Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Birth date:
(37 y.o.)
Place of birth:
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
6'2 ft ()
176 lb (80 kg)
Birth Sign:
Chinese zodiac:

Biography of Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is one of the most famous tennis players in the world. Fans nicknamed him "The Joker" for his cheerful disposition, and he easily challenged established stars like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. However, his career had both successful periods and moments of clear failure. Experts cautiously predicted Djokovic's matches; tournaments could end in either absolute triumph or failure.

The tennis player acted impulsively and performed inconsistently, sometimes becoming the world's number one, then dropping out of the top five. He also found himself at the center of scandals – for example, in 2022, he refused to get vaccinated against coronavirus, causing him to miss several competitions.
Tennis player Novak Djokovic
Tennis player Novak Djokovic

Early Years

Novak Djokovic was born on May 22, 1987, in Belgrade, which was then the capital of Yugoslavia. His father, Srđan, is of Kosovo-Montenegrin Serbian descent, and his mother, Dijana, is Croatian. The future tennis star grew up in a large family with two younger brothers, Marko and Djordje.

His father was passionate about skiing and tried to instill a love for sports in his sons. Novak enjoyed skiing with his father, but in 1991, when he held a racket for the first time, he found his true calling.
Four-year-old Novak Djokovic receives his very first tennis racket for birthday
When he was six years old, Jelena Genčić, a Yugoslav tennis legend, noticed him at a sports camp. She admired the boy's abilities: "This is the greatest talent I've seen since Monica Seles [former world number one of Yugoslav origin -]."

The coach worked with Novak for the next six years. Djokovic's parents sacrificed a lot for his success. Dijana recalled that sometimes they didn't have money for bread, and the younger sons went hungry because every last dinar went to send the eldest to competitions.
Novak Djokovic - at the age of 6 years and a half
In 1999, Novak experienced the scariest period of his life. He will never forget the 76 nights he spent in a Belgrade bomb shelter. One of those nights was his birthday, which he had to celebrate underground. During this time, Genčić was looking for courts where her protégé could train safely during the day.

Novak Djokovic - 1st Interview, 7 years old
It soon became clear that for further growth, Novak needed to go abroad. The coach arranged with her colleague Nikola Pilić, and Djokovic moved to the German town of Oberschleißheim, where he lived and trained for the next four years.

Career Beginnings

In 2001, Novak began his international career and immediately showed excellent results. At the European Championships, he won in singles, doubles, and team events.

Two years later, Djokovic won his first Futures tournament, for which he returned to his homeland. In 2004, the 16-year-old tennis player represented Serbia and Montenegro in the Davis Cup.

In 2005, Novak debuted in the Grand Slam. At the Australian Open, he lost to the tournament favorite Marat Safin. However, Djokovic managed to enter the top 100 of the world rankings thanks to notable performances at Wimbledon and the US Open.

In 2006, former Slovak tennis player Marian Vajda became his coach. The Serbian reached the semi-finals of an ATP tournament for the first time, securing several convincing victories. This earned him a place in the top 20 of the world rankings and the "Most Improved Player" award.

The following year saw Novak's first Masters title in Miami and triumphs over top players: Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, and Roger Federer. Djokovic reached the final of a Grand Slam tournament and finished the season ranked third.

Career Peak

The athlete's triumph came in 2008 when he easily defeated his rivals at the Australian Open. No Serbian tennis player had previously won this singles title. The following tournaments were less successful for him, but Novak won bronze at the Beijing Olympics.

By the end of 2009, Djokovic added five more titles thanks to successful games at the ATP tournament in Basel, the Paris Masters, and others. He finished the season in third place again, unable to surpass Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

At the end of 2010, the tennis player, along with the Serbian national team, won the Davis Cup. However, 2011 became the most successful year in Novak's career, cementing his name in world sports. He won the Australian Open for the second time. Djokovic also claimed his 20th ATP singles title and reached the Wimbledon final, where he defeated Rafael Nadal. He also won the US Open. Thus, Novak managed to win three Grand Slam tournaments in one season, earning $10.6 million in prize money. He finished the season as the world number one.
Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal Full Match US Open 2010 Final
In the following years, his career developed inconsistently. 2012 made him the champion of the ATP World Tour Finals. However, in 2013, due to a series of unfortunate defeats, Novak dropped to second place in the rankings, yielding the top spot to Rafael Nadal. The Serbian team also failed to perform convincingly in the Davis Cup final.

2014 saw Djokovic return to the top of the rankings, thanks to victories at Wimbledon and the ATP World Tour Finals. His coaching staff during this period included German Boris Becker. The 2015 season was successful for the tennis player. He won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. In total, he claimed 11 titles in a year, including three Grand Slam tournaments and six Masters series titles.

Then, the triumphant streak ended. In 2016, the tennis player won the Australian Open and Roland Garros. However, his performances at Wimbledon, the Rio Olympics, and the US Open ended in failures. Novak finished the year ranked second in the world.

In 2017, misfortunes continued to plague the tennis star. He lost in tournaments and suffered from the aftermath of an elbow injury. As a result, Novak decided to focus on his health and skip some competitions, which led to his drop out of the top 10 rankings.

