"10 Deutsche Mark was all we had" - Novak Djokovic recalls his childhood struggles

  • Novak Djokovic talks about the life lessons he imbibed from his parents while growing up.
  • The Serb had a traumatic childhood in war-torn Serbia, with his family having gone through tough financial times.
Modified 15 May 2020, 04:04 IST

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic talked about how he learned saving money from his parents during a chat show with Graham Bensinger.

Much before he made his professional debut on the tour, the Serb imbibed some of his earliest life lessons from his parents Dijana and Srdjan Djokovic. Novak Djokovic and his brothers were taught at a very young age that the first step to saving money was to be aware of their spending habits.

"Well, you learn from your parents, obviously," Djokovic said. "They teach you about some fundamental things in life. They made us realize how important it was to have the awareness about how you spend money and how you save it."

Novak Djokovic also talked about the difficult financial times faced by his family when he was young. His dad worked hard to earn every penny, and everyone in the Djokovic household was conscious of his sacrifices.

"I remember the time when my dad put 10 Deutsche Mark on the table because that's all we had at that time. Those circumstances and the environment taught us big lessons about money."

The 17-time Grand Slam winner further went on to add that he and his brothers learnt to look at money as only a means to an end and not the end itself. The 'end', as taught to Novak, was a nicer and better life.

Money is something you have got to value and respect because you have to earn it, work hard for it. When you do, it does not belong to you. It is just a means that goes through, and it allows you to live a nicer life. But it does not give you happiness, it does not give you joy.


What else did Novak Djokovic say in the interview?

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

In a wide-ranging discussion with the American, Novak Djokovic also talked about his traumatic childhood during the Yugoslav War - when bombings destroyed the serenity of the night, and sleep was hard to come by.

"In 1999, when we had the bombings, we lived in an apartment 500 feet from here," Djokovic said. "We would come to this building every single night of (the) bombing because our building did not have a shelter."

Djokovic showed Bensinger the corner of a building where his familty and up to 50 other families would come and take refuge during the peak of the war.

"It's crazy when you think about the amount of people that would come here and hide. It's definitely the same as it was 20 years ago. The whole building, with (people from) 50 apartments, will be here. People would just hide in corners and try to find a safe space."

The 32-year-old spoke about how difficult it was to take the bombings as a new 'normal' while growing up. He narrated an instance during his 12th birthday celebration in 1999, when there was the disturbing sight of a plane flying over.

"After a month, we just stopped reacting to it. I remember celebrating my 12th birthday party at the tennis club where I grew up and during the happy birthday song, there was a plane flying over."

Published 15 May 2020, 04:04 IST
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