Happy birthday, Nole: 33 things to know about Novak Djokovic

Happy birthday, Nole: 33 things to know about Novak Djokovic

Among them: the Serb, who turns 33 today, is the only man in the Open Era to win majors in three different decades.

Novak Djokovic already has a legendary tennis resume, but if he keeps playing the way he has over the last decade, he could end up being the most accomplished player in the history of the sport.

Here are 33 things to know about Djokovic’s legendary career, on his 33rd birthday:


HIS MAJORS

He’s a 17-time Grand Slam champion Broken down by major, that’s eight Australian Opens, one French Open, five Wimbledons and three US Opens.

He has the third-most Grand Slam titles in men's tennis history Djokovic is one of only three men ever to win 15 or more majors, trailing only Roger Federer’s 20 and Rafael Nadal’s 19.

No other man has ever won as many Australian Opens as Djokovic His eight titles at the Happy Slam are the all-time record—Federer and Roy Emerson are next with six each.

He’s 8-0 in Australian Open finals and 8-0 in Australian Open semifinals Once Djokovic gets past the quarterfinals in Melbourne, watch out.

He’s one of only three men ever to win the same major eight or more times The other two are Federer, who’s won Wimbledon eight times; and Nadal, who’s won Roland Garros 12 times.

He’s won five of the last seven Grand Slams He won Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018, the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2019, and the Australian Open in 2020.

He’s won nine of his last 10 Grand Slam finals After losing to Stan Wawrinka in the 2015 French Open final, Djokovic stood at 8-8 in Grand Slam finals—he’s gone 9-1 since and is now 17-9 overall.

He’s won 43 of his last 45 matches at majors In that span, he's only lost to Dominic Thiem in the 2019 French Open semifinals, and to Wawrinka (by retirement) in the fourth round of the 2019 US Open.

He’s the only man in the Open Era to win majors in three different decades Djokovic's first major title came at the 2008 Australian Open. Only one other man has done it in all of tennis history—Ken Rosewall won majors in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

He’s one of eight men in tennis history with a career Grand Slam By winning the 2016 French Open, Djokovic joined Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Federer and Nadal in having won all four major tournaments. And at 29 years and 14 days, the Serb was the second-oldest to complete his—Andre Agassi was 29 years and 38 days when he finally won the French Open in 1999.

He’s one of only three men ever to hold all four majors at the same time Djokovic won four straight majors from Wimbledon in 2015 to Roland Garros in 2016—Budge won six straight from Wimbledon in 1937 to the US Open in 1938, while Laver won all four majors in both 1962 and 1969.

No other man has ever won three majors in a row three separate times Djokovic won three in a row from Wimbledon in 2011 to the 2012 Australian Open, four in a row from Wimbledon in 2015 to Roland Garros in 2016, and three in a row from Wimbledon in 2018 to the Australian Open in 2019.


HIS RANKINGS

He first rose to No. 1 on July 4, 2011 Djokovic first got to the top ranking after winning his first Wimbledon title. Going into the final, he said winning the title would be the greatest thing he had ever achieved: “It’s just simply something I’ve dreamed of forever.”

He’s now spent 282 career weeks at No. 1 The rankings were frozen in March due to the coronavirus pause, but whenever they resume, Djokovic—who’s currently No. 1—will keep adding to that total.

He’s creeping up on Federer’s all-time record for weeks at No. 1 Djokovic is currently in third place, four weeks behind Pete Sampras’ 286 and 28 weeks behind Federer’s 310.

He’s finished as year-end No. 1 five times, in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018 The Serb is tied with Jimmy Connors, Federer and Nadal for second-most No. 1 finishes, trailing only Sampras’ six.

He’s finished eight of the last nine years in the Top 2 He’s finished at No. 1 or No. 2 every year since 2011 except for 2017, when he didn’t play after Wimbledon due to an elbow injury and ended the year at No. 12.

He’s finished 12 of the last 13 years in the Top 3. Before 2011, Djokovic finished at No. 3 for four straight years, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010—behind, of course, Federer and Nadal.


HIS RIVALRIES

His rivalries with Nadal and Federer are the two most prolific in Open Era men's tennis The Serb’s 55 matches with the Spaniard and his 50 matches with the Swiss are the only two men’s rivalries in the Open Era to reach 50 meetings.

Djokovic leads his head-to-head with Nadal, 29-26 After Nadal beat Djokovic in the 2013 US Open final, the Spaniard led their head-to-head, 22-15—but the Serb has gone 14-4 against him since.

Djokovic leads his head-to-head with Federer, 27-23 Going into 2016 at an even 22-22, Djokovic has started to pull away, winning five of their last six meetings.

He’s the only player ever to beat Nadal in straight sets in a major final He beat Nadal in the 2019 Australian Open final, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. The Spaniard has played 27 major finals in his career.

He’s the only player ever to beat Nadal in straight sets at Roland Garros Nadal has only ever lost two of 95 career matches at the French Open. While his loss to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 was a tight 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (2) scoreline, his defeat to Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015 was a resounding 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.

No other man has beaten Federer or Nadal at all four Grand Slams Djokovic is the only player to beat either of them at least once at every major, and he’s done it to both of them.


AND MUCH, MUCH MORE

He’s earned more prize money than any other man or woman in tennis history He’s at $143,631,560 right now; Federer is in second place with $129,946,683.

He’s the only man ever to complete a "Career Golden Masters" By winning Cincinnati in 2018 in his sixth final at the event, Djokovic became the first—and so far only—player to win every ATP Masters 1000 tournament at least once in his career.

He’s a five-time ATP Finals champion The Serb won the season-ending championships in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, tying him with Lendl and Sampras for the second-most titles. Federer leads with six.

He’s an Olympic medalist Djokovic is a three-time Olympian, winning the bronze medal in Beijing in 2008 but then losing the bronze medal match to Juan Martin del Potro in London in 2012. He then lost to Del Potro again in 2016, in the first round in Rio.


Djokovic's 2020 Australian Open championship speech:


He’s an incredible frontrunner Across all tour-level matches, Djokovic is 801-36 after winning the first set, or .957. When he wins the first two sets at a major, he’s 209-1, or .995.

He's phenomenal in deciding sets, too When it goes to a decider in a best-of-three-set match, Djokovic is 149-55, or .730. He’s an even better 31-10, or .756, when it goes to a fifth set.

He owns the longest ATP winning streak since the early 1980s Djokovic won 43 matches in a row from November 2010 to June 2011, which was the longest streak since Ivan Lendl won 44 in a row between 1981 and 1982. The Serb is currently on a 21-match winning streak, dating back to last November.

He has the fifth-most career ATP titles With 79, the Serb trails only Connors (109), Federer (103), Lendl (94) and Nadal (85).

He’s won at least one ATP title every year for the last 15 years Djokovic’s streak runs from 2006 to 2020, tying him for second place with Federer, who had a 15-year streak from 2001 to 2015. Nadal has the longest streak ever, doing it for 17 years, from 2004 to 2020.