Novak Djokovic has earned a reputation for being a great entertainer on and off the court, apart from being widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Djokovic once approached former tennis star Mansour Bahrami in the locker room at Roland Garros to tell the veteran that he was attempting to copy some of the 'tricks' that the Iranian used in his matches.
Sharing the story on the ATP Tennis Radio Podcast, Bahrami revealed that he was surprised and happy that the World No. 1 had the honesty to come up to him and admit that he was indeed trying some of his most famous trick shots.
"Novak Djokovic, came to me three years ago. We were in the locker room in Roland Garros. I was talking to Boris and then Novak came to me and he says, 'Mansour, I look(ed) at your videos and I love watching them. It’s fantastic, I’ve tried to pick some of your tricks and I hope you don’t mind.' I was very surprised and happy that he told me, he had the honesty to tell me," Bahrami disclosed.
"I said, 'Nole, you are number 1 in the world and thank you for asking me, the honour for me if you want to try my shots is an honour for me, go ahead and help yourself,'' he added.
Bahrami is best known for an array of unorthodox but effective and delightful trick shots that create a trademark style of play unique to the Iranian.
The stalwart continues to be a regular for the veteran's doubles events at the Grand Slams and other events around the world.
Novak Djokovic and Mansour Bahrami - two great entertainers from different generations
Novak Djokovic loves to imitate the actions and expressions of his contemporaries and veterans as well, like at the 2009 US Open in the presence of John McEnroe.
Much like the Serb in his element, Bahrami is a crowd favorite for the peculiar brand of tennis that he plays.
However, during the podcast, the 66-year-old revealed that his playing style evolved from using dust pans and pieces of wood in the absence of tennis racquets during his childhood.
The Iranian began by telling host Chris Bowers that he didn't mind being remembered as an entertainer rather than as a former player.
"I don't mind if they call me "trick-shot," but when you’ve never had a tennis lesson in your life, when you never had a tennis coach, when you play for 8 years during you early years - from age 5, 6 to 12, 13 - the main things we learn stay with us for the rest of our lives. From age 5 to 13, I've played with a dust pan and a piece of wood, and no one told me to stop the nonsense and play serious tennis," Bahrami said.
"For me, it was a game. It was just a game I used to play with my friends who were in the same situation that I was. We could make a court and a net by ourselves and then make the lines and just have fun and play," the Iranian added.
As part of the fascinating story, Bahrami also disclosed that his father used to be a garderner in one of the biggest sports complexes in Iran during the 1960s which gave him access to tennis courts as a child.
"In the 1960s, when I was a 5-year-old, we had one big sports complex and we had every sport in it. My father was a garderner there. When I started walking, I could go and play any sport, it wasn't a problem," he said.