Monday, January 30, 2012

Factbox: Novak Djokovic

Factbox on Novak Djokovic, who won his third Australian Open title at Melbourne Park, beating Spain's Rafa Nadal 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5 in the longest grand slam final ever...

* Born: Belgrade, May 22, 1987
* Began playing tennis aged four.
* His father was a professional skier and wanted his son to be a skier or professional soccer player but changed his mind when Djokovic excelled at tennis from an early age.
* First full year on tour in 2005, made grand slam debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open, losing to Marat Safin in the first round. Finished as the youngest player (18 years, five months) inside the top 100.
* Coached by Slovak former ATP professional Marian Vajda since 2006.
* In 2006, he won his first ATP tour title at Amersfoort, followed that with second title indoors at Metz.
* He retired in the 2006 French Open quarter-finals against Nadal when trailing by two sets and again a year later due to blisters in the Wimbledon semi-final against the same opponent.
* In 2007, he won five titles (Adelaide, Miami, Estoril, Montreal and Vienna), made the semi-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon and advanced to his first grand slam final at the U.S. Open, losing to Roger Federer 7-6 7-6 6-4.
* Broke the Federer-Nadal grand slam duopoly by beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets to win his maiden major title at Melbourne Park in 2008.
* Failed to defend his title in Melbourne the following year after controversially pulling out of his quarter-final againstAndy Roddick citing heat exhaustion on a sweltering day.
* Lost in the quarter-final at Melbourne Park to Tsonga in 2010 when he suffered a stomach bug.
* Upset Federer in the semi-finals of the 2010 U.S. Open before losing in four sets to Nadal in the final.
* Led Serbia to their first Davis Cup title with victory over France in Belgrade in December, 2010.
* Began 2011 by winning the Australian Open, beating Andy Murray in the final, to end his three-year wait for a second grand slam.
* Won his next six tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Belgrade, Madrid and Rome. He did not lose again until June 3 when Federer ended his 41-match winning streak in 2011 in the French Open semi-finals.
* Secured the number one spot on July 4 by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Wimbledon semi-finals, then beat Nadal to clinch his first Wimbledon title, his first on grass.
* Won a record fifth Masters title in a season when he won in Toronto, one of the lead-up events for the U.S. Open.
* Saved two match points to beat Federer in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open then defeated Nadal in the final to become just the seventh man to win three grand slams in a year since tennis turned professional in 1968.
* Chose not to play any warmup events before Australian Open title defence and has been troubled with allergies and problems with his breathing throughout the tournament, notably against David Ferrer and Andy Murray.
* Looked out on his feet in his semi-final against Murray but rallied with a blistering fourth-set performance that got him back into the match.
* Won his third Australian Open title, and fifth overall to continue his dominance of the men's game, when he beat Spain's Nadal in five hours and 53 minutes.

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