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Interview With Novak’s Mother Dijana Djokovic With English Subtitles | SPORT KLUB Tenis

February 21, 2020

When did you first become aware
that your son is really great? Huh, when
did I first… To be honest, he was always
different from other kids, but he wasnít
great at the time. Yes, he was different
because he was more mature and somehow knew what
he wanted since childhood when he decided that he
wanted to play tennis and… at first, of course we just
wanted him to play a sport… Tennis was not one of our
sports, we liked other sports. But if he chose to do
so, we would support him. However, as time went
on and as he grew older, Jelena Gencic was the first
to say that she had not seen that kind of talent
since Monica Seles. Though she worked
with a lot of players. At that time it made us think
what she was talking about. However, he was still young and
it was too early to talk about it. My husband was
trying, I mean, he was the only one who had faith
that I thought was fanatical at first, I didn’t understand it
because I couldn’t understand that my kid could be
at the top of the world, I just didn’t have that picture
in my head at that moment, but as he grew up and when
he started to win tournaments, maybe I realized
that when he won. When he became a three-time European
champion and when he was in singles, doubles and in a
team competition, I think it was then
that I started believing my husband and that
I started yelling, “Yes, yes, you see, he
could really be the best!” While he was growing
up at Kopaonik, we had a glasshouse where
I put newspaper clippings. There was a big banner on the glass
where I put his successes stories and people came and watched and read
and I remember a Montenegrin kid who… there was a basketball
camp at Kopaonik, it was summer and he was
passing by and asked me: Is this your son?
– Yes. Is he the best?
– Yes. In the whole world?
– Yes, in the whole world. And that stayed with me,
and I really believe that the faith that he
can be the best, I think it’s the strongest
power and energy that we could pass on to him and that
we all believe it because… I can’t describe it in words,
but it really does exist. I remember my
arrival at Wimbledon, there was a beautiful
fountain at the entrance, like a marble globe, with
water overflowing and I remember that I came and started
singing and doing this: “The world is mine. So there are some scenes, some
situations that we literally invoked.. You have to believe,
you have to visualize, you have to wish strongly
and it may come true. Yes, be careful what you
wish for, it might come true. Now, let’s talk
about that time. So, you put those clippings all
over the wall, you visualized, but when you think about
it now, despite hard times, you managed to get Novak everything
he needed to become what he is now. And you had to raise
three boys and you were a wife and a mother,
living with four men. Yes.
– How? I don’t know, I really donít,
we improvised, probably. I have to say, it was a difficult
period, but now I have fond memories. It was difficult, hard,
raising the children, working, providing the means
Novak needed to move on, but somehow when I look at those
pictures and evoke the memories now, they are fond
memories, precious. I don’t remember anything
bad about that period, I’m very fond of these memories
because we spent a wonderful period of time at Kopaonik where
the kids lived a healthy life, before they went to school, but
there were periods of separation, there were also
tough moments, the most difficult one was when
Novak had to leave the country. I think it was the hardest thing in
my life when he had to go to Germany at the age of
12 and a half, but he simply had to
leave in order to carry on. And when was that
contact, who called you? Jelena Gencic suggested that, because
she could no longer work with him, when he was
about 11 she said: “I canít work with him any longer, he
has surpassed me, he must go on now”. Then there was an option of going
to America but that was too far away, he was only 12, it was
really mission impossible. Then she contacted Nikola Pilic, we had
heard about him but we didn’t know him. So she contacted
him and he told her: “You know, I don’t work with
such young kids, he’s too young”, but she said: “Please take him, you’ll see,
he’s an exceptional talent and he really needs to leave
in order to make progress. So he left when
he was nearly 13. We didn’t have the means, we
didn’t have visas for Germany, we just couldn’t take him,
Srdjan and I, so in the end, Goran took him there and
he stayed for 2-3 months, he left home for
the first time. I was on the
phone all the time, I phoned every day and talked
to Nikola or his wife Mia. I think it was divine providence
that he was with such people, because they are really wonderful, I
felt safe, they were our compatriots, I was sure that my
child was in good hands. Because I know that those academies,
especially America… it’s chaos. You cannot send your
child there on his own. I really wouldn’t
recommend that to anyone, someone has to
be with the child. So, because at that moment we
couldn’t, we trusted Nicholas and Mia, and they were really like parents
to him and took proper care of him. I phoned nonstop
to see if he ate, if everything was all
right, if he was healthy. They had only
positive impressions, they appreciated that he was disciplined
and that he came 20-30 minutes before the training to warm
up and they were fascinated because a bunch of
kids were either late, or rushed to the field
without warming up. But his warming up and stretching
proved to be the right move because now you see his body and
how well he plays at his age and how well he
stretches into splits, they call him a rubber man, so
what he did really made sense, he told us that Janko, or Viktor
