Novak Djokovic explains why his daughter wanted to meet Neymar ‘badly’

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic in front of a mike

Novak Djokovic and his children attended a Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) match over the weekend and the trio managed to meet football greats Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner and his son Stefan and daughter Tara were in attendance at Parc des Princes on Saturday when PSG took on Clermont in the final match of the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season, but wasn’t a happy end to the campaign for the Paris club as they lost 2-3.

However, the Djokovic clan had an outing to remember as they met football icons Messi and Neymar.

“It was my first time meeting them in person – they are great champions,” Djokovic is quoted as saying by Tennis Majors.

“It was a pleasure and an honour to meet them, especially Messi, a player who left an extraordinary mark in the history of football.”

Despite the defeat PSG had already won the title so they had plenty of reason to celebrate.

Although Djokovic was happy to meet-up with the football superstars, he is aware of the pressures that come with professional sport.

“They did win the title already, but the expectations are always huge from stars like them,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t want to disturb them and to enter their space while they were preparing, but they saw me on their way to the locker room [before the game] and they came to say ‘hi.’ It was my first time meeting them in person – they are great champions.”

Five-year-old Tara was particularly keen to meet Brazilian legend Neymar and her father explained why.

“Neymar signed Tara’s jersey, but it’s an interesting story,” the tennis great said.

He added: “She doesn’t follow sports much, but she has a school friend who is half Brazilian-half Serbian – that girl dances all the time to this song about Neymar. That’s why she wanted to meet him badly.”

Both his children were at Roland Garros on Sunday as he defeated Juan Pablo Varillas to secure his place in the quarter-final and Stefan shadowed his famous dad ahead of the clash.

“Stefan wanted to be with me through the whole routine, to see how it feels – warm up, gym, practice, this board game we always play, lunch… He was there the whole time,” Djokovic said.

He added: “They bring me positive energy, peace and serenity. Most important things. I am the type of person that easily gets excited. My kids’ presence gives me balance, takes my mind off tennis. I am grateful they came.”

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