Cracking the top-80 by the end of 2005, an 18-year-old Novak Djokovic couldn’t make further progress in the first five months of the following year. Novak scored only seven wins in the ATP tournaments and four more in the Davis Cup in early 2006, heading to Roland Garros from just outside the top-60. In Paris, Novak defeated Fernando Gonzalez, Tommy Haas and Gael Monfils to find himself in the first Major quarter-final, retiring after the second set against Rafael Nadal but earning enough points to find himself in the top-40 for the first time. After Roland Garros, the Serb started working with Marian Vajda, traveling to Wimbledon with the Slovak and moving one step further than a year ago following wins over Paul Goldstein, Tommy Robredo and Mikhail Youzhny.
Novak Djokovic reached the last 16 at Wimbledon 2006 for the first time.
Novak lost the opening set against the Russian before settling into an excellent rhythm, never losing serve again and delivering five breaks to control the pace and find himself in the last 16 thanks to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 triumph. After the match, Novak ruled out the possibility of playing for Great Britain in the future, praising Wimbledon as the most significant tournament in the world and the one where he feels comfortable. In the fourth round, Novak would face a former semi-finalist Mario Ancic.
“I have been echoing the same thing since Paris, and I have to repeat it; there is nothing serious between the LTA and me. The worst thing for me is to even start those stories about becoming a Briton; I was confused when I saw those stories, and they are not valid. I don’t have anything more to say about that, especially not at Wimbledon, one of my favorite tournaments. I feel comfortable here; the people are friendly to me, supporting me on and off the court. Considering that this is only my second year on grass, I’m satisfied with the way I played so far at Wimbledon. For a player, it’s a big motivation to compete at a Major, especially here at Wimbledon that I see as the most important tournament,” Novak Djokovic said.