Novak Djokovic reaches amazing ATP win milestone as he celebrates birthday in style

Ewan West
Serbia's Novak Djokovic tastes his birthday cake after he won his second round match of the ATP 250 Geneva Open tennis tournament against Germany's Yannick Hanfmann in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Novak Djokovic celebrates his 37th birthday with a cake at the 2024 Geneva Open

Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday by starting his campaign at the 2024 Geneva Open with a straight-set victory against Yannick Hanfmann.

The world No 1 overcame the 32-year-old German 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 30 minutes in the second round of the ATP 250 event, having received an opening round bye.

Djokovic earned the first break of the match to take a 4-2 lead in the opening set and saved two break points from 15-40 to hold for 5-2.

The Serbian then had to save five break points when serving for the opening set, before closing out a lengthy game on his second set point.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion looked in danger of being dragged into a deciding set by the world No 85 when he fell 0-3, 30-40 behind in the second set.

After avoiding going a double break down, Djokovic turned the set on its head by winning six straight games to see off Hanfmann and book his spot in the quarter-finals.

The tennis legend made the surprise decision of accepting a late wildcard to compete in Geneva ahead of the French Open, which begins on Sunday.

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The victory over Hanfmann was Djokovic’s 1100th on the ATP Tour, making him the third player in the Open Era to reach the landmark after fellow greats Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer.

Following his triumph, Djokovic was presented with a birthday cake on court, while fans sang happy birthday to him.

In an on-court interview, Djokovic said: “The key was the birthday (laughing). The birthday probably wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t win the match, but it’s nice to be here for the first time at this tournament, with my family coming here to support as well.

“I grew up with my aunt, uncle and two cousins for most of my life. We don’t get the chance to see each other that much lately, so it’s really nice. I’m getting some really quality time on the court, but also off the court.

“And of course I’m very grateful to all the people who came out to support today. Thank you so much for singing as well the happy birthday song, that really touched me, so I’m very happy to obviously win on this special day.”

The 37-year-old will face either Denis Shapovalov or Tallon Griekspoor in the last eight in Geneva on Thursday.

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