A few weeks ago Novak Djokovic had announced the launch of a new tournament called the 'Adria Tour', to be held in the Balkan countries during June. The event, headlined by players like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, has now started seeing the arrival of the stars in Belgrade - and what better way to mark the occasion than with a friendly football game.
The funds generated from the tournament will be donated to various charitable organisations, including the Novak Djokovic Foundation's Early Childhood Development and Education programs. In addition though, it will give the players some much-needed match practice ahead of the likely resumption of tennis in August.
Yesterday, Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev landed in Belgrade, where the tournament is set to kick off on 13 June. The action will then move to Zadar (June 20-21) and Montenegro (June 27-28), before ending in Banja Luka (July 3-4).
A few days ago, Novak Djokovic had let his fans in on the fact that he has not been exerting himself too much ahead of the Adria Tour. And yesterday he took the opportunity to forget about tennis practice for a while and let off some steam on the football pitch.
Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev put on their soccer shoes
Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem took part in a friendly soccer match held at a park in Belgrade, and it looked like they were having the time of their lives. The Adria Tour team, clothed in white jerseys, played against the opposition in red - and there were sparks all around.
Comprising of Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Damir Dzumhur, the Adria Tour team showed off their football chops in what turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining game.
Bromance was in plain sight on the field, as Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev huddled together after their team got on on to the scoreboard. The match would soon turn very competitive, as the opposition scored two goals to Adria Tour's three.
Novak Djokovic and Co ran freely across the field and fed several long balls to their teammates. But the competitiveness didn't deter the players from enjoying a bit of banter; when Alexander Zverev was called offside for chasing a long ball, he replied with the finger!
Novak Djokovic looked in great shape on the football field
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who turned 33 just a few weeks ago, looked in terrific shape as he sprinted all across the field with Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev for company.
Having trained almost every day in Marbella during the lock-down, Djokovic seems to have taken his fitness up another notch or two. He exploited the empty spaces in the opposition defense expertly, sending a pass to Grigor Dimitrov which resulted in a goal and a decisive 3-2 lead.
Having provided the all-important assist that helped the Adria Tour team break the match apart, Novak Djokovic couldn't help but be jubilant. He celebrated by taking his jersey off, but was promptly given a yellow card by the referee.
Novak Djokovic's love for football is no secret among avid fans, as he is known to be a keen supporter of Serbian football club Red Star Belgrade. He also supports Italian club A.C. Milan and Portuguese club S.L. Benfica.
Back in 2013 Djokovic had even participated in a football exhibition with Rafael Nadal at the Brazilian club Boca Juniors' Bombonera Stadium.Published 11 Jun 2020, 23:49 IST