Novak Djokovic made a debut at Wimbledon in 2005 and made a name for himself, reaching the third round at 18 and returning as the top-40 player a year later. Not playing well in the first five months, Novak had only seven victories on the Tour ahead of Roland Garros (plus four more in the Davis Cup against Israel and Great Britain), hoping to change that at Roland Garros. In Paris, Novak reached his first Major quarter-final following triumphs over notable rivals like Fernando Gonzalez, Tommy Haas and Gael Monfils, facing the defending champion Rafael Nadal in the battle for the semis.
The Spaniard proved to be too strong, taking the opening two sets before Novak had to retire, switching his focus to grass and playing in s-Hertogenbosch and Wimbledon with the new coach Marian Vajda. At the All England Club, Djokovic beat Paul Goldstein, Tommy Robredo and Mikhail Youzhny, dropping only one set in three encounters and setting the fourth-round meeting with a former semi-finalist Mario Ancic. Against Youzhny, Novak lost the opening set and raised his level right after that, never losing serve again and mounting the pressure on his opponent to find himself over the top and in the last 16.
Novak Djokovic praised Andy Murray at Wimbledon 2006.
Asked about Andy Murray, Novak said they have been knowing each other since they were 12, playing against each other in France and staying in touch ever since. Djokovic explained that it was easier for Murray to reach the top-50 with the tennis federation and sponsors behind him, also mentioning the pressure on the young Briton’s back as the nation’s biggest hope since Tim Henman. Novak praised his coeval, saying he is the top-10 material and hoping to see Andy in the elite group as soon as possible. Novak and Andy played the Australian Open doubles together that year, losing to Nenad Zimonjic and Fabrice Santoro after a decent resistance.
“Andy Murray is one of my best friends on Tour; I know him since we were 12; he is a great guy. He had an easier way to improve and get into the top-50 by having a lot of support from the country, sponsors and everything. On the other hand, a lot of pressure is on him, and Andy has been dealing great, achieving a lot in the last year or so. He should reach the top-10 sooner or later. I don’t look at him as an enemy or something like that; we are great friends and rivals who enjoy playing tennis. I hope we can play doubles together again; we were a good team at the Australian Open, only a bit unfortunate. It all depends on our singles careers, but I hope we can gather and forge the doubles team again. Our first match came when we were 12 in France, it was my first international event, and he destroyed me,” Novak Djokovic said.