Novak Djokovic has established himself as one of the greatest ambassadors of his country, Serbia, a fact that was reinforced when the Adria Tour kicked off in Belgrade last Saturday.
The tournament host who will donate all of his profits to various charities, Djokovic himself took part in the action on court this weekend. However, he was unable to advance past the group stage after losing a match to his compatriot. Filip Krajinovic.
During his match with Victor Troicki, Djokovic faced an 11-year-old ball boy named Mikhail Topic. And to everyone’s surprise, Topic actually got the upper hand on the world number 1 on one point thanks to a skillfully executed dropshot.
Troicki handed his racket to Topic in the second set and Djokovic rallied behind the young boy to the cheers of the Belgrade crowd. After the match, the 11-year-old thanked Troicki and Novak Djokovic for the experience via his Instagram account, which has nearly 15,000 followers.
It has since emerged that Novak Djokovic has been following the young player’s development for many years; Topic was often seen training at the Novak Tennis Center in Belgrade.
According to Corriere Della Sera, the young boy was discovered by Novak Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda. The Serbian was impressed by the young player’s talent and immediately placed him under his tutelage; Since then, he has followed his training and provided financial support.
Novak Djokovic burst into tears during the Adria Tour in Belgrade
After a shock defeat to Filip Krajinovic, Novak Djokovic was unable to qualify for the final of his own event – despite losing Alexander Zverev on Sunday. Speaking to a packed crowd of 4,000 in Belgrade after his match against Zverev, Djokovic broke down in tears as the Serbian crowd applauded.
The world No. 1 said:
“I’m not crying because I was eliminated from the tournament, I’m just overcome with emotion because it reminds me of my childhood.”
Overwhelmed by the support he received from his home fans, the Serb added:
“It’s been an emotional few days and I want to thank everyone who made this possible. The important thing after this match is that we have one of our own in the final. I love you all and thank you very much for coming.”
Novak Djokovic was criticized by many for hosting the Adria Tour and deliberately disobeying social distancing norms during the event in Belgrade. The Serb even had a personal scare recently after be nearby to a Serbian basketball player who tested positive for coronavirus.
But the Adria Tour now moves on to its next stop, which will take place in Zadar, Croatia. Djokovic has already landed in the country and was received by the president of the Croatian Tennis Federation, Nikolina Babić.