invited him to play, but heíd say ” No, no, I have to warm up, don’t
count on me for the next 10-15 minutes. And they would just
come and start playing. Thatís not the way to it, heís
been doing it since he was a kid. Also, after training, you cannot
just take the towel and go home, no. You must do the stretching and
everything else you need to do. Do you remember any of the
conversations from that period? Nikola Pilic and his wife
said great things about him, but what did Novak tell you, what
were his impressions back then? He was full of impressions,
he met a lot of people there, for example he met
Ivanisevic for the first time, he was just a kid,
but Nikola said: “Come on, Goran, play with this kid,
he’s a great talent, and he finally did. I mean, Novak was in awe, he didn’t
miss the ball, he was impressed, it was important for
him to prove himself. Then Goran gave him
some chocolates and such. He hung out with various
guys, from our country… but there were also Germans, Russians,
so that was a period of growing up. Your other two sons, Djordje
and Marko, what did they think of Novak’s success while
they were growing up. They also played tennis, but their
brother was the best sportsman, the best tennis
player in the world. They had a role model
and an idol at home. So, it couldnít
have been better. However, as good it is, it also
brings some other negative things, they had a heavy
burden to carry. Because whatever they
did, other people, not us, but kids, coaches, whoever,
compared them to Novak. And they were trying to build
themselves up, even to this day, of course, “I’m Marko, I’m
Djordje, I’m not Novak. ” They adore him, of course,
they get along very well, and he can always give
them some very useful tips, but the way other people see it,
that was a little difficult for them. I remember the first Australian
Open, when we were on the terrace, and this little trophy
was in our hands, but Marko was always
in the background. I said: Marko, come
but he wouldn’t, “That’s not my
trophy” and I said: But we all won it, we were
all in the stands, its ours… but he always wanted to stand
behind us, he wants to build himself, just like Djordje, with his name,
his dedication and his effort, whatever
he is doing. They both chose tennis, we offered
them other options, basketball, karate, football, whatever
they were interested in, no, it was tennis because their
first toy at home was the ball. What advice did
they get from Novak? What is most important to me
as a mother is that they have a good role model at home and
that they are all good children, good people, well-mannered, decent,
educated, I canít wish for more, really. My heart is full. They get on well,
they support each other, at the moment, Marko is with
him in Australia, Djordje will be joining
them in a couple of days, so Iím the happiest when the
three of them are together. I suppose you watched the ATP Cup?
– Yes, of course. First competition, for the
first time in history and Novak, together with all the
guys in the national team, once again part of
history. How did you feel? I must say that I was
really emotional because I can see how much
it means to him, we are very proud of what they did, not
only Novak but the other team members, Lajovic who was great and Viktor
who somehow made a comeback, so it was bursting
with emotions, there were sparks that
we also felt, of course. We cheered wholeheartedly, woke
up during the night to watch, so that finale was the icing on the cake
and I am so happy he defeated Nadal, and then because they both won
doubles, you can see on their faces, you can see how passionately
they carry the flag and sing songs and
how they sang Serbia, I love you,
Serbia… fantastic. I was more than proud, my eyes
watered when I saw him cry, he was overwhelmed and I could
see how much he wanted it. We didnít talk, we texted, but I
could see how much he wanted to win because they were
sorry for the Davis Cup that we lost too
early, but never mind. So I think this one is like the Davis
Cup 2010, when everyone went into orbit, Novak and others,
Janko and Viktor, this will also be a springboard
for them for a new period, for these younger ones,
Lajovic and all others. I also hope that this is
such an injection for Novak, that he has recharged his
batteries and moves on. You say you didn’t talk
to him, you only texted. What did he tell
you… Mom…? No, I always congratulate him, I
share my opinion very moderately, I wonít burden him, but he told
me there were a lot of emotions, they were overjoyed to win for
their country, for their people. And the audience,
I was fascinated. I talked to Marko after
the finals and I told him “Mare, that audience, it’s not normal,
it’s like you played in Belgrade” And he says “No, Mom, it’s even better,
because these people miss Serbia and the flag and tennis players
too, because theyíre so far. Here, somehow… maybe everyone
has had enough, I don’t know. But for the most part, there’s more
of a pretend audience, and there… everyone one has a
hat, a shirt, a scarf, a flag, they proudly
show where they come from. And the fact that Nadal complained that
it was allegedly a football audience, I mean, we all remember Madrid, we
also remember Wimbledon recently, we also remember the US Open,
so it’s not quite like that. Even when he plays as an individual
and the audience is against him, but this is still a team competition
i. e. the former Davis Cup, now the ATP Cup where the team
plays, where you play for the country, for the flag, for the
anthem, for your people, so of course
everyone will cheer, and Novak wants it, he feeds
on it, that’s his food, simply, he is looking for that
support that he does not have when playing alone
on other courts. And it means
a lot to him. Thereís his story that when
“they cheer Roger, I hear Nole”, that is what he really needs because
he gets the energy and strength from it. Now he heard his own name.
