The Smashing Serb

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Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

The ravages of the Civil War drove him to tennis, and he made his country proud of him by becoming the first Serbian player to rank No. 1 for more than 100 weeks.

An extrovert and a humorous personality, the combination of his skill and charm won him superstardom.

In 2011, he won 70 out of the 76 matches he played, created tennis history, and clocked a 41-match winning streak.

Childhood

Novak Djokovic was born on May 22, 1987 in Belgrade. Djokovic’s father, uncle and aunt were all professional skiers, and his father also excelled at soccer, but Djokovic was a tennis prodigy.

His family would spend would spend a few hours in the middle of each night in the basement due to the war in former Yugoslavia and the bombing of Belgrade. The hardships of war drove him to pursue tennis with even greater determination.

Career

Djokovic started his career at the age of 14. By the end of 2001, he was a triple European champion as he won singles, doubles and team competition. 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. He always eats grass at Wimbledon and says it tastes like sweat.

In the 2007 season, Djokovic played the semifinals of the French Open and Wimbledon. He won his second masters title in Montreal—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. 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 Wimbledon and became the world’s No. 1 tennis player.

In 2012, Djokovic won the Australian Open singles title, and made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon. Later that year, Djokovic faced off against Murray in the finals at the US 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. In 2014, Djokovic claimed his second his Wimbledon title in an epic win over seven-time champion Roger Federer in 5 sets.

Personal Life

Djokovic is a Serbian Orthodox Christian. He began dating Jelena Ristic in 2005. The couple got married in 2014. He is known for his humorous off-court impersonations of fellow tennis players.

A polyglot, he knows English, German, and Italian in addition to his native Serbian, which has served him well on his international touring.

Sponsorships

Djokovic endorses Serbian telecommunications company Telekom Srbija and German nutritional supplement brand FitLine. . At the end of 2009, Djokovic signed a 10-year deal with the Italian clothing company Sergio Tacchini.

In 2011, Djokovic became the brand ambassador of Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet. Less than a month later, Djokovic signed a sponsorship deal with German car company Mercedes-Benz. A year later, Djokovic was announced by Bombardier Aerospace as its latest Learjet brand ambassador.

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