T365 Recall: Novak Djokovic’s 41-0 start to the 2011 season
Roger Federer is on course to equal or better his best start to a season, but his record is still a long way off Novak Djokovic’s 2011 feat.
World No 1 Federer is one win away from claiming his 16th consecutive win of the season after he beat Jeremy Chardy in the fourth round at Indian Wells.
Having won the Australian Open and Rotterdam Open, Federer is 15-0 and next up for the 36-year-old is Hyeon Chung in the quarter-final, and if he comes through that he could face Kevin Anderson in the semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro a possible final opponent.
He could also stretch that run at the Miami Open, but for now his 15-0 record looks pale in comparison to Djokovic’s 41 straight wins to start off 2011.
The Serb was the dominant player that year as he won three of the four Grand Slams and many consider it to be one of greatest seasons ever in men’s tennis.
He started the year as the world No 3 behind Rafael Nadal and Federer, but finished as the No 1 after winning 10 tournaments.
Djokovic kicked off 2011 in style as he won the Australian Open, his second title at Melbourne Park, beating Federer in the semi-final and Andy Murray in the final. Both were dispatched in three sets.
Next he won the Dubai Championships with Federer his opponent in the final, but the Serb only required two sets to take his second title of the year.
He then completed the Sunshine Double by winning the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open in the space of a couple of weeks. In Indian Wells he beat Federer in three sets in the semi-final and Nadal in three sets in the final.
Nadal was also his opponent in the Miami final and three sets again did the trick.
And so he moved onto clay-court season and the next trophy he lifted was in his home town of Belgrade as he won the Serbia Open as Feliciano Lopez proved to be no match for him in the final.
However, many expected him to falter on the clay as the Madrid Masters and Italian Open were considered Nadal territory. Yet, Djokovic won both tournaments as he beat the King of Clay in the final of both events.
It meant he started the French Open on the back of 37 straight wins (one of his results was a walkover) and he took the tally to 41 as he won his opening four matches at Roland Garros.
He was due to face Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals, but the Italian was forced to pull out due to a muscle injury and Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals against Federer with 41 consecutive wins in 2011, which left him one shy of John McEnroe’s best start to a year of 42 in 1984.
Djokovic looked like he would cruise to win No 42 as he was two sets up, but Federer stormed back to claim a 6–7 (5–7), 3–6, 6–3, 6–7 (5–7) and end his magnificent winning streak.
“These were the best months of my life, an incredible period,” the Serb said after the defeat. “It had to end some time. Unfortunately it came in a bad moment. What happened happened. I can’t affect it any more. A couple of points decided it. This is sport. There is nothing to be sorry about.”
He went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open and lost only six matches during the year to finish with a 70-6 record.
Yet, many believe that was not his best season as in 2015 he won another three Grand Slams as he lost out at the French Open again, and finished the year with an 82-6 record.
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