– Yes, it was a double dose. We saw that at that ATP Cup Marko
brought all Novakís equipment in a duel against Nadal,
that he was with him there. Always. I say: Mare, you could earn
something by sitting on the bench… and he says: “No, I came here
out of love. ” So I said bravo. Yes, they all showed
that love in the end. They did. They really
love each other. Thereís no jealousy, no
envy, nothing like that, “he is better,
Iím not that good,” but they probably questioned
themselves while growing up. Marko has obviously
had some problems, I mean, when you have
somebody like that at home, others are bound to feel a
little “why can’t I be like him”, but it’s mission impossible,
three champions at one home… but three good
men, honest, well-mannered, that’s
most important to me. When we talked informally said shyly
why me, so now I am asking you: Why not you? You are the mother of
the best tennis player in the world. Not only a
tennis player, he has been voted the best
athlete in the world four times. What does it
mean for you, were you there last time it
happened, how did you feel? How did I feel? As the most proud
mother and woman in this world, because seeing those
sporting greats and people who were in Monte
Carlo in that Hall, when you look left and right,
see this one, and that one, then I donít know some people,
then when I learn who they are, I say wow. I mean, some of them
were great when I was growing up, they were heroes, great
sportsmen and they all chose my son to be the best
sportsman in the world and they applauded
him and bowed. That to me is the biggest
applause and the highest praise of what he has achieved and what
we have achieved as his parents. What surprised you most outside
Serbia, in relation to you personally, to you as a family, and what surprised
you here in Serbia and the region. Well, abroad, in the
beginning, before Novak proved himself on the
field, there was no respect. Later, owing to his
results, victories, behavior on the
court, when he became, not the first, he might
have been the third, then they already started to
treat us differently, I must admit. In what way?
– With respect. So, you came, you,
Novak’s mom, the family, a kid showed up and you say
they had no respect for you. How was it then, and how
was that respect greatly improved and evident
when Novak became popular? Well, in the
smallest of things. For example, we’re looking for
accreditations at the Roland Garros, we canít help it,
weíre a big family. Itís not possible, they only give
I don’t know how many per player. And we all know very well that was
not the case with Federer and Nadal, although there were
so many of them. It was only later… now, you
can ask for as many as you want. So you have to prove yourself,
there are double standards. But that is the way to learn…
you realize they respect success. And they respect
Novak, and therefore us. And in Serbia?
– In Serbia… well I think they do. I mean, some are enviable and
such and such, but what can you do, some of us
are not ideal. I am proud that he is a
perfect role model for children. It makes me really happy because
at the time when he was growing up, we know very well who the role models
were and suddenly a generation appeared, when there was that Nike
exhibition, there were Novak, Ana, Jelena, Janko, Viktor, children who
achieved everything on their own, through sweat and toil and
blood, it was not a gift, they didnít steal anything,
rob or kill anyone. And suddenly the
climate changed a bit, and then I noticed in the streets
that children were playing tennis, drawing the
court in yards. Suddenly, they became role
models, these young people who, have come so far owing to
their dedication and success. I am really happy about that,
and as for what people think… I think 99% of people,
normal people, like him. If anyone is envious,
jealous, that’s their thing. Does it make you smile when you
see those kids drawing in the street and remember your Novak
doing the same or playing on his own in an empty pool,
hitting ball countless times. Of course it makes me
smile because I’m glad. That means my son left a mark and
these kids want to be like him. And that they want
to play tennis. It doesn’t matter what sport,
it matters that they play. I really like that and
I like to see children who are proud when
they come to me and say “He is named
after Novak”. And my heart is big, really, that
someone was named after my son. So Iím really happy. What was the hardest thing for you
as a mother while Novak was growing up as a sportsman and during
his maturation as a man. Talking about Novak the
sportsman… millions of socks, dirty laundry and so on, that was
the hardest thing for me because I was the one who
did the laundry, especially the slag that I
don’t like because of this, the matches we watched,
so you get nervous. But so we were training a
little bit since he started. Talking about Novak the man, I’m
sorry he had to leave home early. And then you think
that you couldn’t influence certain
things and that you didn’t have time to do that
because you weren’t with him. And then at some moments
I even have a blackout, I miss something from my past,
some parts, as if I don’t have them, I don’t know
where they are. The truth is, I didn’t
spend that time with him. And in fact, most of
all I crave for him. Marko and Djordje were with me,
and he left the nest very early, that’s actually the
price. That’s the price. While Novak was there, while they
were separated, how did they react? Well, they missed him a lot and
whenever he came they were overjoyed, jumping on him, even being a
little rough, but out of love, because they hadnít
seen him for some time. I remember, Djole was little, we
were at Kopaonik and then my dad comes and tells him Let me buy you something
in the store… something sweet. Then, at the store, he will
take e. g. chocolate bananas, but he takes “one for me, one
