Novak Djokovic appointed UNICEF Goodwill ambassador
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was today appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations Children’s Fund.
In a statement, the tennis ace said he was “..honored to have become a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, and to continue to help defend and uphold children's rights and provide access to early childhood care and development for every girl and every boy."
The 28-year-old Serbian established his own charity, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which aims to, in its manifesto, “enable children from disadvantaged communities to grow up, play and develop in stimulating, creative and safe settings, whilst learning to respect others and care for their environment.”
Djokovic himself grew up in a country affected by the ravages of economic crises in the wake of the region’s Kosovo War, fought by the armed forces of what was formerly the Republic of Yugoslavia. His growing-up years were marked by economic crises in the region, the rule of the authoritarian Slobadan Milosevic. The country at the time was still a constituent of Serbia and Montenegro, and the tumult in the region greatly affected those growing up in the thick of it, Djokovic amongst them.
At the conference where he was announced as ambassador, Djokovic said support from his family had been ‘crucial,’ and that it had made him a “stronger person”.
"Unfortunately in my country and in many disadvantaged rural areas around the world children live in such circumstances that they are discouraged to dream," he told reporters assembled at New York City’s United Nations headquarters.
Djokovic will play the upcoming U.S. Open in the city, and is considered one of the frontrunners for the title.