Novak Djokovic's B-side

Novak Djokovic is number one in the world. It’s known. He is the best Serbian tennis player in history. It’s known. Nole is a polyglot, speaking Serbian, English, French, German and Italian. But it is also known.

This note is a lesser known mini trip of the ATP “Joker”. A somewhat more intimate analysis than the basic review of your professional sports record. Novak Djokovic is more than just a tennis player.

As a boy it was not easy at all since he did not have to eat because of the war. “We all grew up in different circumstances, different countries, different education. My childhood years in Serbia during the 90s with so many wars were very difficult times. With the embargo on our country, we had to queue to get bread, milk, water and other basics of life. These kinds of things make you stronger and more hungry for success in whatever you choose to do. “

“That, probably, was my base, the very fact that I came literally from nowhere and from difficult circumstances in life together with my family and my people. Going back to that, remembering where I come from always inspires me, motivates me to strive. Even more. All of this is one of the reasons why I was able to find that additional support, the mental strength to overcome challenges when they arise, “he added.

Djokovic, precisely, comes from a family of athletes. His parents, Srdjan and Dijana, opened a pizzeria to supplement their income as ski instructors. When Nole was 5 years old, they began to build four tennis courts in front of the family business, where Gencic opened his school and where Djokovic would start his career at the top.

Paradoxically, years later, he would find out about his celiac disease. After collapsing in a fourth set of the 2010 Australian Open against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he would end up vomiting. Dr. Igor Cetojevic assured him that his problem came from diet and, more specifically, from gluten. Obviously, by changing his diet, he took a complete turn in his career.

Now Novak’s diet is based on fish and other white meats, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and vegetable oils. And to continue with the family tradition, he opened a chain of restaurants under his name “Novak” where they eat “salads, which will surprise you with its combination of different colors, vitamins and dressings. Pasta and sauces that will move the senses, even the most sophisticated “, according to the letter. Nothing bad.

For instance, Djokovic doesn’t meditate, but he does rise spiritually in some way. Igor Cetojevic, his personal physician, took him to that plane. “I work a lot on conscious breathing, yoga, meditation. And it is not a religious issue as many people think, it is a health issue, of serenity. We are surrounded by a lot of noise, television, social networks, and we need to meet, to be present, to have a reset, as people, as tennis players and as athletes. And I think it is a fundamental thing, I have been doing it for ten years now. And it helped me a lot on the court but also outside, “he said.

He is a devotee of his own, from his wife to his children and he made the most of this time of confinement due to the Coronavirus: “Spend time with your family, pray, meditate, sing, dance, eat healthy and write. Enjoy the little ones. Things in life. Try to laugh, love, and take time for inner work and train your brains to think positive thoughts. “

In that laugh you mention, there are several laughs. Beyond his usual imitations with his colleagues and friends on the circuit that we have already seen countless times (and that fell badly at first), he also had comedic-filled presences in Martin Solveig & Dragonette’s video clip of the song ” Hello “in which he strongly urges the umpire to come down without spoilers.

Besides obviously signing up for all late night shows like “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, “Veče sa Ivanom Ivanovićem”, “Conan”, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, “Late Show with David Letterman”, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert “, as well as Ellen DeGeneres.

But Djokovic is known to have a personality that doesn’t fit the stereotype of most tennis players. For example, he loves opera. With Vittorio Selmi, ATP tour manager, he meets whenever he can to listen to music and in 2007 he organized a visit to the Metropolitan Opera in New York to see a rehearsal by the French soprano Natalie Dessay (and she, in turn , attended a Serbian match).

“She is so small … but she has one of the best and clearest voices I have ever heard,” wrote Djokovic on his blog, where he revealed that he took the stage to sing some arias. “It was actually awful, but how many people get a chance to sing at the New York Opera?”

Novak Djokovic, more than just a tennis player.