatian newspaper.

Djokovic himself has demurred, saying he considers the debate “disrespectful” to those who played in previous eras.

How many Grand Slam titles has Djokovic won?

Djokovic’s triumph at the 2023 US Open was the 24th Grand Slam singles title of his career. That makes him tied for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the history of the sport along with Margaret Court. The Serb holds the record for the most slams won in the Open Era.

The Serb has won more titles at the Australian Open than any other player. He owns 10 titles in Melbourne and is 20-0 combined in semi-finals and finals at Melbourne Park. The Serb is also a ringer on the Wimbledon grass, where has now won seven titles – the same as his childhood hero Pete Sampras. He is the only man to complete the career Grand Slam three times, having done it for a third time by winning Roland-Garros in 2023.

List of all-time Grand Slam singles winners

  • Novak Djokovic and Margaret Court – 24
  • Serena Williams – 23
  • Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal – 22
  • Roger Federer – 20

How many ATP Tour titles has Novak Djokovic won?

Novak Djokovic has won 98 titles on the ATP Tour, putting him third on the all-time list, behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Roger Federer (103). He won his first ATP Tour title in Amersfort, the Netherlands, in 2006 and his most recent victory came at the ATP Finals in Turin in 2023, where he won the title for a record seventh time.

What did Novak Djokovic do at US Open 2023?

Novak Djokovic won his 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open 2023, defeating Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the final.

The victory sees Djokovic tie Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slams, and is his fourth title at the US Open.

“Last couple years I felt I had a chance, a shot at history. Why not grab it if it’s presented?” said Djokovic after winning the title.

Prior to the final, the 36-year-old defeated Ben Shelton in the semi-finals 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4) and Taylor Fritz, the ninth seed, in the quarter-finals, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. Earlier in the tournament, Djokovic has been forced to come back from two sets down against compatriot Laslo Djere, defeating the 32nd seed 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.

What did Novak Djokovic do at Wimbledon 2023?

Novak Djokovic made the final of Wimbledon 2023, finishing runner-up to Carlos Alcaraz in a superb five-set battle.

He beat Jannik Sinner of Italy 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the semi-final to reach his ninth Wimbledon final. By reaching the semi-finals, Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s all-time record of 46 Grand Slam semi-final appearances.

What did Novak Djokovic do at Roland-Garros in 2023?

Novak Djokovic won the title by beating Casper Ruud 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5 in the final, meaning he won his 23rd Grand Slam – a record in men’s tennis.

What did Novak Djokovic do at the 2023 Australian Open?

A year after he was deported from Australia over his decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Novak Djokovic returned to Melbourne Park, and won a record 10th Australian Open title.

His 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win over Stefanos Tsitsipas put him alongside Rafael Nadal on a men’s record 22 Grand Slam titles and means he will also return to the world No 1 ranking.

“What a journey it’s been. I have to say this has been one of the most challenging tournaments I’ve ever played in my life, considering the circumstances,” said Djokovic, wearing a jacket with 22 emblazoned on it. “Not playing last year, coming back this year. Only my team and my family knows what we have been through in the past five weeks. This is probably the biggest victory in my life, considering the circumstances.”

AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Why was Djokovic deported from Australia in 2022?

Novak Djokovic was deported out of Australia in January 2022 after a legal battle over his entry into the country and, as a result, the Serb was unable to play the Australian Open in 2022. The world No 1 was told by Tennis Australia that he could have an exemption to play the tournament because he had tested positive for Covid-19 in December 2021. However, when he landed in Australia, Djokovic was questioned by Australian border officials, had his visa revoked and was then held in a detention centre in Melbourne while his case was debated.

Djokovic spent most of the week before the Australian Open in the detention centre as he appealed against the decision to revoke his visa. He won the first appeal but after the Australian government revoked it for a second time, he lost the appeal, the government asserting that letting Djokovic play would give anti-vaccination sentiment a boost.

Djokovic returned to action in the ATP event in Dubai in February, losing in the quarter-final and relinquishing his No 1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev. He did not play in the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami because unvaccinated people are not allowed to travel to the United States except in select circumstances but has been able to play in Europe during the clay court stretch.

What did Novak Djokovic do at the ATP Finals in 2022?

Novak Djokovic made history at the ATP Finals in Turin in November 2022 when he became the oldest man, at 35, to win the season-ending event. The Serb beat Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 to win the title for the first time since 2015 and the sixth time in all, equalling the record held by Roger Federer.

Is Djokovic vaccinated against COVID-19?

The Serb has not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, which caused him to miss the 2022 US Open. The decision divided opinion across the globe about his decision but the Serb remained steadfast in his belief that he did not want to take the vaccine.

In February 2022, Djokovic was asked during an interview with the BBC if he was willing to sacrifice the chase for history at events like the French Open at Wimbledon that year in order to avoid getting the jab, the Serb replied: “Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay.”

Why did Novak Djokovic not play the 2022 US Open?

Djokovic was not allowed to participate in the 2022 US Open because of his decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19. United States law, at the time, said that only vaccinated non-residents would be allowed into the country. Not being able to defend his title saw him drop to No 7 in the rankings.

Has Djokovic ever won the calendar-year Grand Slam?

No, but he came awfully close in 2021. After winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic got to within one win of joining Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) and Don Budge (1938) as the only men to win all four majors in the same year.

But his quest for history – and a then-record 21st Grand Slam title ended when he was beaten in straight sets by Daniil Medvedev in the final.

How many Grand Slams can the Serb win?

While the Serb himself has not publicly spoken about how many Grand Slam titles he will end up with eventually, his former coach Marian Vajda believes that there are no limits for Djokovic.

