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What makes Novak Djokovic the greatest athlete of all time - and it's not just about tennis


There are a thousand reasons, it's up to you to choose the most important one

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Novak Đoković GOAT

Photo: Tanjug/AP

A man. A great man. A legend. A winner. The best ever. It's Novak Djokovic. It is that touch of light that brightens almost every day. With his victories and actions, he gives us the opportunity to be proud not only of him, but also of our country, where sport is more than running after the ball. In Serbia, it is a way of life, a game that he has long since won.

As Djokovic himself has said, the numbers speak for themselves. We will repeat them once more, because we can. 22 Grand Slams, 38 ATP 1000 Masters won, six Final Masters titles, one Olympic bronze, 1,043 career wins, 93 cups in all competition, 374 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, $165 million in prize money.

Need we go on?

This will be the 20th year that Novak has been playing tennis professionally. And the first, big final of the Australian Open against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was as if yesterday, which "glued" all of Serbia tp to TV screens. With pride, because Djokovic eventually unfurled the Serbian flag to mark the first of his 22 Grand Slams thus far.

Novak Đoković

Illustration: Nikola Jovanovic

After that, victories just kept coming. Novak began to slowly beat the biggest players on the planet until that time. When he started beating Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and later Andy Murray, he was starting to become a real thorn in some people's side. Many were bothered by the fact that he comes from a small country like Serbia. Many wondered how this was even possible. But Djokovic was determined to prove that it was. And he succeeded.

Maybe he could have won some more Grand Slam titles. All that was missing was a little luck, but also some common sense in the world. This refers primarily to last year's Australian Open and US Open, as well as the one where he was disqualified for accidentally hitting a linesman with a ball. And in all those tournaments he was the main favorite for the title.

From an early age, Novak has faced hardship, which only strengthened him to persevere on his tennis path. He showed what he was made of, and yet he always remained himself. And that's why he's the best. Not only in tennis. There are many reasons why Djokovic is perhaps the greatest athlete of all time.

A man of the world

After 20 years spent on the tennis courts, Novak Djokovic has gained numerous admirers all over the planet. Millions of fans simply adore him, and even celebrities are not so "immune" anymore. Yesterday we also saw one of the richest man on the planet, Bill Gates, watching him with pleasure from his box at Rod Laver Arena. Famous actors, singers also came there...

At one time, Queen Elizabeth II, numerous world politicians and leaders smiled in front of Novak, and the Serb was always respected and greeted with the highest possible honors wherever he appeared. On the other hand, he was a gentleman, with those true, gentlemanly manners.

Let's add to all that that Novak Djokovic can start a conversation in as many as 11 world languages, which is something that even some people who have been dealing with languages all their lives cannot boast of. In addition to his native Serbian, ous tennis player is also fluent in English, French, German and Italian. On top of all that, he knows some phrases from Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Portuguese.

Novak Đoković

Photo: Tanjug/AP

One of the main reasons why Novak Djokovic is big in our country is that he put Serbia on the world map. In the literal sense of the word.

He made so many people hear about Serbia

If you start to explain to someone abroad, on a trip or in passing, where you are from and say that you are from Serbia, it is enough to mention the first and last name of Novak Djokovic and most people will react with delight.

Even if someone doesn't follow tennis, they had to hear about Novak Djokovic and where he comes from on the news or somewhere on the internet. Our tennis player is in particularly popular in the neighboring countries, but there are no fewer fans in Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy... In the Far East, it's even a different story - in China, India, Japan they simply adore him.

He helped Serbia with many donations, but also people and kids around the world through his Foundations, in times of floods and fires

There is no need to mention what Novak Djokovic has done for Serbia, if we only look at material things. Thanks to numerous donations through the Novak Djokovic Foundation, kindergartens have been built, hospitals equipped, many children got a better perspective of tomorrow, and some were sent and successfully cured abroad of serious diseases. Whenever it was difficult, the best Serbian tennis player was there to step in.

Even during the catastrophic floods in Obrenovac in May 2014, Djokovic used his financial resources to help rebuild this municipality. He also jumped in when heaven and earth were burning in Australia during the huge bushfires, interestingly - just a year before his (in)famous deportation.

He could not idly sit by when people were dying en masse in Italy as a result of coronavirus, so he provided help to the most vulnerable there as well. He very quickly donated medical supplies and equipment to our country, too, at a time when many people in hospitals were seconds away from dying. And therein lays his greatness.

Novak Đoković US open

Photo: AP/Tanjug

He remained true to his principles, even when that meant traveling the more difficult road

How many times during his career has Novak Djokovic shown that he does not want to deviate an inch from his thoughts and principles. It didn't always serve him well, but he showed again that he is the best. And why? Precisely because this is a time when it matters the most to show you are your own person.

Thus, at one point, he almost entered into an open "war" with the ATP after the formation of the organization PTPA, which advocates for better rights of tennis players. Novak Djokovic was called a "traitor" by some of his colleagues at the time, but he also received enormous support from many others. His idea was clean and clear, but it was obviously a thorn in someone's side.

(Covid) vaccination and the Australian Open 2022 were another example. The Serbian tennis player did not want to receive protection against coronavirus, which is why he ended up in "detention" in Australia a year ago. The rules were suddenly changed, Djokovic was treated almost like a criminal, but despite everything he wanted to fight to the end.

