Novak Djokovic recalls: ‘I will use 2016 experience to bypass mistakes’

Novak Djokovic was a man on the mission at Majors this year, experiencing setbacks at the last year’s US Open and Roland Garros and wanting to fix that in 2021. Novak claimed the ninth Australian Open title, dealing with an abdominal injury since the third round but doing everything right to extend his Melbourne reign. At Roland Garros, Djokovic came from two sets to love down twice and toppled Rafael Nadal for the second time in Paris to secure his second clay Major and the 19th overall. In 2016, Novak was the last man standing at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros before falling at Wimbledon and ending his streak. After an incredible 2015 season, Novak Djokovic proved his dominance again in 2016, winning two Major crowns and four Masters 1000 titles.

Novak claimed his first Roland Garros crown to complete a Career Grand Slam and become the second player in the Open era who held all four Majors simultaneously. Hoping for a title defense at Wimbledon, Novak could not keep the level from the first part of the season and experienced an early loss. The Serb fended off 16 out of 18 break chances against James Ward and Adrian Mannarino to beat them in straight sets and arrange the meeting against Sam Querrey in the third round. The American stepped on the court determined to challenge a great rival, winning both tie breaks and saving 14 out of 17 break chances to beat Novak in four sets and terminate his incredible run at Majors.

Novak Djokovic won the season’s opening two Majors in 2016 and 2021.

Five years later, Djokovic was in a similar position, lifting trophies at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and standing as a player to beat at Wimbledon. Speaking about his 2016 campaign, Novak said that he feels more experienced and complete now, looking good so far and taking small steps towards the trophy. Djokovic kicked off his 16th Wimbledon campaign with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over the young Briton Jake Draper in two hours. Determined to show his best tennis at the home Major, Draper claimed the opener with a single break before Djokovic took charge, dropping five games in the rest of the clash to make a winning start. In the second round, the five-time winner ousted a former Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in 100 minutes. Novak was the dominant figure on serve and return, losing 15 points in his games and delivering four breaks to race over the finish line and remain on the title course.

“I’m going to try to learn from that experience that I had in 2016. I won the first two Majors of the year and came here at Wimbledon feeling great and playing great. But then I lost in the third round against a great opponent, Sam Querrey, who was a better player that day. I felt a bit different, maybe a bit deflated. I do not want to say demotivated because playing Wimbledon is always a dream for any player, including myself. It was the first time I experienced that kind of situation and circumstances. So this time, I would like to think I’m a bit wiser and more experienced as a player and person,” Novak Djokovic said.