Cracking the top-80 by the end of 2005, an 18-year-old Novak Djokovic couldn’t make further progress in the first five months of the next year, scoring only seven wins in the ATP tournaments (four more in the Davis Cup) and heading to Roland Garros from just outside the top-60.
In Paris, Novak defeated Fernando Gonzalez, Tommy Haas and Gael Monfils to find himself in the first Major quarter-final, retiring after the second set there against Rafael Nadal but earning enough points to find himself in the top-40 for the first time.
After Roland Garros, the Serb started working with Marian Vajda, traveling to Wimbledon with the Slovak and moving one step further than a year ago following wins over Paul Goldstein, Tommy Robredo and Mikhail Youzhny. Novak lost the opening set against the Russian before settling into an excellent rhythm, never losing serve again and delivering five breaks to control the pace and find himself in the last 16.
After the match, Novak ruled out the possibility of playing for Great Britain in the future, praising Wimbledon as the most significant tournament in the world and the one where he feels comfortable. “I have been echoing the same thing since Paris and I have to repeat it; there is nothing serious between the LTA and me.
The worst thing for me at the moment is even to start those stories about me becoming a Briton; I was confused when I saw those stories and they are not valid. I don’t have anything more to say about that, especially not at Wimbledon, one of my favorite tournaments.
I feel comfortable here; the people are friendly to me and they support me on and off the court. Considering the fact this is only my second year on grass, I’m satisfied with the way I played so far at Wimbledon. For a player, it’s a big motivation to compete at a Grand Slam, especially here at Wimbledon that I see as the most important tournament.”