for Marko and one for Novak”, everything
times three. So my dad was fascinated that
though Novak was not there, and Marko was maybe in Belgrade, he
still picked one for each brother. Sweet story, of course
they adored each other. Actually, our lives were
subordinated to Novak and his life, and their
lives as well. We changed many things
overnight for the sake of Novak. They were supposed
to go to Barcelona, to a camp, Marko was
supposed to travel. Novak was done with
the Indian Wells, somewhat disappointed that
he lost to Roddick, furious, he would not go
to Miami to play. We said: Take it easy, calm down,
weíll talk about it in the morning No, no, I’m not going… so
we change our minds overnight, take our tickets, pack in the
morning and leave for Miami. We all come as a family
and it really meant a lot because he felt better and
he was in a better mood, he was very comfortable and I
think he made it to the finals, I can’t remember the
results and what year it was but there
were such situations, we changed our minds at the
moment, overnight if he needed us, and we thought he
needed us at that moment, we take our tickets, go to
the airport and get there. How does Novak
struggle with pressure I think well, I think he learned to cope
– How? Well, working on himself. Honestly,
I don’t know how he does it, I don’t hold a candle to him anymore,
but whether it is, meditations or… I remember this Wimbledon, the
day before the Wimbledon finals, we were at their
house, Srdjan and I. So, Novak is there, heís
present, but he isnít here, physically heís there,
but mentally he isnít, heís constantly
absent, in his thoughts. He plays with the kids
but somehow he isnít there. The same thing
in the morning. The point is, he was mentally
preparing for the match against Federer
for two days. I mean, you finally
realize whatís going on. Because, talking about tennis, he
doesn’t have much to prepare for, he will talk about
that with Vajda, but mental preparation was crucial
there, he was mentally dominant. Thatís my opinion, I was
there, I watched him… and it was perhaps one of the hardest
matches I have watched in his career. The audience was impossible,
everybody screamed “Roger, Roger”, just a handful of us supported
Novak, that English audience that is, let’s just say, this
is the cradle of tennis and they are gentlemen
and well mannered, they respect opponents and
they respect points etc. However, this year
I could scream. At certain moments, I didn’t
even know the result anymore, I was totally lost, I asked
others, which I never do, others always ask me about the
result, and we couldn’t see the board, because it’s such a position
that we couldnít see that gem, so, I know the result but
I donít know the gem. I get 15 all, 30, 30 all
and then I get confused, I can’t go on and then I
wonder who has the advantage and then I ask Srdjan
or Goran for the result. You held that cross…
– Yes, I have it all the time. We saw you a million
times when Novak played, but you were different at
Wimbledon, you held it in your hand, especially when Novak
was losing to Federer, when Federer had those two match
points and you were saying something. Do you remember what you were
saying, who were you talking to? Your eyes were
full of tears. I was tense, I was stressed and
then I took the cross and I said… I remembered the US Open 2010 and
2011 and those two match points he had then but he
eventually won, so I said: You can do it,
you did it twice, you can do it the third
time and he did it. ” So my prayer
was answered. As they say, I sent a prayer
upwards to be fulfilled and he won. So it was a prayer,
nothing else. You mention prayer. Novak wears a wooden cross
around his neck which can be seen each time he takes off his T
– shirt and he always has it. But tell us what
happened in 2009. First, that cross
is from Chilandar, it’s a gift from Chilandar and
he really wears it as his amulet, that is basically
his real self. He is a true believer, but what
was very important to us is… while our late Patriarch Pavle was
ill at the Military Medical Academy, we came for a visit, to ask
him to give us a blessing, In fact, to give
Novak a blessing. He was sitting in an armchair,
we went into his room, the deacon who was there
said that Nole had arrived, that Novak had arrived and if
he could give him a blessing. He was half-asleep, his eyes were not
open, the deacon told him several times. In the end, at one point, he slightly
opened his eyes, which were sky blue, I remember that, as if I saw the
sky, and he just gave him a blessing. And then he
quickly fell asleep. But I think that blessing
meant a lot to Novak, to all of us and I think
it really is a gift from God and it should be kept
and he believes in it, he is a believer, he goes to church,
this Christmas they went to church, the whole team, which I think
was great and I think that moment was also very
important in his life. And he always wears that
cross around his neck. So no one has to wonder
if he is a believer, yes, he is Orthodox
and he has faith. Novak’s and your familyís
faith that you often mention, first your husband had faith, then
you did, and then everyone else, Novak in particular. But that Wimbledon
you mentioned, you once told me in an
informal conversation that once he
came home and said Mom, give me something to eat
after that finale. What was that? Yeah, that famous finale. He came
in the evening after the ceremony and all the obligations he
had to finish after the match, and he came home about 9-10
o’clock and had to change clothes and go to that official
dinner. And then he said: Mom, give me something to eat, I
haven’t eaten anything all day.. And I asked him: What do you mean you haven’t eaten
anything all day since this morning? And he said: Well, I had
a bite this morning.. So why didnít you
eat before the match, how could you play for
five hours without eating? Well, I had a bite or two.
