Novak Djokovic: Serbia's tennis ace at 21 

Novak Djokovic of Serbia stretches to play a backhand in his singles match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the ATP Finals on 14 November 2019 in London (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia stretches to play a backhand in his singles match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the ATP Finals on 14 November 2019 in London (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Ever wondered what your favourite sportspeople were like before they were super-mega-famous? Every week Tokyo 2020 will give you a glimpse into what life was like for some of the world’s greatest athletes before they were stars.

The deets

  • Name: Novak Djokovic
  • Age: 33
  • Nationality: Serbia
  • Profession: Tennis player

What has he achieved?

Where to start?

Current world No. 1 in men's singles tennis, Novak Djokovic has won 17 Grand Slams, including a record eight Australian Opens, five Wimbledon titles and three US Opens. He also won the French Open in 2016, making him only the eighth player to achieve the Career Grand Slam (all four major championships). He has won all nine Masters 1000 tournaments and triumphed in the Davis Cup (2010) with his native Serbia.

Added to this, Djokovic has been ranked first in the world for a total of 287 weeks and has won numerous international awards, including the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year on four separate occasions.

You may ask: "Is there anything Djokovic hasn't won?"

Well, one notable title missing from his resume is that of Olympic champion, with the closest he came being the Olympic bronze he won at Beijing 2008.

Surprising fact

Sport is definitely something that runs in the Djokovic family. His father Srđan is a former professional skier, while both of his younger siblings, Marko and Djordje, have played tennis in the professional ranks.

But, as a talented footballer growing up, his life may have taken a very different path had he chosen to concentrate on that sport instead of tennis. Still, while he may never get the chance to play the professional game, Djokovic shows his passion with his ongoing support of Red Star Belgrade - even going so far as to link their success with his own in a 2018 interview with Telegraf.

"I have been a Red Star fan for my entire life, and I had the opportunity to attend the Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain."

"The atmosphere was incredible, something that I never experienced before... And is it a coincidence that both Red Star and I achieved such great successes in the same year? I don't think so."

Novak Djokovic at age 21

A day in the life of a 21-year-old Novak Djokovic when he was living and training in Monte Carlo.

What is he up to now?

Djokovic remains at the pinnacle of the tennis world. Having gone on to achieve everything he set out to when he was 21-years-old, he is now considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Even as early as 2012, the USA great Andre Agassi stated that Djokovic, along with his fierce rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal "may very well be the greatest three players to ever play tennis".

In a highly disrupted 2020 season, Djokovic still managed to add to his Grand Slam trophy haul, winning the Australian Open final 6–4, 4–6, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4 against Austria's Dominic Thiem.

Now with the season starting to get back to some sort of normality, all eyes will be on how Djokovic performs in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020 as he seeks to win the one major trophy that has so far eluded him.

"I'm going to try to be healthy, be fit, be prepared to play my best. Olympics are always bringing something extraordinary," he told the Olympic Channel at the Davis Cup Finals.

"Every four years you get a chance to be part of the most historic sports events in the history of sport. You never get really a chance to, other than in the Olympics, to really sit next to all the elite athletes from their sports and dine with them and just exchange experiences and knowledge and everything."