Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Novak Djokovic streaked through six straight games stopping Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-3 in his Geneva opener to unwrap a massive milestone: his 1,100th Tour-level win.

Photo credit: Dan Istitene/Getty

Few champions meet milestone moments with the passion of Novak Djokovic.

Down 0-3 in the second set today, Djokovic pumped up the party for a rousing 37th birthday celebration.

Navratilova: Two Changes Can Help Gauff vs. Swiatek

World No. 1 Djokovic streaked through six straight games stopping Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-3 in his Geneva opener to unwrap a massive milestone: his 1,100th Tour-level win.

Wild card Djokovic is the third man in Open Era history to reach 1,100 career wins joining Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors (1,274) and rival Roger Federer (1,251).

After Djokovic improved to 1,100-218 lifetime, Geneva fans celebrated singing a spirited version of “Happy Birthday.” Then organizers elevated the occasion by wheeling out a mouth-watering chocolate birthday cake.

“The key was the birthday,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “I think my birthday wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t win the match. It’s nice to be here for the first time in this tournament.

“To have my family here coming to support as well. I grew up with my aunt and my uncle and my two cousins for most of my life. We don’t get the chance to see each other too much lately. So it’s really nice. I’m getting some really quality time on the court, but also off the court. Of course, I’m very grateful to all the people who came out to support today. Thank you so much for singing the Happy Birthday song, that really touched me, so I’m really happy to win on this special day.”

A defiant Djokovic denied 10 of 11 break points in an 89-minute victory. Djokovic reeled off eight of the last 10 points, including a spectacular running forehand strike in the final game.

The now 37-year-old superstar was sharp at the start carving out an exquisite backhand drop shot winner highlighting a love hold to open.

This was Djokovic’s first 250-level tournament in a year. The intimate Geneva stadium court gives fans a close view of the players’ footwork.

The top seed was playing off his front foot hammering a backhand drive volley, part of his second straight love hold for 2-1.

Djokovic made his move in the sixth game earning triple break point. Though he missed successive forehands on the first two break points, Djokovic accelerated his Head racquet through a crunching forehand breaking for 4-2.

The reigning Roland Garros champion staved off a couple of break points confirming the break with a hard-fought hold for 5-2. Djokovic rattled his racquet celebrating that crucial hold.

Precision marked the opening set. Serving for a one-set lead, Djokovic drilled a deep diagonal forehand to push his opponent back then tapped a forehand drop shot winner for set point.

Hanfmann answered right back with a slick drop shot winner of his own for deuce. Leaning into his two-hander, Hanfmann hammered a clean crosscourt winner for break point. Djokovic saved it then dodged another break point when Hanfmann put a backhand into net.

A slight rain was falling as Djokovic steered a forehand down the line wide to face a fourth break point of the game and sixth overall. Showing defensive skills, Djokovic was flying around the court repelling an attacking opponent and pushed a backhand winner down the line drawing even at deuce.

At that point, Djokovic asked the chair umpire to pause play due to the rain as the game pushed past 10 minutes.

Play resumed after 8 p.m. local time. Djokovic saved a seventh break point of the set. The top seed slashed successive aces to seal a one-set lead.

Resetting, Hanfmann converted his 10th break point to take his first lead, 2-0, in the second set. The former world No. 45 issued a love hold for a 3-0 lead.

Digging in, Djokovic dabbed a side spinning backhand drop shot winner and broke back for 2-3 when Hanfmann sailed a drive.

That sparked a streak that saw Djokovic lock down, clean up his game and reel off four games in a row breaking again When Hanfmann pasted net with a backhand.

Hanfmann’s final running forehand clipped the tape as Djokovic closed and fans celebrated him with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Tournament organizers presented Djokovic with a beautiful chocolate cake. Djokovic shared cake with the ball kids and staffers before looking ahead.

Seeking his 99th career title, Djokovic will face either Denis Shapovalov or Tallon Griekspoor for a semifinal spot.


Latest News