I was too nervous to eat. And again I asked him how he could
play for five hours without eating, I was really shocked, so he quickly
ate something and went out for dinner. Was it Novakís mental
hunger that won? Yes, I think it’s that mental strength
because he’s really a mental giant, I donít want it to sound as a clich?,
but he’s really a mental giant. I feel stressed while watching
him, and imagine what he feels like on the court when he is struggling
with match points, with the audience, with everyone, he
is one against all. So, the mental
strength he has… I admire him. One needs to learn from
him how to overcome certain things. Because those match balls are
really unbelievably stressful. He lost many matches
because he was growing up. Learning how to fight
probably takes time. Federer, being what he is,
we wonít underestimate him, he really had
great results, though we hope that
Novak will overtake him, but at some point Federer
was pretty confused. At that moment, when
Novak saved those two match points and in that
tie-break, who was stronger? Novak. Just give him a
tie-break and no problem. He is the king
of tie-breaks. Is Novak’s encounter
with the man who operated on his arm
actually a matter of fate? We all know that he had
a problem with his elbow and that he was trying in 2017,
I mean, it took a little longer, but in 2016-2017
before he had a surgery, he tried in every possible way to fix
that injury by some alternative methods because he is against
surgeries, against medicaments, I think he won Roland Garros with
this injury but under medication. Then the medicaments had
no effect, so what was next? You can’t go on
poisoning your stomach and body with medication
if it has no effect, so he tried various
alternative methods, I probably know only
a fraction. However, he believed in it and
hoped it would help him, but apparently it did not.
I think it was fateful, because he met this doctor when
we were in Dubai two years ago. For the 2017 New
Year’s Eve, yes. We were in Dubai then and he
met this man at the promenade. He stopped Novak and told him “I
am a doctor and I can help you” and in the end it turned out that
he really operated on him, so… At some point, God sends you some
people to help you on your way. I think this is the
reason we meet some people and why we meet them in
certain periods of life, they are sent to help you, to
teach you something and to help you find the way out of
certain situations. And there were probably many,
one just needs to recognize them. When he was in Germany,
your phone conversations were short because they
were very expensive, it was the time of inflation in
the 90s, very difficult years. So, when you spoke to him, what
did you tell him? My son,… what? Well, before he left for Germany,
we advised him to keep a diary. To write what he did every day, at
least a few sentences, about tennis, or his emotions
and he did that. Maybe not every day, but I
know he did, I saw that diary, he wrote about certain days,
how he spent them, how he felt, what he did
and so on. What I find fascinating is that
he continued keeping a diary, I think he does that every
day, maybe not every single day, but he does it when
he feels like it, he writes about his
emotions, which is great. And I hope he will
write memoirs someday, so he will use
details he wrote about, and I think it
means a lot to him. On one occasion he told me that
when he was having a hard time, or when he was in doubt
maybe about the match, then he would go back a year or two, for
example, when he played against Nadal, how he felt then, what he
was doing, or against Federer, he learned from experience
and I think that is great and that we all
need to keep a diary. Unfortunately, we don’t remember to
do so, but I think it’s a great thing. It’s a long way from writing your
first diary to winning a trophy. At the time of this interview, Novak
has 16 grand slams, 34 masters titles, as well as five final
tournament trophies. Mom Diana introduced
us to only a small part of the museum and
everything Novak owns. Yes, we can’t even put them all
in, there are a lot of them there, you can’t see this side, but there is
another showcase where the masters are. There are so many trophies, one
part is at the Tennis centre, and here are these
big, main trophies. The first and of course my favorite
is from the Australian Open 2008, it is very small as you can
see, compared to those they lift, because these are
replicas that they get. It was only in 2011 that they started
making them in the actual size. Until then, they were
very small, like this one. So when you lift the big one
and then you get the small one, you ask yourself
whatís going on. I had the same thought about
the one from Roland Garros, which is also tiny,
like a drinking vessel. But that one
is my favorite. After Novak won
that Roland Garros, he was the only one to
complete all four Grand Slams in the history of tennis
and thus made history. He did. – It’s been a long time
waiting for that Roland Garros. It was a long wait, so there
was this 2015 against Wawrinka, also the year before that. It wasnít
his time, he was not ready yet. But that’s why he completed
