Novak Djokovic: How the momentous 27 months have shaped the Serb

Reaching the Wimbledon final for the fourth time, Djokovic is gearing up for his comeback from elbow surgery, on 7 September

The tennis world had to wait for another year before Novak Djokovic made his grand slam comeback to the scene of his greatest triumphs. The 29-year-old Serbian returned to Wimbledon for the first time since losing the 2016 final in July.

After beating Philipp Kohlschreiber, there was more great news for Djokovic as he announced he will return to the court with a notional top ranking of number two.

A weak start at the US Open – he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Kevin Anderson – hints at a lack of top-level competition to keep the Serb on top of his game.

And with Rafael Nadal struggling for form he may find more challenges than usual at Flushing Meadows. But how does Novak Djokovic compare to other greats of the game? We take a look at his form and achievements in the space of an epic 28 months.

Beach towel shy of legend

Novak Djokovic has won 14 grand slam singles titles, with the Wimbledon victory taking him one behind Rod Laver’s tally of open era titles.

Three of his Wimbledon titles have come with his shirt off, but he’s yet to win the tournament playing shirtless. He’s won three men’s doubles majors, with his quarter-final win in 2016 his first of this lot.

Djokovic is also the only man to have won this century’s grand slam events twice, having taken the French Open title in 2016, back in the height of his career.

Grace of the clay

Djokovic lifted his second French Open title in 2012 – the first time he’d ever lifted two major titles – with a battle with Nicolas Almagro won 7-6, 6-4, 7-6.

His other triumph on the Paris clay came in 2011, holding off Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The two previously met in the 2012 final, with Nadal winning after his opponent had been penalised a point.

Most recent titles – and retirement

Djokovic missed most of last season, with most of it spent recovering from elbow surgery.

He returned to the surface he called home throughout 2016 for a knee operation that kept him out for seven months. Last month he completed an arduous run to the Halle final, in Germany, in his first appearance of 2017.

Fast forward to July and the tournament host dropped a few pounds, braving the elements and soaking up the sun’s rays for a victory over Johan Wiland.

He found plenty of motivation as he landed his fourth Wimbledon title, posting a video to Instagram of the moment he was handed the trophy. “I don’t know where I am … I can’t get my hands on the trophy,” he captioned the post.

His absence was felt during the US Open but now he’s almost ready to make a return to grand slam finals, with Wimbledon as a starting point.

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