In an interview in the summer of 2019, Vajda said, “We try to live in the present moment, because projecting too far can only be counterproductive. I could say two, three or four years, who knows, all I know is that he is not close to stopping. I do not want to limit him, let him play another year, then another, and then another.”

Meanwhile, tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes that Djokovic is in prime physical condition and could win up to 25 to 30 Grand Slams while competing for the next three to four years.

What are his biggest achievements?

Djokovic’s 24 Grand Slam titles puts him two ahead of Rafael Nadal at the top of the list for most men’s singles Grand Slam titles list, and four ahead of Roger Federer.

The Serb has won 10 Australian Open titles, seven Wimbledon crowns, three Roland-Garros titles and four US Open titles. He has also won a total of 96 career titles, including a record 40 Masters 1000 crowns – most recently the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters.

On November 6, 2021, his win over Hubert Hurkacz at the Paris Masters ensured he would end the year ranked world No 1 for a record seventh time. For good measure, he beat Daniil Medvedev to win Paris for the sixth time. In November 2023, Djokovic then extended his year-end No 1 record by clinching top spot for the eighth time in his career, courtesy of an opening match win against Holger Rune at the 2023 ATP Finals.

Djokovic has also broken the all-time ATP record for weeks at No 1, earlier held by Roger Federer at 310 weeks. Djokovic spent his 311th week as world No 1 in March 2021. As of November 19, 2023, Djokovic has spent a record 399 weeks as the world No 1. He returned to the world No 1 spot on September 11, 2023.

Has he ever won the Olympic gold medal?

No, the Serb was beaten in the semi-finals in 2008 and 2012. He won the bronze medal in 2008 but missed out in London in 2012, was beaten in the first round by Juan Martin del Potro in 2016 and in Tokyo in 2021, he lost to Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match, having been upended by Alexander Zverev, of Germany, in the semi-finals.

The Serb has often spoken about his desire to win an Olympic gold and has his eyes set on the 2023 Olympics in Paris.

When was Novak Djokovic born?

Novak Djokovic was born in Beograd, Yugoslavia, on May 22, 1987.

What is his nationality?

Djokovic is Serbian. He often speaks about his pride to represent his country around the world. “Our country’s image has been really bad,” he explained in an interview for French newspaper L’Equipe in 2014. “So I try to best represent my country, give a positive image, show that we are proud and hospitable.” Djokovic regularly represents Serbia in international competitions. He won the Davis Cup in 2010 and the ATP Cup in 2020 for Serbia, as well as the Hopman Cup (2008, 2013).

He has also competed at four Olympic Games and won a bronze medal in singles back at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Novak Djokovic after Serbia's victory at the 2020 ATP Cup

Who is Novak Djokovic’s wife?

Jelena Djokovic (formerly Ristic) is Novak’s wife. The couple met in high school and started dating in 2005, when Novak was only 18. They got married in July 2014, in Sveti Stefan, Montenegro.

Novak Djokovic with his wife Jelena

How many children does Novak Djokovic have?

The couple have two children. Their son Stefan was born in Nice on October 21, 2014. Their daughter Tara came into the world on September 2, 2017.

Who is Djokovic’s coach?

Djokovic is currently coached by Croatia’s Goran Ivanisevic, the Wimbledon champion in 2001 and a former world No 2. After 15 years with Marian Vajda in his team, he split with the Slovakian on March 1, 2022.

Vajda had been coaching Djokovic since June 2006. Before Vajda, Djokovic had worked with Dejan Petrovic and Riccardo Piatti. Periodically helped by Mark Woodforde and Todd Martin, Vajda formed a high-profile coaching duo with Boris Becker from 2014 to 2016. Djokovic split with Vajda in May 2017 and hired Andre Agassi as his main coach. The partnership lasted for just one year. Vajda came back alongside Djokovic in the spring of 2018 and was then joined by Ivanisevic in July 2019.

Goran Ivanisevic and Marian Vajda, Novak Djokovic's coaches

Who are Novak Djokovic’s parents?

His father Srdjan is Serbian and his mother Dijana, born in Zagar, is from Croatian ascent. They owned the society Family Sports, which ran three restaurants and a tennis academy. Srdjan was a professional skier, like Djokovic’s uncle and aunt, and a decent footballer. He tends to speak out to take his son’s defence or sometimes to criticise his opponents. Djokovic has two brothers, Marko and Djordje. They also played professional tennis, but were not able to successfully transition to the main ATP Tour level.

When did Djokovic begin to play tennis?

Novak Djokovic first picked up a racquet at the age of four. Spotted during the summer of 1993 by Jelena Gencic, a former tennis and handball player who then became his coach for six years, he was sent in 1999 to the Pilic Academy in Oberschleißheim, nearby Munich, Germany. In 2001, Djokovic was crowned European junior champion in singles and doubles. He also placed as runner-up at the World Championship with Yugoslavia. His idol was Pete Sampras when he was growing up.

How is Novak Djokovic’s name pronounced?

The English translation for his family name is somewhat true to its phonetic pronunciation: “Djo”, as in “Johnny”, “Ko” as in “Koala”, then “Vitch”, as the C at the end has an accent in Serbian. As for his first name, “No” is pronounced “Gno”, as in “Gnome”, and “Vak” is said as in “Vacuum” – Gno-vak Djo-ko-vitch.

How much prize money has Novak Djokovic won in his career?

As of November 19, 2023, Djokovic has won $176,231 million. You can find his very latest prize money stats on the official ATP Tour website.

Who is Novak Djokovic’s agent?

Djokovic was represented by Edoardo Artlaldi from 2008 to 2023, but confirmed on November 1, 2023, that they had parted company. Artakdi and his wife, Elena Capellaro, who controlled his media affairs, are no longer part of the team.

You can follow him on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram.

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