everything in 2016, he had all four Grand Slams
in his hands at one point, which neither
Federer nor Nadal did. I mean, they
never did. So it’s really a matter of pride and
joy that you have all these trophies and I like
seeing them. I really like
Wimbledon because he became the first in
the world at the time, because he dreamed
of that Wimbledon, when he was a kid he would
make a trophy and lift it, so in 20011 when
he won Wimbledon, he became number one in the world
and I feel very emotional about that. We can also see Laureus
awards that Novak won… They’re not all
there, but never mind. Four times the world’s
best sportsman… At the moment, we have
only two of them here. Four times the best
sportsman in the world. It is the top of the
tops, out of all sportsmen, from all over the
world, from all sports, and they are all working hard,
he was selected as the best. What more can you say. I
think you donít need words. Novak loves playing in Arab countries
too, we see trophies from Abu Dhabi, from Doha, where he actually likes
playing and where he feels good. And where he is
quite successful, they love him there and this
is his preparatory period so that he is comfortable
with that climate, the terrain suits him and
the audience loves him. Do you think that something will
change now about the new ATP Cup, that in other tournaments and
courts, not only in Australia, people will cheer “Nole, Nole”.
Maybe that will set the things off? Maybe, I hope that
something will change, that people started understanding
what was going on at Wimbledon, which was crucial last year and many
foreign journalists and sportscasters said they felt sorry
for Novak and so on, and I think now they started to
change the picture and write about him so that people realize that Federer
and Nadal are not the only ones playing, that Novak is also there,
although he is currently second, he will be number one again,
hopefully in near future, but they glorify Federer and Nadal so
much that there is no place for others. But it isnít so. He proved it,
he became a player of the decade. And what he achieved in
that decade is fascinating. I guess they changed
the picture a bit, but letís put it on paper
and compare Federer and Novak and Nadal and Novak
in the past decade. And the kind and number of
trophies each of them won. That is enough, now they must
have changed their picture a little and understood
what Novak has done so far. Even in England some newspaper has
declared him the player of the decade, I donít know
which one. The ATP site
said that… They were the first
to declare him, but some English newspaper also
supported him and praised him. Anyway, it is the media that
changes the awareness of someone, whether theyíre the best or the
worst, but I think that will change. He is not third
any more, I mean, he was the first in the
world for several years. This is Serbia Open, the tournament
that unfortunately is no more… Yes, that’s
the trophy. Would you like it
to happen again? Unfortunately, we gave up,
because it made no sense any more. I don’t know why, but people came
and watched only when Novak played. If he had played all the matches
and doubles during the day, it would have
been great. It just wasn’t
profitable anymore, we didn’t even have the support
of the state at the time, so what can I say? We are sorry that we are not
on the map of the world again, and we just brought
the world to Belgrade, but why do something without
profit, sense and audience? China. They like him a lot in
Asia… here, in your restaurant, we can often see people from
those Asian countries who inspect everything enthusiastically and
truly admire what Novak is doing. They are fascinated
by what they see here. There are others as well, our
people should come as well, there are more
foreigners. What’s interesting about
this is that you have a small museum in the
middle of Belgrade, not really, but almost
like a museum where you can actually
see these trophies. Can we tell people to come
and see these trophies? Of course, they can be seen
from all angles, no problem. But there are
more foreigners. And the Chinese are fascinated,
they simply love taking photos of all the pictures
and trophies. Can you imagine your son
changing the political scene and situation
in Serbia? – He’s simply a revolutionary.
I have to say that. Do you know the meaning
of his first name? Someone who brings something new.
His father gave him that name. He was not named after a
relative, Srdjan liked that name, he told me and
I also liked it. But the name Novak means
someone who brings something new. And obviously, he
really has that mission, and he introduces some
innovations to everything, including nutrition,
tennis and nutrition. As for politics, Iíd
rather not talk about it. When you talk to him, he
says a lot of clever things and you can hear his comments
when he makes statements, but I wouldn’t
discuss politics. I think he can be
a leader otherwise and bring something new,
but that depends on him. I really wouldn’t,
I’m not for politics, so I guess that’s how
I convey my opinion. There are other opinions, but
I will not mention them now. But I like that smile of yours.
