Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is regarded as one of the best baseliners to ever play the sport, and is in the conversation for the greatest player of all time.
Name: Novak Djokovic
Born: May 22, 1987
Turned Pro: 2003
Novak Djokovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia and began playing tennis at the age of four. At the age of six, he was spotted by Yugoslav tennis player Jelena Gencic, who recognized his potential and took over his training. Following his rapid improvement over the next six years, she realized his best option was to go abroad for the next level of training. In September 1999, he moved to a tennis academy in Germany and began his international career soon after at the age of 14.
After compiling a singles record of 40-11 in juniors, Djokovic turned professional in 2003 by entering the ATP World Tour. Initially competing in Challenger events, his first tour-level tournament came at Umag in 2004, where he lost to Italian Filippo Volandri in the round of 32.
In 2005, Djokovic made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Marat Safin in the first round. His best performances that year came at Wimbledon and the US Open, where he reached the third round in both events.
The Serbian reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2006 French Open, after which he broke into the top 40 in rankings. He proceeded to win his maiden title in July at the Dutch Open in Amersfoort without dropping a set.
Djokovic broke into the Top 10 in 2007, winning five titles and his first Masters 1000 trophy (Miami Open) in the process. The next year saw him claim his maiden Grand Slam title, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open final. By virtue of this victory, Djokovic had also broken the stranglehold that Federer and Nadal held over the Major titles. This was in fact the first time since the 2005 Australian Open that a Grand Slam singles title was not won by either of his rivals.
Having a Grand Slam in his clutches seemed to motivate Djokovic to play his best moving forward. The Serbian proceeded to rack up numerous titles, to bring his Grand Slam total to 17 following the 2020 Australian Open. This is currently the third-most by an male tennis player in the Open Era, surpassed by only Rafael Nadal (19) and Roger Federer (20).
Djokovic is also a Davis Cup champion, winning the trophy for Serbia in 2010. He finally won the French Open in 2016 to achieve the “Career Grand Slam”, also holding all four Major titles at the same time.
Despite winning 17 Grand Slams and being the only player in history to have won all nine ATP Masters 1000 titles (34 in total), Olympic Gold continues to elude the Serbian. His best finish came at the 2008 Games in Beijing, where he won the Bronze medal.
Djokovic attained the World No.1 ranking for the first time on July 4, 2011. He has maintained a top ten position since then, only falling out of the top 20 when he missed half of the 2017 season due to injury. The Serbian has since recovered his form and fitness, and currently sits as the World No.1, a position he has held for 282 total weeks. He married his high school sweetheart, Jelena in 2014 and the couple have two children, Stefan and Tara.