From the boy who practised his winning speech at Wimbledon holding a plastic trophy, to the man who has won it a second time, he has come a long way.

Do you follow tennis? Did you catch the Wimbledon final last month? What a match that was! Both Federer and Djokovic could have won this year’s title, but in the fifth and final set, it was Djokovic who played better and broke Federer’s service game. Djokovic went up 6-4, took his second Wimbledon title, his seventh grand slam and became world number one again.

“When I was eight, I wanted to be world number one in tennis,” he said in an interview. “People laughed at me. They said I didn’t have even one per cent chance.” But one person believed in him: Jelena Gencic, his first coach.

Born on May 22, 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia, Djokovic picked up a tennis racquet when he was four. One summer, a tennis court was made in his town, and Jelena was running a camp. Novak would sit in a corner and watch the game. One day, she invited him to play. She was amazed at how quickly he picked up the game. She found him talented, focused, and hard working. “Novak is a golden boy,” she had said. “He will be world number one.” He was five-and-a-half.

No looking back

In 2001, he finished the year as European champion in singles, doubles and team competition, won silver at the World Junior (team) Championship for Yugoslavia.

In 2005, he qualified for grand slam matches and his subsequent international wins led him to climb up the rankings. In 2006, he reached the quarter-finals of the French Open, and was the youngest player to be in the top 20. There was no stopping him after that.

He won his first grand slam, the Australian Open trophy in 2008, and later that year, won the bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics.

Five titles came his way in 2009. In 2010, his country won the Davis Cup for the first time. Inspired by him, many young Serbs now play tennis.

His “golden” year was 2011. Having won 43 matches in a row, including lifting the Australian Open trophy, Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon. His dream came true. He won the Wimbledon trophy and became world number one. He also took home the US Open Cup that year.

In 2013, he won his fourth Australian Open title — his third in a row — and has been awarded the Sportsman of the Year Laureus Award, Serbia’s Star medal, was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people, and through his Foundation collected $1,400,000 for children.

Power play

Djokovic is a good baseline player as he has a fit, flexible body. He can move forward and backward easily.

He uses a racquet/string technology for topspin.

He loses only when he gets distracted.

What makes Djokovic tick?

“Belief in oneself is more important than hope,” he said. “When I was eight, I made a plastic trophy. Holding it above my head I would practise my speech: Hello, my name is Djokovic, I won the Wimbledon trophy.”

He works hard and takes care of his diet. His book Serve to Win tells you of his fitness plan. “My coach Jelena made me listen to classical music to keep calm and read poetry to become a good human being,” he said. The world watched in appreciation when he invited a ball-boy to sit with him under his umbrella and share a cold drink at the French Open. Have you seen him mimicking players like Nadal, Becker and Sharapova? He is funny and people call him Djoker! He just got married, so congratulations, Novak!