Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic saw two of his lifelong dreams come true this week, when he became the world’s number one tennis player and won the Wimbledon men's singles championship -- the most prestigious title in the world of tennis.
Wimbledon’s defending champion, Rafael Nadal, was outplayed and outshone by Djokovic, who defeated the Spaniard
in four sets on July 2.
There were massive celebrations in Belgrade on July 1 after Djokovic, who at the age of 7 said his dream
was to become the world number one, topped the list of Association of Tennis Players (ATP) for the first time.
More parties are expected today in the Serbian capital, where the match was closely followed by his legions of fans. The country’s president, Boris Tadic, came to London to see his compatriot unseat Wimbledon’s reigning champion.
Djokovic has become something of a national hero in Serbia since he won his first Grand Slam -- the Australian Open in Melbourne in 2008. In total, he has won 26 ATP tournaments, including three Grand Slams.
He has twice won the Best Sportsperson of Serbia award, and has been given the Order of St. Sava, the highest decoration of the country’s Orthodox Church. His success has prompted kids across Serbia to join tennis clubs.
As a child, Djokovic witnessed the NATO bombardment of Belgrade during the Kosovo crisis in 1999. He has said he attributes his strong will to the hardships he experienced as a child.
Opinion polls in Serbia also indicate that the 24-year-old athlete is the most popular personality in Serbia and that he could win the nation’s presidency if he decided to compete. So far, however, Djokovic hasn’t mentioned any political ambitions. Talking about life after tennis, the champion once said he might consider playing golf professionally once his tennis career came to an end.
-- Farangis Najibullah