20 August 2015 - NOVAK DJOKOVIC


G'day folks,

Welcome to some facts about a brilliant tennis player and amusing man.

Serbian professional tennis player Novak Djokovic won his first of multiple Grand Slam championships in 2008 and took over the world's No. 1 ranking in 2011.

 “Belief is the most common word to me, even more than hope. For one to achieve his dreams, he needs to truly believe in them.”

—Novak Djokovic


Born in Serbia in 1987, Novak Djokovic began playing tennis at age 4, and was sent to train in Germany at age 13. After a steady ascent to the top levels of the sport, he won the Australian Open in 2008 and led the Serbian national team to its first Davis Cup win in 2010. In 2011, he claimed three of four Grand Slams and compiled a 43-match winning streak en route to the world's No. 1 ranking.

Early Life

Novak Djokovic was born on May 22, 1987, in Belgrade, Serbia. Father Srdjan and mother Dijana owned the company Family Sports, which had three restaurants and a tennis academy. Djokovic's father, uncle and aunt were all professional skiers, and his father also excelled at soccer, but Djokovic was a tennis prodigy.

In the summer of 1993, at 6 years old, Djokovic was spotted by Yugoslavian tennis legend Jelena Gencic at his parents' sports complex. Gencic then worked with Djokovic for the next six years. During this time, the war in former Yugoslavia and the bombing of Belgrade meant that, for almost three months, Djokovic and his family would spend a few hours in the middle of each night in the basement. Djokovic has said that the hardships of war drove him to pursue tennis with even greater determination. At 13, he was sent to the Pilic Academy in Munich, Germany, to pursue higher levels of competition. In 2001, at age 14, he began his international career.

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The 14-year-old Djokovic ended 2001 as a triple European champion in singles, doubles and team competition. He won the silver medal at the World Junior Championship in a team competition for Yugoslavia. At 16, after winning five ITF tournaments, he was ranked the 40th best junior tennis player in the world. In 2004, he won his first ATP Challenger tournament in Budapest, where he started as a qualifier. The following year, he qualified at Wimbledon and reached the third round, moving him up the rankings and into the Top 100.

 In the 2007 season, Djokovic played the semifinals of the French Open and Wimbledon. He won his second Masters title in Montreal, beating the Top 3 players—Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick—which made him No. 3 in the world. He competed for Serbia in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and won a bronze medal in singles tennis. In 2010, the Serbian national team clinched the Davis Cup trophy for Serbia for the first time in history. Djokovic went on to win 43 matches in a row in 2011, the only player in the world to achieve such a run. That same year, he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to become the world's No. 1 tennis player.

In 2012, Djokovic won the Australian Open singles title, and made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon. He was beaten in the semifinals, however, by longtime rival Roger Federer—who went on to win the Wimbledon final against Andy Murray. Later that year, Djokovic faced off against Murray himself in the final at the U.S. Open. He fought hard against Murray, but he ended up losing the match after five sets.

For the third year in a row, Djokovic took home the men's singles title at the Australian Open in 2013. He was the runner-up at Wimbledon that year, losing in the final to Andy Murray. At the U.S. Open, Djokovic was the top-ranked player. He easily dispatched his opponents in the first three rounds of play, but he lost in the final to Rafael Nadal.

In 2014, Djokovic claimed his second Wimbledon title in an epic five-set win over seven-time champion Roger Federer. It was his seventh Grand Slam title. At the 2014 U.S. Open, Djokovic defeated Andy Murray to reach the semifinals for the eighth time. He was subsequently defeated in the semifinals by Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who became the first player from that country to make it to the Grand Slam final.

 Djokovic kicked off 2015 by winning the Australian Open over Andy Murray after a heated battle on the blue court. It was his fifth Australian Open title and the eighth Grand Slam title of his career. He then knocked off nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the French Open, but fell short in his bid to claim his first French crown with a loss to Stan Wawrinka in the final.

Personal Life

Djokovic speaks Serbian, Italian, German and English. His two younger brothers, Marko (born in 1991) and Djordje (born in 1995), are both in school and play tennis. Djokovic's lighthearted personality has earned him the nickname "Djoker," a combination of his surname and the word "joker." He is known for his humorous off-court impersonations of fellow tennis players.
 Djokovic is a member of the Serbian Orthodox Christian church, and in April 2011, he was awarded the Order of St. Sava, 1st class, the highest decoration given, "for his demonstrated love for the church and the Serbian people." He participates in the Champions for Peace club, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.

He created the Novak Djokovic Foundation to help disadvantaged children in Serbia obtain an education and provide resources to lead productive and healthy lives.

Djokovic began dating Jelena Ristic in 2005. The couple became engaged in 2013 and wed on July 10, 2014 – just days after his Wimbledon win. The couple welcomed their first child, a son named Stefan, on October 21, 2014.

Clancy's comment:  As someone who has played a lot of tennis, I must say I love watching guys like this play. He also has a cheeky sense of humour, on and off the court.

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