Novak Djokovic has etched his name in the history books with his numerous achievements in tennis. He's an athlete par excellence and has bested his rivals time and time again.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has recorded dominant wins over his opponents and has also snatched victories from the jaws of defeat.
Not many players can boast of having a winning record against Djokovic. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, his primary rivals, led the head-to-head against the Serb by a significant margin for quite a while. However, Djokovic has turned the tables and now has a positive record against both Federer and Nadal.
Yet, there are some players that boast a winning record against the Serb. Here's a list of five players who have a positive head-to-head against Novak Djokovic.
#5 - Marat Safin
Former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin leads 2-0 in the head-to-head against Novak Djokovic.
Their first meeting took place in the opening round of the 2005 Australian Open, which was Djokovic's Grand Slam debut. The Serb was in the early stages of his career, while Safin was an already established player.
The match was rather one-sided, as Safin handed Djokovic a 6-0, 6-2, 6-1 beatdown. The Serb lost in the first round the following year as well, but has since gone on to win the Australian Open nine times.
Their next meeting was at the 2008 Wimbledon, where they squared off in the second round. It is worth noting that their careers moved in opposite directions that year. Djokovic ascended to the top by winning the Australian Open in 2008, while Safin fell out of the top 50 of the rankings.
Djokovic was the favorite heading into the contest. He had reached the semifinals of the tournament the previous year, while Safin's best result was a quarter-final appearance in 2001, when he was at his peak.
However, the Russian rolled back the years to upset Novak Djokovic, winning 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-2. Safin ended up making it all the way to the semifinals in what was his best showing at Wimbledon.
#4 - Jiri Vesely
Jiri Vesely is a talented player, but hasn't really lived up to his potential. However, he has managed to put together a 2-0 winning record against Novak Djokovic.
Their first meeting was at the 2016 Monte Carlos Masters. The Serb had already won four titles prior to the tournament and was the favorite to win his second-round clash against Vesely. However, in a stunning upset, the Czech player got the better of the World No. 1, winning 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. It was his first win over a top-10 player.
More recently, the two faced off in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Dubai Tennis Championships last month. Djokovic needed to win the tournament in order to remain the World No. 1, but Vesely once again upset his celebrated opponent, this time in two close sets.
Following Djokovic's loss, Daniil Medvedev became the new top-ranked player in the world. However, the Serb will reclaim the World No. 1 ranking once again following the conclusion of the ongoing Indian Wells Masters.
#3 - Nick Kyrgios
Controversial tennis player Nick Kyrgios also owns a 2-0 record against Novak Djokovic, a stat he reminds everyone of from time to time.
Both of their encounters happened in 2017, when Djokovic was going through a rough patch. Their first match took place at the Mexican Open, with Kyrgios winning 7-6(9), 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
They faced off again after a couple of weeks at the Indian Wells Masters. Djokovic was the three-time defending champion and was up against Kyrgios in the fourth round. The Australian emerged victorious once again, winning 6-4, 7-6(3).
Last year Kyrgios stated that Novak Djokovic will never be the greatest tennis player since he has a losing record against him.
"No matter how many Majors Novak wins, he will never be the greatest to me. I played against him twice, and if he can't beat me, you are not the greatest of all time."
#2 - Fernando Gonzalez
Former World No. 5 and 2007 Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez was amongst the most consistent players in the mid to late 2000s. He faced off against Novak Djokovic thrice over a two-year period, ultimately notching up a 2-1 record in his favor.
Their first meeting took place in 2005, which marked Djokovic's first full season on the ATP tour. Gonzalez, meanwhile, had been around for quite some time by then. At the Cincinnati Masters, the Serb booked his place in the main draw after going through qualifying and was up against Gonzalez in the first round.
Djokovic won the opening set, but Gonzalez staged a comeback to win 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.
Their second meeting was at the 2006 Roland Garros. This time, the Serb managed to best his opponent in five sets in their second-round clash.
Their final encounter took place at the 2006 Madrid Masters, when it was an indoor event. Djokovic and Gonzalez squared off in the quarterfinals, with the latter winning 7-5, 5-7, 7-5.
#1 - Andy Roddick
Former World No. 1 and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick had quite the rivalry with Novak Djokovic as the duo were involved in plenty of memorable matches. The American has the edge in their head-to-head, leading 5-4.
Djokovic won their first ever encounter at the Canadian Open, defeating Roddick in straight sets en route to the title. The American evened their rivalry by winning their next match at the Dubai Open.
Djokovic raced ahead once again, winning their next match at the US Open in four sets. As the defending champion at the 2009 Australian Open, the Serb faced Roddick in the quarterfinals. However, he was unable to cope with the hot conditions and retired midway through the fourth set.
Roddick won their next three matches in straight sets, all of which happened at the Masters 1000 level. At this point, he was 5-2 up in the head-to-head.
Djokovic managed to end his losing skid against the American in the 2010 ATP Finals, winning their round-robin tie 6-2, 6-3. It was his best performance against Roddick at the time.
Djokovic firmly established himself as one of the best players on the tour after a stellar 2011 season, while Roddick's career trajectory continued to move downwards. Their final meeting took place at the 2012 London Olympics, where they met in the second round.
Djokovic was at his best as he won 6-2, 6-1, bettering his previous best performance against Roddick. The American retired following the conclusion of the 2012 season with a positive head-to-head against Djokovic.
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