PARIS (AFP) - With three Grand Slam titles, ﬁve Masters, a 70-6 winning year and a record cash haul of 12.6 million dollars, Novak Djokovic was the king of 2011.
Spurred on by leading Serbia to a maiden Davis Cup title at the back end of 2010, the 24-year-old put together a 43-match winning run in the ﬁrst half of 2011.
It was a surge which brought him the Australian Open title in January and was only ended by a rejuvenated Roger Federer in the semi-ﬁnals at Roland Garros.
As well as claiming a second title in Melbourne, Djokovic won all the season’s opening four Masters at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome, defeating Rafael Nadal in the ﬁnals of all of them.
The Serb then defeated Nadal to win Wimbledon – taking the Spaniard’s world number one spot in the process – before clinching the US Open.
Again Nadal was the vanquished opponent in the ﬁnal after Djokovic had defeated Federer from two sets, and two match points down, in a breathtaking semi-ﬁnal.
Djokovic’s landmark season eventually took its toll with a combination of back and shoulder trouble comdemning him to four defeats in the year’s closing stages.
“I had an unbelievable year. Nothing can really ruin that. I will always remember this year as the best of my life,’’ he said.
Even John McEnroe, whose season winning record of 82 wins against just three defeats, set in 1984, was brieﬂy within the Serb’s sights after his US Open victory when he was at 64 wins against two losses, was in awe.
“He has had the greatest year in the history of our sport,’’ said the American.
Djokovic probably played one of the shots of the year on match point against Federer at Flushing Meadows when he unleashed an all-or-nothing forehand service return which left the great Swiss rooted to the spot.