World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has received a special award from the Serbian government for his contribution towards improving the image of the country in the global consciousness. Djokovic was honored with the accolade by the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dacic, on the occasion of Diplomacy Day.
Novak Djokovic's sensational tennis skills have earned him a whopping 17 Grand Slams, placing him third on the all-time leaderboard. Djokovic is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, and unarguably the greatest sportsman in Serbia's history.
The 33-year-old has also won an Olympic medal for his country - a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Djokovic has done a lot of humanitarian work over the years, and his efforts during the coronavirus pandemic in particular have attracted widespread attention. He has donated to various charities out of his own pocket, and in addition the Novak Djokovic Foundation has helped massively on the medical front through a series of donations.
Last week Djokovic also announced the creation of a unique 'Adria Tour', where some of the top players in the world will compete and raise money for charity.
Novak Djokovic receives a charter on the occasion of Diplomacy Day
The Serbian government established Diplomacy Day in the year 2015, and the occasion is used to recognize the contributions of distinguished individual citizens. Handing a special charter to Novak Djokovic, Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that the 33-year-old has done outstanding personal engagement to promote the interests of the country.
"This year, I have the great honor to award charters to our celebrated tennis player and living legend Novak Djokovic. (He) is proof that athletes are perhaps the best ambassadors of our country in the world," Dacic said.
After receiving the award, Novak Djokovic had a brief interaction with the local media. He was quoted as saying by Tanjug News:
"I will continue to love and respect Serbia and my people. I will continue to respect and appreciate all the other peoples of the world because I believe that when acting in this way, with such emotion, it is done unequivocally well."
Novak Djokovic's sky-high earnings and generosity
Forbes recently listed Novak Djokovic as the 23rd highest-paid athlete of the year, with total earnings $44.6 million. The Serbian star is only behind Roger Federer among tennis players, while his brand endorsement deals are considerably higher than those of his Spanish rival Rafael Nadal. Djokovic is also the highest-ranked Serb in the elite list.
Novak Djokovic has distinguished himself with his humanitarian efforts over the years, and has has donated over $1.165 million in 2020 alone. He and his wife Jelena announced a donation of €1 million - equivalent to approximately $1.09 million - towards the purchase of ventilators and other medical equipment for coronavirus patients.
Given the sheer magnitude of Novak Djokovic's generosity, not many would begrudge the 2020 Australian Open champion receiving the special honor on Serbian Diplomacy Day.