Teenager Olga Danilovic has made it to the main draw of a Slam for the first time, and she recently thanked compatriot Novak Djokovic for his role in her qualification. Danilovic believes it is important for players such as herself to do well and make Djokovic proud, which would help ‘justify’ all his efforts towards Serbian tennis.
Novak Djokovic spent most of the last month helping out his fellow Serbian and Bosnian peers. The World No. 1 invited them to his academy for practice, and even guided them from time to time.
Olga Danilovic was one of the beneficiaries of this system, and she often trained under Novak Djokovic's watchful eyes.
During a recent interview, Danilovic expressed her gratitude to Novak Djokovic and all the coaches at the World No. 1’s tennis center in Belgrade. The 19-year-old also acknowledged Djokovic’s immense contribution to the development of tennis players from the Balkan region.
"I believed in my work, in myself and the preparations that I had thanks to Novak Djokovic at the Novak Tennis Center together with coaches Boris Bosnjakovic, Kristijan Schneider and Vlado Radonjic," Danilovic said. "Great gratitude to Novak for everything he has done and is doing, and it is up to us to fight and justify all his love, commitment and everything he is doing for the betterment of all of us."
The 19-year-old qualified for the Australian Open main draw after defeating Ankita Raina in the final round on Wednesday. Danilovic won 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, and will join Novak Djokovic and the rest of the field at the year's first Major.
Novak Djokovic's tireless efforts to help players such as Olga Danilovic
With warm and well-equipped tennis courts hard to come by during winters, it is tough for lower-ranked players such as Olga Danilovic to train regularly. So Novak Djokovic opened up his tennis center to several Serbian and Bosnian players in December, allowing them to avail the facilities free of charge.
Djokovic ensured their safety too by instructing his center to strictly adhere to the ‘bubble’ rules on the courts. The World No. 1 also opened up other facilities for the players, such as physiotherapists, weight rooms and a hotel for those residing outside Belgrade.
Meals were provided free of cost to the players, as well as their coaches and support teams. Novak Djokovic also recognized that players needed equipment, and so allowed them to use as many boxes of balls and racquet strings as they needed from his own supply.Published 14 Jan 2021, 14:47 IST