– Mysterious? Yes, I like it. Many times you
watched all those Novak’s matches, both in Australia
and America and I don’t know how many
places youíve been to… Has it ever happened that you
went to a tournament some time, somewhere far away,
e. g. to Australia, or you are preparing
to go, and Novak loses. And then you wonder what you are
going to do. And then you go back? Yes, it happened, the last time
was in 2017 when he decided to play the Australian Open
even though we told him it was smarter not
to go to Australia. “No, I have to see
if I can do it”, because then we were in Dubai together
and he insisted on going to Australia even though we could see
that he was not ready. In the morning, his arm hurts,
in the afternoon, it doesnít. I mean, you can’t
play like that, especially at the Grand Slam
where you’ve won three sets. And that was
the reality. But he insisted and he
wanted to go and eventually he left and I think in the
end that decision was good because he realized he
couldn’t do it anymore, that he had to
have the surgery. Maybe if he hadn’t left, he might
have pursued some alternative methods that in the long run
obviously have no effect. My husband and I decided to go
to Australia after nine years, because we went there only once, in
2008 when he won his first Grand Slam, and we had
fond memories. We went there as a family and
because he was alone there, we decided to go
and support him. So we set off, but since
it was a long way away, first we went to the Seychelles
to enjoy the warm climate, and then we would
continue to Melbourne. I organized the tickets,
the hotel, everything. So, we are in bed, watching the
match, he won the first one, great, and the second, he
played against Chung, I didnít even know who
Chung was, and he lost. And I was wondering what we
should do… it was a shock. Seven more days in the Seychelles.
– No, we went back home, of course. But I had to cancel everything, and
of course there are consequences, because I canceled the hotel, but
they say, sorry, you have to pay a fee. There was a struggle and you
have to pay in the end. I say: but I was going because of my son,
and my son lost, what can I do now? “It’s none of our business”…
It was one of the situations, but it’s the last one so
it’s still fresh in my memory. What is your favorite tournament?
– We love Miami, we love going to Miami, I like Paris, it has
a soul of its own, London has a soul of its own, so does
New York, but I canít really tell. Because I like to go and spend
some enjoyable time in a city. I love Paris, for example.
London not as much, but I like to go at
least for a few days. You said that you remember
last Wimbledon match well. Which match was
most shocking? Probably one of those that he lost,
but now I can’t even remember which one, but he did
lose some. Now I remember the one in
Paris when he lost to Wawrinka, because it was simply
realistic for him to win and only
Wawrinka was in his way, but Wawrinka played
like he was spell-bound and it was very hard,
both for him and us. That one was
hard for me. And once again, you said that
Jelena Gencic was his tennis mother. Is Marian Vajda
his tennis father? You were particularly
pleased when he told you “Mom, Vajda is coming back” when
it happened for the second time. Yes, itís true. Vajda
became part of our family. Because in 2017, I was with Novak in
Monte Carlo during the tournament… In fact, just before that he told me
that Vajda was coming back and Vajda was in Monte Carlo and
I was really thrilled and when he was on the
court in Monte Carlo, I think he was playing
against Dominic Thiem, I was sitting in the box
and when he scored a point, I heard Good! and I
turned towards Vajda, because it was him,
and I said in English, because I wanted
others to understand, Vajda, I like it when you say ‘good’
because then I know you’re there.. And that is the
energy he gives him. He just has a special relationship with
him and he’s like his tennis father, but I can’t forget
Nikola Pilic, who was also his tennis father
when Novak was growing up. After that,
it was Vajda. Novak is very direct,
you have a great story, something happened
at Kopaonik I think, when he helped people who
were working in the field. Where were you when he
told you where he was? We were on our way there,
because he had Friendship Games at Kopaonik and he
was already there, and we were
coming that day. So I called him, told him
that we were at the hotel and asked where he
was, and he said, “Here I am in the field, collecting
potatoes”. Which potatoes? “You can come
too, if you want. ” “Where, what field is it,
there are so many fields”. “You just go along the road for
200 meters, itís on the left. ” So we went there, we had
no idea what it was about, but we really found him in the field,
with the owners, collecting potatoes. So we helped them as
well and I was thrilled by a grandmother
who was 86 I think, hunchbacked, thin, with gnarled
hands, but she was the fastest, she was working
as a machine. So we took some photos and had fun with
these people, but they were impressed. Novak likes situations like
that, he loves his people, he likes communicating with
people, he loves that spontaneity, he likes talking about everyday
things, that is his food. He and his brothers love
Kopaonik because they grew up there and it’s kind
of their second home. What does Diana Djokovic do?
