Djokovic’s plan to win a ‘special one’
Novak Djokovic first came to tennis as an eight-year-old in Belgrade, “fully formed”, says his father, Marko. When he went to a tournament in Les Baux in 1994 his grandmother, Maria, lost her wits and, bursting out in front of his parents, declared, “If this was the last day of his life, Novak, thank you for never asking me to let him go”. She apologised but Djokovic got the satisfaction of seeing his Olympic doubles partner, Lleyton Hewitt, win in straight sets. Now, 20 years later, Djokovic is back in the final at Roland Garros and on the verge of history.
Profession: World No2
Personal life: Married to the former Miss Montenegro and mother of two children, Jelena. He won the 2016 US Open with Andy Murray, the first grand slam title of his career
Was struggling before French Open started – he had his mother to thank for getting him fit again after self-medicating to try to deal with an elbow injury.
He played the first set against Raonic – at 4-2 up in the first set the crowd chanted “Oh, Djokovic!” – and won the first two sets. The fourth set was 1-1 but Raonic proved powerless when it came to beating Djokovic.
What is his highest ever victory tally
Djokovic is two wins away from his first professional title since Wimbledon in 2015. Four-time world No1 Rafael Nadal is due to return to the court on Sunday having won five titles this year.
How far can he get?
Djokovic is just one win away from Roland Garros history – his semi-final opponent, Karen Khachanov, is 22 in ranking. But the odds are against him as he will face a man who has never won a match at Roland Garros.
Djokovic, on a 15-match win streak, last lost to Murray in the quarter-finals of a major tournament at the US Open in September 2016.
Q&A Who is Novak Djokovic? Show Hide Born in Belgrade in 1987, Djokovic has been a pro since the age of 13. In 2002, at the age of 18, he became the youngest player to reach a grand slam semi-final in 47 years.
In his early 20s, he struggled to come to terms with the personal fallout of an older friend’s cheating scandal. It took the world No1 five years to come back to full strength and he was ranked as low as No192 at the start of 2015, but in April 2016 he reached the final of the Australian Open for the first time. He became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win back-to-back slams when he triumphed in the French Open the following month.
His 10 grand slam titles are four behind Roger Federer and seven behind Nadal.