5 Active players who have a winning head-to-head record against Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic forms one-third of men's tennis' most famous Big-3 trifecta, with the other two being Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The Serb's tallies of 34 Masters 1000 titles and 287 Grand Slam match wins are only bettered by Nadal (35 Masters 1000 titles) and Federer (362 Grand Slam match wins).

Winning multiple titles in a season on the ATP Tour since making his breakthrough on the clay courts at 2006 Amersfoort, Djokovic's run of consecutive multiple title-winning seasons (15) is only matched by Nadal who has accomplished the feat from 2005 to 2019.

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Djokovic is the only player to win 8 Australian Open titles and lift all 9 Masters 1000 tournaments during the course of one's career, a term called the 'Career Golden Masters'. The 32-year-old stands alone in winning at least 4 titles at 6 Masters 1000 tournaments (Indian Wells - 5, Miami - 6, Rome - 4, Coupe Rogers - 4, Shanghai - 4, Paris-Bercy - 5).

During the course of his illustrious career, Djokovic has locked horns with exactly 250 different opponents, with 176 of them never managing to emerge unscathed from a meeting with the Serb.

On that note, let us meet the small group of active players at the other end of the spectrum who own a winning head-to-head record against the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

#5: Filip Krajinovic (1-0)

Image credits: usopen.org
Image credits: usopen.org

Filip Krajinovic's only win against his illustrious compatriot came in the pair's home tournament in Belgrade when Djokovic retired after dropping the first set 4-6 against the younger Serb in the 2010 quarter-finals.

Krajinovic, who is a three-time finalist on the tour, having made his first tournament final at the 2017 Paris-Bercy Masters (lost to Jack Sock) has yet to face Djokovic 10 years after the pair's sole meeting on tour.

#4: Jiri Vesely (1-0)

Jiri Vesely
Jiri Vesely

Jiri Vesely downed Djokovic in the first round of the 2016 Monte Carlo Masters in the pair's only tour meeting. The tall Czech left-hander took the win in three sets, winning the first and third sets 6-4 either side of dropping the second 2-6.

The pair was slated to meet in the second round of the US Open the same year but owing to an injury to Vesely, Djokovic received a walk-over to the third round. This match does not count as a 'win' in the Serb's career win-loss record.

You may also like: Djokovic's Top-10 significant records of the 2010s.

#3: Taro Daniel (1-0)

Taro Daniel
Taro Daniel

Japanese journeyman Taro Daniel locked horns with five-time champion Djokovic in the second round of the 2018 Indian Wells Masters. The Serb was coming off a brief injury-induced hiatus following a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open to Hyeon Chung.

On the day, Daniel ran out a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 victor to hand Djokovic a rare pair of back-to-back defeats on the tour.

#2: Ivo Karlovic (2-1)

Ivo Karlovic
Ivo Karlovic

Perhaps it is a statistical quirk but Djokovic hasn't been able to tame the big serves of Ivo Karlovic, the tallest player ever to have wielded a tennis racquet, like he has managed against the other big servers in the game like Milos Raonic (10-0) or John Isner (10-2).

Since winning his first meeting against the 6'11'' Croatian on the clay courts of the Hamburg Masters in 2008, where Djokovic ran out a straight-set victor, it is Karlovic who has prevailed in the pair's two subsequent tour meetings.

Karlovic evened the pair's rivalry at one apiece following a straight-set win in the second round of the 2008 Madrid Masters before prevailing in three sets in the 2015 Doha quarter-finals to take the head-to-head lead against Djokovic.

#1: Nick Kyrgios (2-0)

Nick Kyrgios (right) beats Djokovic at the 2017 Acapulco Open.
Nick Kyrgios (right) beats Djokovic at the 2017 Acapulco Open.

Nick Kyrgios is the only player after his compatriot Lleyton Hewitt to have beaten Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer in their respective first matches against the trio.

In the pair's first meeting on Tour in 2017, the combustible Australian beat the then No. 2 ranked Djokovic in the Acapulco quarter-finals. This made the then 21-year-old Kyrgios the youngest player to beat each member of the Big-3 trio of Nadal (2014 Wimbledon 4th round), Federer (2015 Madrid 2nd round), and Djokovic (2017 Acapulco quarter-finals).

A week later, when the pair met again in the opening round at Indian Wells, lightning struck twice as Kyrgios won without dropping a set once again. In the process, the Australian joined Marat Safin as the only other player to record multiple wins against Djokovic without losing once.

Also read: Djokovic's three records at Indian Wells.

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Edited by Zaid Khan
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