Marion Bartoli reckons Novak Djokovic would have been even more popular had he not come from a small Eastern European country like Serbia.
Bartoli, in fact, went as far as to say that the 24-time Grand Slam champion would have had a statue dedicated to him in every city if he was born in the United States of America.
In a recent interview for RMC, the Frenchwoman touched on certain comments Djokovic himself had made recently about how his Serbian ancestry has impacted his career.
The World No. 1 says that he would have been glorified as a sporting hero, especially in the West, a lot more if he wasn't from Serbia.
"I leave that up to you and everyone else, whether or not I deserve to be part of that discussion. ... but one thing is a fact, though – if I wasn’t from Serbia, I’d have been glorified on a sporting level many years ago, especially in the West," Djokovic said.
Bartoli agreed whole-heartedly with that assessment:
"Of course, it’s not just the fact that he is Serbian. We know very well that if Novak was American, he'd have a statue in every city.
"The fact that he is Serbian means that he is not as publicized. Coming from a small Eastern European country, with a recent painful past, affects one's popularity rating."
Novak Djokovic helps lead Team Serbia into Davis Cup Finals quarterfinals
Meanwhile, Novak Djokvoic helped steer Serbia into the quarterfinals of the 2023 Davis Cup Finals this week, joining the Czech Republic from their group in the knockouts. Spain and South Korea were the two teams to miss out.
In Djokovic's absence, Serbia prevailed 3-0 over South Korea in the first rubber. The 24-time Grand Slam champion arrived in time to take on Spain, beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to seal his country's spot in the last eight.
With qualification secure, he did not play singles in the final tie against the Czechs, which his team lost 3-0. Djokovic played doubles alongside Nikola Cacic, but the pair lost in three sets against Adam Pavlasek and Tomas Machac.
"My priority will be winning the Davis Cup. I hope it will come step by step. I came here to contribute to the overall triumph of Serbia.
"The goal is to qualify for the final tournament in Malaga and to go where we didn't play last year," Djokovic had said before the decisive tie against Spain.