Novak Djokovic's rise

Updated 1017 GMT (1817 HKT) February 16, 2012
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Sportsman of the year Novak Djokovic poses next to his likeness on February 9, 2012, at the wax museum in the central Serbian town of Jagodina. AFP/Getty Images
Djokovic, seen here signing autographs for fans in Jagodina, is a national hero in Serbia. AFP/Getty Images
Djokovic began what would be an incredible 2011 with a straight-sets win over British fifth seed Andy Murray in the Australian Open final. It was his second triumph in Melbourne. Getty Images
In July, Djokovic claimed his first Wimbledon title by beating Spanish two-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 in the final. It was the first of three consecutive grand slam finals against Nadal. Getty Images
After Djokovic won Wimbledon, tens of thousands of people lined the streets of the Serbian capital Belgrade to welcome their hero home. Getty Images
Djokovic's incredible year continued when he claimed 2011's final grand slam, the U.S. Open. Once again it was Nadal who stood in his way, but Djokovic battled to another four-set triumph. Getty Images
Djokovic fought his way past Nadal in of tennis' greatest finals at the Australian Open last month. He eventually sealed victory in five hours and 53 minutes, the longest final in grand slam history. It was Djokovic's third Australian Open title. AFP/Getty Images
The 24-year-old received recognition of his incredible year last week, when he was named the Laureus Sportmans of the Year for 2011. Getty Images