Footage of Novak Djokovic’s first tennis session becomes a viral social media hit once again

Kevin Palmer
A young Novak Djokovic
A young Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s first time on a tennis court has aired endlessly on YouTube and other social media platforms in recent years and it has hit the headlines once again after his latest Grand Slam triumph.

De Telegraf ran the footage of a diminutive Djokovic trying out tennis for the first time and being shown the basics of the sport, with the encouragement of an enthusiastic coach cheering him on.

The grainy clips revealed that even back then, Djokovic was given the nickname ‘Nole’, as he tried a sport that was new to his family.

“This sport has given my family so much,” he said after his US Open final victory against Daniil Medvedev in New York.

“Wars in our countries in the 1990s and being able to do this, sacrificing so much, especially my parents, to support me to play a sport that was very expensive at that time. Not accessible, not affordable, but I fell in love with tennis.

“No one in my family played tennis but incredible resilience and belief from my family. My wife, my kids, my team, this is your trophy as much as it is mine.

“I had a dream when I was seven – I wanted to become the best player in the world and win Wimbledon that was the only thing I wanted.

“But I started to dream new dreams, I never imagined I would be standing talking about 24 Grand Slams but the last couple of years I’ve felt I have a chance and I have a shot at history and why not grab it.”

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Djokovic first discovered tennis when he was just four years old after three new courts were laid across the street from his family’s apartment.

He had an interest in football and skiing as a child, yet becoming a professional was an unrealistic goal for a kid growing up in war-torn Serbia and with limited finances in his family.

The lack of tennis infrastructure in Serbia made Djokovic’s path to the top even more complex and when it came to financing his career, he struggled in the early days.

Now he tops the all-time lists of earnings for tennis players, but he insists he has never been motivated by cash.

“I have been blessed and lucky and it comes with my tennis and the success I’ve had and my team,” said Djokovic, who collected a $3million cheque for his latest US Open win.

“Every Euro I have earned was through hard sweat and tears, but I don’t take anything for granted.

“I know what it feels like to have zero on the table and war and sanctions. Let’s not forget where I come from. This helps me to appreciate everything I earn more.”

The young Djokovic in this oft-replayed video would never have imagined that he was destined to go on to become the greatest tennis player of all time.

Yet that is his destiny after collecting his 24th Grand Slam title, with more to come for a player who shows no sign of losing his passion for competing.