For the first time in 12 years Novak Djokovic will be titleless
At Eastbourne last year Djokovic defeated Monfils 6-3 6-4 in the final to win his 68th career singles title. With Eastbourne 2018 having started and Djokovic not defending his title, come Monday Djokovic will find himself not holding a title for the first time in 12 years.
In July 2006, at the age of 19, Djokovic won his first ATP title at the now defunct Dutch Open. Since then 12 years have past and in that time Djokovic has managed to add a staggering 67 titles, including 12 Grand Slam titles.
Since winning his first title Djokovic never went more than 12 months before winning another title and thus had always been the holder of at least one title. Previously the longest title drought he had was 8 months, between February 2010 and October 2010, but even during this time he was the holder of 4 titles. Yesterday at Queens, Djokovic was one point away from continuing his streak but was denied in the end by Marin Cilic.
From 2011-16 Djokovic finished every year as one of the top 2 players in the world and won the bulk of his titles in this period, including 11 of his 12 Grand Slam titles. However even before 2011 Djokovic still won many tournaments, including a Grand Slam, the Year End Championship and several Masters 1000 events.
While this extended title drought can be explained largely by injury, as he withdrew from the 2nd half of last season, it is still a strange sight to see from a player who not too long ago held all 4 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic is one of only 3 male players to have held all 4 Grand Slam titles at the same time, and the only to have held all 4 on 3 different surfaces.
Image: Hanson K Joseph