There are many different reasons for which fans have come to love Novak Djokovic. While some respect the Serb for his dominance over the current generation of men's tennis, others admire the humility with which he carries himself off the court.
Ever since he was a child, Novak Djokovic knew he wanted to be the World No. 1. But it is safe to say Djokovic wouldn't have imagined himself to be as big a champion as he is now, or winning 17 Grand Slams against the duopoly of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Serb has recounted several times how his difficult childhood years helped foster his love for tennis, and how they fueled his desire to be successful. Eventually, an 11-year-old Novak Djokovic would be discovered by the late coach Jelena Gencic, who spotted him at a summer clinic in the ski town of Kopaonik, where Djokovic's parents ran a creperie.
The rest, as they say, is history. But before becoming the legend he is today, Novak Djokovic was a precious kid like any other. And recently, a full-length video of the 4-year-old Djokovic, enjoying his first tennis class, has surfaced on Twitter.
'Bravo Nole!', says Novak Djokovic's coach
In the video, Novak Djokovic is seen being coached by the local trainer at the club. Djokovic first hits a few forehands from the mid-court, in what looks like a routine forehand drill. The Serb's talent for tennis can be seen right from the start of the video, as he hits his shots with solid technique.
As Djokovic hits one forehand after another, he is praised by his coach who can clearly identify talent in its most raw form. After the forehand drill, the coach beckons a young Djokovic to hit a few backhands. With each shot, the coach applauds Djokovic with a "Bravo, Nole!"
As a young Novak Djokovic continues the backhand drill, he happens to impress his coach with one of his shots, eliciting special praise from him.
"Look, a champion! He knows!" the coach says to the videographer, which could be either of Djokovic's parents. The young Serb subsequently high-fives the coach, and the clip cuts to a different scene.
After the drill is over, Novak Djokovic goes off to collect the balls like a dutiful student. Since nobody in the Djokovic family ever played tennis, it was fate that there were three tennis courts in town right across the road from his parents’ creperie, where the Serb undertook his first tennis lessons.
Not able to focus non-stop due to his infancy, Novak Djokovic is given the incentive of having pancakes with ice-cream by his coach if he hits a few more crisp backhands. Maybe that promise of pancakes is what made Djokovic such a consistent hitter over the years!Published 31 Jul 2020, 20:12 IST