Where Does Djokovic's Current Title Drought Rank In His Career?

Where Does Djokovic's Current Title Drought Rank In His Career?

by Nurein Ahmed

It's not an overreaction to say that Novak Djokovic is struggling a lot on the tennis court right now as his title drought stretches into a fourth month.

A few days ago, former World No. 1 Andy Roddick was among the first analysts to express their concern about the Serbian's inauspicious start to the season.

The American opined that Djokovic struggled from a physical standpoint, especially when the conditions were not extreme during his most recent tournament in Monte Carlo, where he lost in the semifinal to Casper Ruud.

For a man who collected seven ATP titles from just 12 events last year, he has hit a snag already with almost half of the season gone. It is also worth mentioning that Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slams last year and the ATP Finals.

So, how could it be that a player who is celebrating a 421st week at No. 1 and won a title as recently as November could be trophyless in 2024? Let us take a look at where Djokovic's current title drought compares to some of the previous ones in his career.

Where Does Djokovic's Current Title Drought Rank In His Career?

Djokovic is aware that this is an unusual situation for him. By the same stage last year, Djokovic had already won two tournaments—Adelaide and the Australian Open.

This year, having played the same number of tournaments until mid-April, he lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open and Monte Carlo, respectively.

He was also part of the Serbian team that was knocked out of the United Cup in the group stage, with Djokovic losing his proud unbeaten run of 43 matches on Australian soil in the process.

In Indian Wells, he was sent packing by an inspired Luca Nardi in the third round, who became the lowest-ranked player to defeat Djokovic in a Masters 1000.

Since winning his first ATP title in Amersfoort in 2006, this is the third time in his career he hasn't won a title by April. The other two were in 2018 and 2022.

In 2018, he went a total of six months and 14 days before winning Wimbledon. In fact, that season almost mirrors the current one, with Djokovic being on the end of some surprise defeats to Hyeon Chung, Taro Daniel, and Benoit Paire.

What is striking is that he made a coaching change before Monte Carlo, splitting with former No. 1 Andre Agassi and rehiring Marian Vajda. This year, he parted company with Goran Ivanisevic shortly after Indian Wells and hired compatriot Nenad Zimonjic. Maybe the real Djokovic is bound to wake up.

The second-longest trophyless start to the season by Djokovic was in 2022. But there is an asterisk to this because he couldn't play due to his unvaccinated status until late February. Djokovic went four months and 14 days before winning his first title of the year in Rome.

So despite the current predicament, history tells us that it would be unwise to sound any alarms just yet, especially in a an Olympics year where Djokovic's priorities could lie elsewhere.


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