Djokovic Celebrates 37th Birthday With 1,100th Win

Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday on Wednesday with his 1,100th career win, advancing to the Geneva quarterfinals as he prepares to defend his French Open crown.

The world number one defeated Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-3 in the second round at the Parc des Eaux-Vives grounds.

Djokovic becomes only the third guy, after Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer, to surpass 1,100 wins.

Djokovic accepted a wild card to play in Geneva, hoping to reverse an alarming drop in form ahead of next week’s French Open, the year’s second Grand Slam.

His record this year is 13 wins and five losses, and he has yet to make it to a tournament final in 2024.

After beating Hanfmann, the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to Djokovic as a cake with candles was carried onto the court.

He lifted the cake and displayed it to the gathering, nibbling on it before offering some to the ball boys and girls.

“The key was the birthday. My birthday probably wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t win the match,” the Serb said.

“It’s nice to be here for the first time in this tournament and to have my family here coming to support as well. I grew up with my aunt and my uncle and my two cousins for most of my life,” he said, referring to his relatives who now live in Geneva.

“We don’t get a chance to see each other that much lately so it’s really nice. I’m getting some really quality time on the court but also off the court.

“Thank-you so much for singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song. That really touched me so I’m very happy to win on this special day.”

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic prepares to serve during his ATP 250 Geneva Open tennis tournament single match against Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann , in Geneva, on May 22, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann returns the ball to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during their ATP 250 Geneva Open tennis tournament single match, in Geneva on May 22, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Ruud into last-eight

In a rain-shortened encounter, Djokovic fell behind 3-0 in the second set before rallying to win.

Djokovic was hitting the ball cleanly and consistently from the baseline, with occasional drop shots.

Djokovic will face Denis Shapovalov or Tallon Griekspor in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic looks on during a break in his match against Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann during their ATP 250 Geneva Open tennis tournament single match, in Geneva on May 22, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Meanwhile, second seed Casper Ruud, who won the Geneva championship in 2021 and 2022, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner.

It was Ruud’s 32nd tour-level victory of the season. No player has more victories in 2024.

The Norwegian world number seven, who was defeated by Djokovic in last year’s French Open final, will next face Argentine fifth seed Sebastian Baez.

Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic will face Alex Michelsen in the final eight, after the American defeated his third-seeded compatriot Taylor Fritz 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Michelsen, 19, only won his maiden tour-level clay-court title last month.

Alexandr Shevchenko will face Flavio Cobolli, who defeated fourth seed Ben Shelton from the United States, in the other quarter-final on Thursday.

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