Where is Novak Djokovic from?

Novak Djokovic takes a breather
Novak Djokovic training

Novak Djokovic was born in Belgrade in what was then the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 22 May 1987.

He has described his early childhood as being magical but still bears deep scars from the 1999 airstrikes against his hometown.

The family lived in Banjica, a residential area south of Belgrade.

His father Srdjan Djokovic came from an ethnically Serbian family while his mother Dijana (née Žagar) comes from a Croatian family.

Djokovic was a young boy living in Belgrade during the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the associated wars and conflicts.

He has spoken about growing up in Belgrade during the infamous NATO airstrikes and bombing of Yugoslavia.

His parents provided him with his first tennis racket, little more than a child’s toy but enough to spark an enduing passion that is yet to be doused.

In summers he would attend tennis camps in the Serbian city of Novi Sad and it was there that he would be spotted by former Yugoslav player Jelena Genčić.

His parents sacrificed much to ensure that he would be able to fulfill his potential saving up to send him to a tennis academy in Germany to keep up with his rapid development.

Djokovic has a love of languages no doubt informed by growing up in a region that is a cultural melting pot.

He is fluent in Serbian, English, French, German, and Italian and is said to love learning new languages.

While he wasn’t able to win a junior Grand Slam during his formative years he was an impressive young player and would soon be earmarked for success.

While Djokovic is a national hero in Serbia he is also very popular in neighboring Croatia and also Bosnia Herzegovina where he has done extensive charity work.

Djokovic graduated from high school in Belgrade, where he met his future wife Jelena Ristic. He wouldn’t study any further with the ATP Tour already calling but has admitted that he regrets not being able to further his studies.

“ I never went to university,” Djokovic told NDTV.

“Well, if I can say, that’s one wish I have in life, one regret, that I would like to go in some university, because I really like the idea of educating yourself and being part of a group of students.”

Djokovic grew up in a family very fond of skiing with his father a former professional in the sport and they would frequently visit the Kopaonik resort which is close to the border of Kosovo where the family owned a pizzeria.

According to a relative the tennis courts at the resort encouraged Djokovic to get his returns back quickly and his background in skiing has ensured that he is always well balanced.

Djokovic has left his mark on the world but also his hometown with numerous billboards and murals bearing his famous face.

Close to the city’s ancient Belgrade fortress is the Novak Tennis Center, itself now a draw for tourists visiting the Serbian capital.

His family own and operate the Novak 1 Cafe & Restaurant in the newer portion of Belgrade and lucky patrons might even get to be served by the mother of the GOAT contender.

While Serbia has scenic mountains and beautiful old cities it lacks a coastline and therefore a beach but luckily Djokovic is a big fan of nearby Croatia as well and will often be seen holidaying in the country.

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