– How I spend my days? Yeah, you’re a
mom of three sons, but also a grandmother to
two grandchildren and… Unfortunately, the
grandchildren are not here, so I can’t say that I
spend time with them, but when they come
I really try to be with them as much as
possible every day… It’s not that I’m not doing
anything, I go to the office a little, to the restaurants and so on, I
spend time with people dear to me. Do you like cooking? You said
thereís no one to cook for now… Not really, I think Iíve had
enough of cooking in my life. I guess every woman who cooks on a
daily basis will tell you the same. But I spent time cooking
in the restaurant as well, preparing food and whoever works
with food somehow gets fed up with it. Now I don’t really cook unless I have
to and I have lunch in our restaurant, but I cook on some occasions
and when children come. Preparing food for them can be a
bit of a problem, but never mind. Let me ask you something in the end,
is there anything I didn’t ask you, do you have some advice for
parents who are watching this, children who are going
through the same thing, you said that you would
never recommend parents let their child alone without
someone else’s control, what else? Well, now I have to quote my
husband, because he’s really right. First and foremost,
parents must be realistic. They must be objective
about their child. Whether or not a child is talented
is not on parents to decide, we did not decide whether
Novak was a talent or not. So they have to consult
with the experts, we asked a number of people from
the tennis world who confirmed that Novak was a talent
and would be in the top ten. Now whether he would be a
champion, it depended on him. In order to invest in
him and to support him, because it’s a very
expensive sport, it’s not just rackets, it’s not just
equipment, it’s courts, it’s coaches, it’s trips you have to
fund, no one else but you, we had to go into debt to
make sure he could travel. It could have
been different. Thank goodness it turned
out the way it did, but I also know that many families
fell apart, broke up, went bankrupt, which is very sad, because they
were not objective, because suddenly, at the age of 15 or 16, the kid
says “I don’t want to play anymore” and you sold the house,
you sold everything you had to allow him to
travel and to play, and all of a sudden, when
they reach puberty they say “I’ve decided, I don’t
want to play anymore. ” There were a lot of
situations like that. And they really need
to pay attention, talk to experts in a number of
fields, psychologists, tennis coaches, anyone who can tell them if
their child is really talented, whether they really have
the material to work with, or you should let the child
play sports, let him play, but donít have high hopes, so that
you just don’t invest too much. Then let them join a team. There are
children who are for a team sport, they are not individuals, and
parents are forcing them to be. You should know and put your
child on the right track, because if you are not an
individual, if you are a team player, then that is what
you should do. Your impressions now, for 2020, a
great fight between Novak and Nadal, Novak is… how
many points behind… 50 points… Novak now has the opportunity
to win the Grand Slam in Australia for
the eighth time. Well, I donít want to
make any predictions, I donít like that, but
my personal feeling, after the ATP
Cup, is fantastic. I mean, if he continues on
the wings of this success, and I think he will because it
means a lot to him, and this team, this tennis family, now they
are all like a tennis family and that’s why they get on
well and support each other, I think it gives him an extra energy
and passion and an extra desire to keep going and win because
that’s the most important thing, if you don’t have passion and
motivation, then there is no success, and he has a
lot of both. The other day, they asked
in the Deutsche Welle what else is there
for him to do, he did everything he wanted,
won everything there was to win, they asked where he
found the motivation. I think they mentioned the meaning
of life, the meaning of game, that there was some
motivation there. I mean, there really
is a record to break, if he stays healthy and continue playing
like this, everything will be great. Thank you very much, I think that SportClub viewers
will really enjoy all this, children, parents,
everyone… and thank you for showing that genuine
motherly emotion that cannot be bought, faked or staged, because what you have
in your heart is definitely visible and thank you for giving
your soul to this interview. Thank you for
the invitation, I really enjoyed the chat because
I experienced it as a chat. Thank you, there will be
more opportunities, I hope. I hope so, too, thanks a lot.
– Thank you very much.


  • Reply Boban Kostic February 18, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    blago ti ga majci sto si ga rodila !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Rec Istine February 18, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Poslušajte istinitu💯 Pricu o Novaku Djokovicu.Hvala Novace za sve.. Svako dobro ljudi.. 😁

  • Reply varun reddy Mothe February 18, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    GOAT 🐐

  • Reply varun reddy Mothe February 18, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    She is a very smart and compassionate lady.that advice about parents being realistic with their children’s sporting capabilities was great and interviewer was good as well

  • Reply Bee Mars February 19, 2020 at 2:36 am

    Zamisli da imas sina i on je najbolji teniser ikada sto je hodao na zemlji

  • Reply DK Bose February 19, 2020 at 8:33 am

    15:30 outspoken lady 27.. 31…33…37..39

  • Reply Steva Stojkov February 20, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Ziva bila 100 god. gos.Dijana Djokovic! Hvala sto ste rodili SAMPIONA!

  • Reply delija67717 February 21, 2020 at 3:49 am

    Federer je sampion 5% svetske "ELITE" , NOLE je sampion 95 % ostatka sveta . Peoples Champion

  • Reply Stojan Teodorovic February 21, 2020 at 3:09 pm


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