However, the next year, Djokovic proved it was too early to write him off. He regained his form and previous results, winning Wimbledon and the US Open, and again became the world number one.

In 2020, the tennis player couldn't control his emotions and paid the price. During an unsuccessful match, he hit the ball behind him, accidentally striking a line judge in the throat. The woman began coughing, and Djokovic was disqualified from the tournament, losing all points and prize money at the US Open.
Novak Djokovic disqualified from US Open
In 2021, Novak completed his second "Career Grand Slam," winning all series matches again and becoming a 20-time Grand Slam tournament winner.

The next year was marked by scandal. He refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, claiming he had already contracted the infection and provided a medical exemption upon entering Australia. Border officials detained Novak, canceled his visa, and placed him in an immigration hotel. Djokovic was deported and banned from entering the country for three years. The decision was later overturned.
Novak Djokovic breaks silence over Covid vaccine refusal
Due to his strict stance on vaccination, the tennis player missed several other important matches in the season, dropping to fifth place in the world rankings. However, he made it onto Forbes USA's list of the highest-paid tennis players, with earnings estimated at $27.1 million.

2023 was more successful for Novak. The star completed his third "Career Grand Slam," becoming the first tennis player in history to achieve such a feat.


Djokovic's career peak coincided with the construction of his small business empire. In 2005, his family founded the company Family Sport in Serbia. His father and uncle chose the athlete as the profile for their enterprise, which included the restaurant business, real estate, and sports event organization.

The company opened a chain of Novak Café establishments in the country and also bought the Dutch Open tennis tournament, transforming it into the Serbia Open. The tournament ran from 2009 to 2013.

Other Activities

The charismatic athlete often received invitations to appear on entertainment shows. In 2008, Novak Djokovic appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and sang a song at the first Eurovision semifinal in Belgrade. In 2011, he gave interviews for all top-rated programs, from "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to "Frost Over the World."

His achievements in professional sports secured Novak advertising sponsorships. Since 2003, he has partnered with Adidas. Seven years later, Djokovic signed a contract with Sergio Tacchini, but due to disagreements, he terminated it after a year. In 2012, he became the face of the Japanese casual wear brand Uniqlo.

The athlete also served as an ambassador for the Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet and the car brands Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot.

Personal Life of Novak Djokovic

In 2005, Novak began dating his fellow countrywoman and peer Jelena Ristic, whom he had known since childhood. She also played tennis, and they met at a sports school. However, at 19, she left sports and enrolled in an economics university.

The couple married in 2014. Djokovic is a devoted family man and has often called his wife his muse.
Novak Djokovic Playing Tennis with Wife Jelena
In 2014, the couple had a son named Stefan, and three years later, a daughter named Tara. Jelena left her job at an oil company to focus on raising their children. For a long time, the couple did not show their children's faces to the public, but in 2023, after Novak's victory in the final of the French Open, they had a family photo shoot right on the court.

Jelena serves as the head of the athlete's charity, the Novak Djokovic Foundation.

For a long time, the Djokovic family lived in Monte Carlo. However, in 2020, they moved to a villa in Marbella, Spain. The property cost the tennis player 10 million dollars.

Novak Djokovic Now

2024 started tough for Novak Djokovic. For the first time in his career, he lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open and emotionally called the failed match the worst of his life. Then, he faced setbacks at the Masters in Indian Wells and Monte Carlo.

But his victory at the Masters tournament in Rome in May brought other problems. He defeated Frenchman Corentin Moutet, and the opponent's fans decided to take revenge on "The Joker."

When Djokovic approached the stands to sign autographs, a spectator threw a bottle at him. It hit Djokovic's head, and he fell to the ground. Arena workers then helped him leave the scene.

Later, experts concluded that the bottle accidentally fell from the spectator's backpack, and he did not intend to injure the athlete. "It was an accident, I'm fine now, resting in the hotel with an ice pack," Novak said on social media some time later.

However, there were consequences. The Masters in Rome ended in another failure for the tennis player. "I had no coordination. I was a completely different player compared to two days ago. I need to get examined and find out what's going on," the athlete emphasized.

Interesting Facts

  • Djokovic is a master of humorous impressions. He has imitated his colleagues many times: Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe, and even Maria Sharapova.
  • His cheerful personality earned him the nickname Joker.
  • Novak holds the Order of St. Sava of the First Degree, which he received from Serbian Patriarch Irinej in 2011 for helping churches and monasteries.
  • Among Djokovic's best friends are Serbian tennis players Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki, and Ana Ivanovic.
  • In 2012, TIME magazine included the athlete in its list of the 100 most influential people.
  • The star speaks six languages fluently: Serbian, English, German, Italian, Slovak, and French.
  • In 2012, Novak played himself in the blockbuster "The Expendables 2." However, the scene was cut from the final version of the film.

Important Dates in Life

  • 2001 – Began international career
  • 2003 – Started professional sports
  • 2005 – Debuted in Grand Slam
  • 2008 – Won the Australian Open
  • 2011 – Achieved first "career Grand Slam," became world number one
  • 2014 – Married Jelena Ristic
  • 2020 – Moved to Spain
  • 2021 – Achieved second "career Grand Slam"
  • 2022 – Detained in Australia for violating residency rules
  • 2023 – Achieved third "career Grand Slam"