Drawing: Novak Djokovic

Autographed drawing of tennis player Novak Djokovic

Despite losing the ATP World Tour Finals – a title he has won on five previous occasions – in London on Sunday, Novak Djokovic ended the year as the world’s number one men’s tennis player for the fifth time. It was a remarkable return to form for the Serbian after elbow surgery threatened to curtail his career.

He dropped to number 22 in June. After reuniting with long time coach Marian Vajda, Novak gradually returned to form, reaching the Queens Tournament final, narrowly loosing to Marin Cilic. He headed to Wimbledon as the 12th seed, beating Kevin Anderson in the final after an epic five set semifinal victory over Rafael Nadal and followed that with his 14th major title, beating Juan Martin del Porto in the US Open final. When Rafa withdrew from the Paris Masters, Novak returned to the top ranking.

I caught up with him at the North Greenwich pier during the ATP Finals at London’s O2 as he was leaving via clipper. He was happy to sign my sketch and even took a quick video and commentary on his phone of the both of us with the drawing.

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Drawing: Novak Djokovic Grand Slam montage

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon

Despite his loss to Roger Federer in pool play this week at the ATP World Tour Finals, it has been another monumental year for Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic as he heads into his 174th week as the world’s #1 ranked player. He remains on track to win his fourth consecutive title, reaching this weekend’s semis at London’s O2 arena. As he did in 2011, Novak won three of this year’s Grand Slams, losing only to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open. He also won all bar one of the Masters 1000 titles, losing to Roger in Cincinnati and achieved a ranking points record.
I drew this montage of Novak holding the Wimbledon, Australian and US Open trophies. He’s always been very complimentary about my previous artwork so hopefully that would continue when I caught up with him at the O2 last Sunday. He was not only complimentary but also considerate, finding a space on the sketch to sign, adding a smiley face in a smaller sig in order not to “ruin the excellent drawing”.

Drawing: Novak Djokovic

novak djokovic

Current world number one Novak Djokovic is planning to hold on to that title at the ATP World Tour Tennis Finals at London’s O2 this week. He needs to win all his round robin matches to head off Roger Federer, who has won more tour matches than any other player this year, be it not a Grand Slam title.

Novak has won seven slams, including this year’s Wimbledon and he’s held the No 1 spot in the ATP ranks for a total of 119 weeks. His current doubles ranking is 554 – obviously not a priority for him!

He does however have an Olympic medal, winning bronze for Serbia in the singles at Beijing.

Novak is excellent with his supporters and always takes time to stop, sign, smile for snaps. He has always been very complimentary about my sketches and really liked this one, showing it to his support staff before signing it on the opening Sunday at the O2. “You have a rare talent, Sir,” he said.

Sketches: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is currently No 2 in the tennis world, but he’s definitely tops when it comes to accommodating his fans and signing autographs.

This week I’ve been at the ATP World Tour Finals in London’s O2 arena, battling weather and malfunctioning pens. Most of the players use the Thames Clipper boat to travel to the venue, so we collect signatures at the O2 Wharf area.

To give you some idea of what a racket this ‘graph collecting can be, here’s a sequence of sketches and their respective signing success over 3 consecutive days.

Djo002

The Sharpie Bullet Point
To save time, it’s easier to use on pen, usually the pen belonging to the first autograph collector waiting, and do all the signing with that. The pen Djokovic grabbed was a normal, fine point black sharpie, but the owner had left the cap off in preparation for its use and in the moist, windy air it was not flowing too well… aaargh

Djo003

The Sharpie W10 Chisel Head
My fault this time. I have zillions of pens, so why did I give him a dried up Sharpie W10 chisel point marker? In mitigation it was raining we were partially protected under a walkway, but the rain was sweeping in and water and ink are not a good doubles combination. He was great – kept going over it and used the point with the remaining ink to write ‘to Mark’.

Djo001

The Pentel N860 Permanent Marker
Perfecto sig – with a Pental N860 marker. Raining again, and he was running late, but happily stopped to sign and dedicate. He told me, “This is excellent”.

Game, set and match