Novak Djokovic’s son Stefan takes the applause as he hits the practice courts

Novak Djokovic and his son Stefan

Novak Djokovic has been in fine form at this year’s ATP Finals and his son Stefan has also been creating headlines in Turin.

The eight-year-old young son of the 21-time Grand Slam champion has been courtside for his father’s matches in Turin and it seems he has also inherited some of the family’s tennis talents.

Stefan is still at a formative stage of his tennis development, but he has been showing some great promise as he has been hitting on the practice courts at the ATP Finals.

Sharing a court with 1992 Wimbledon champion and his father’s coach Goran Ivanisevic, Stefan showed his tennis skills are developing rapidly, with former British No 1 Tim Henman impressed by the youngster’s promise.

“You can see there are some pretty good genes out there,” declared Henman on Amazon Prime, as he stood courtside watching Stefan.

“The way he has been hitting forehands and backhands has been impressive, even though the racket he is using is half the size of him.

“The most important thing at this stage is how much he is enjoying it. He’s chasing down every ball and getting a nice cheer from the crowd as well. It looks like he is loving it.

“Novak might be struggling to get on the court as his son won’t want to leave!

“It looks like he has been playing for a few years and he has a good repertoire of shots. Trying the one handed-slice at his age is not easy as you need a bit of extra strength, but I’m sure that will come.”

The former world No 1 spoke about his son’s passion for tennis and revealed he is excited to be around a tournament featuring some of the game’s biggest stars.

“My son is playing tennis, he’s eight years old now and he’s aware of what is happening, who is who,” said Djokovic.

“He just loves going around, getting signatures, playing some tennis, assisting Goran with the ball picking, then coaching on the warmup sessions and training sessions when I’m on the court.

“He loves to be around and for him, this is a unique experience and for my daughter, of course, and for me. I am really grateful to have them around.”

Djokovic went on to suggest the presence of his two children in Turin has inspired him to reach new heights on the court.

After a challenging year that saw him banned from several high-profile events due to his Covid vaccine status, the Serbian has confirmed he is in a good place with a strong family supporting him.

Djokovic’s son and daughter watched on with enthusiasm as Novak beat Andrey Rublev on Wednesday and he confirmed they were great cheerleaders.

“I think it is probably the first match that both my daughter and son, and of course my wife, have watched the entire match from the first to the last minute,” Djokovic said.

“We played for just over an hour. It is so great to have them.

“For me, that is one of the biggest motivational factors that I have right now competing at the highest level. Having them courtside, watching and celebrating, hopefully with me.

“Making history in this sport is always a big motivational factor for me.

“It doesn’t maybe necessarily affect the whole approach to the specific match because I’m experienced enough and I know myself well and what I need to do in order to prepare for my next challenge and next opponent.

“But, of course, I’m aware of the possibility to make history again. It is a great pleasure and honour to be in that position. So it does motivate me and inspire me to play even better tennis.”

Djokovic was given a huge boost earlier this week when it was confirmed he will be allowed to compete in January’s Australian Open.

The nine-time Australian Open champion expressed his relief at having his visa ban overturned which will allow him to compete in next year’s Australian Open.

The 35-year-old was detained and then deported from Australia last January in a dramatic process after trying to enter the country without having a Covid-19 vaccination.

He was subsequently given a three-year visa ban, but the Australian government has since overturned that decision, freeing him up for a return to Melbourne Park in early 2023.

“I was very happy to receive the news,” added Djokovic. “It was a relief obviously knowing what I and the people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post-Australia.

“I could not receive better news for sure – during this tournament as well.

“Did it affect my game today? I would like to believe it did. Why not? I don’t think it did affect me too much because I’m familiar with what I need to do in order to prepare myself for every match.

“Of course, knowing that I have clarity now, what I do in the off-season, starting the season in Australia, also of course it did relieve some of the pressure me and my team felt. Just giving that clarity makes it great for us.

“Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam. I made some of the best memories there. Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer.

“I’m always thankful to go through experiences, no matter what the experiences are. I try to be optimistic and positive in life. I look forward to starting the new year in Australia, and we’ll see how the next year goes.”