Well, even though he was eventually thrown out by the Federal Court and Immigration Minister at the time Alex Hawke, who soon lost his job in Australia, Novak once again showed his steadfastness. And the fans in Melbourne showed him this year that they still love him, despite everything that happened 365 days ago.

He always helps young players, advocates for young people through the PTPA organization

He is looking for smaller prizes for the finalists, and bigger ones for participants of initial rounds of tournaments.What sets Novak Djokovic apart from other players in the tennis world is his willingness to always help young tennis players, which is something we could not see so often from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray, his biggest rivals.

Novak almost never refused someone's invitation to train when there was time for it, which is why many are grateful to him. Perhaps the best example is the young and brilliant Dane, Holger Rune, who was a guest of Belgrade at last year's Serbia Open, and is now among the top ten in the world due to his meteoric rise.

The Dane always stressed that Djokovic is his big idol, that he regularly helped him, and Novak through his PTPA constantly advocates for relatively "new" tennis players. It is known that all players outside the ATP Top 100 do not have very large incomes, which is why the Serbian tennis player was looking for a certain type of balancing, so that they would not be just merely surviving.

And Djokovic proposed a model that says that the biggest players should receive less money, and that it should be distributed among the players who play in initial rounds.

holger rune

Photo: Tanjug/Ap

He always congratulates rivals, he is a sportsman

You could never hear Novak "moaing" and criticizing rivals at press conferences, as some did during last year's Australian Open, or even during this one when some began to doubt whether Novak was even injured at all.

After each major victory of Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, and even other athletes, national or foreign representatives, he would react through his social networks and congratulate them on their success.

This shows how much he appreciates the success achieved by others, because he himself knows how much sweat it takes to get there.

No scandals out of court, no affairs, doesn't drink or promote vices

And while the pages of the "yellow press" can't wait for some famous person or athlete to make a gaffe that would end up on the front page, Novak Djokovic has never in the past 20 years given them a reason for such a thing with his behavior off the court.

In addition to not creating any tabloid-worthy scandals, he also does not consume alcohol and does not promote nor has he ever promoted any vices.

Therefore, it is no wonder that he is a real role model for young people and one of the biggest idols of the new generation. Recently, in a survey in our country, Novak Djokovic's name actually ended up at the top of the list of the people that young people look up to.

Polite, open, never acts like a star

Anyone who has been in contact with Novak Djokovic at least once in their life will tell you one thing - he is a real "soul" of a man. Kind, modest and direct, he never turned anyone down for a statement, photo, autograph or any other memento.

Fame gets to many people's head, but not Djokovic, who has always managed to maintain a great relationship with his fans. This morning's video from Melbourne where he can be seen enjoying himself with them is perhaps the best indication of this. He never acts like a star, especially not in front of fans, and he almost never asks for special conditions.

One of the biggest fan groups that the best tennis players have is #NoleFam, which is led by the now famous Julie, and her smile when she sees Djokovic in front of her is probably the best proof of everything previously written.

Novak Đoković sa peharom Vimbldona

Photo: Tanjug/AP

Protecting environment and nature

What many people's lifestyles do not take into account at all, with Djokovic occupies a high place on the priority list. It is about protecting the environment and nature, where Novak likes to spend a large part of his free time.

Let's just remember how many times we have seen our best tennis player on top of a mountain or simply in a meadow resting and absorbing energy. He is a frequent guest in the now famous Visoko, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and about a year ago we also saw him picking grapes in a glade in the heart of Serbia.

That is why, through his Foundation, he invested funds in the preservation of natural resources, animals and rare species. It is also the most beautiful environment, where Novak likes to return often.

He advocates a healthy lifestyle

Almost directly related to the previous item is the diet itself, which is planned almost down to the last detail by Novak Djokovic. After all, most other athletes during the season, too, have every meal planned in detail, in order to stay in best possible shape.

However, with Novak, thinks have gone a step further. Djokovic constantly advocated a healthy lifestyle, with the consumption of plenty of vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Everything, of course, in a balanced and dosed manner.

In addition, Novak has really stressed the importance of physical activity many times, which he promoted at various tournaments, conferences, but also by visiting children in schools and kindergartens throughout Serbia. In this way, he spurred an even greater number of children to engage in sports or at least some kind of physical activity instead of using phones and sitting at computers.

He pays a lot of attention to his family, despite the fierce rhythm and obligations throughout the season

And finally, the most important thing in everyone's life, including Novak Djokovic - family. The tears and hugs of brother Marko and mother Dijana after yesterday's Australian Open final probably best show how much their support, together with that of wife Jelena, daughter Tara and son Stefan means to our best tennis player.

He already "shares" the tennis court with Stefan, while little Tara decided to go to in another direction and prefers gymnastics. Novak has emphasized that he wants to spend as much time as possible with them, to enjoy their growing up and tha he is now becoming more and more serious in that parenting role.

He often shared videos enjoying himself with his wife and children on social networks, whether at tournaments or in nature far from civilization. Quite simply, Novak, despite everything, manages to find a place in his heart and time for each of them.

That is why he is the greatest athlete of all time.

Video: There is some higher reason why all this happened: Novaks first statement a day after the conquest of AO


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  • Ognen

    February 6, 2023 | 18:05

    Novak Djokovic is the best tennis player of all time, and soon to be the Greatest athlete of all times!


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