Unlike his arch-rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic was brought up in a war-torn region of Serbia. While he was growing up, his family had to wait in a queue for bread and milk. Sometimes, they were hopeless about their next meal, despite everything, they invested all their hopes in turning Novak into a professional tennis player. While the Serb was a developing professional, Novak Djokovic’s mother shared the sponsors did not show any interest in investing in his tennis.
Back in those days, while Novak was playing on the junior circuit, they had no money to support his tennis and pay their on-tour expenses.
“I woke up every morning and didn’t know how to buy bread for us. But we had no support in Serbia. We have had many sleepless nights. The worry made me sick” Novak’s mother Dijana said.
“We had no choice. Srdjan (Novak’s father) knocked on thousands of doors to find a sponsor. He spoke to business people about whether they wanted to invest in Novak. But people didn’t hear. Too bad – they would probably have made millions today,” Novak Djokovic’s mother said.
Novak Djokovic’s father borrowed money from people doing illegal business
Back then, his parents had to beg for sponsors, and today, Novak Djokovic is the highest-paid tennis player in terms of prize money. And in 2016, he was the first tennis player in the history of the sport to enter the club of $100 million in earnings made via swinging the racquet.
To support Novak’s tennis his father Srdjan Djokovic borrowed money from people engaged in illicit activities. But, again their interest rates kept increasing which became a mammoth challenge for the entire family.
“Srdjan (Novak’s father) borrowed money from people doing illegal business. Of course, they wanted it back with high interest. He kept turning in circles. To pay off the debt, he had to borrow money again and again and again … The more the dealers felt how urgently we needed the money, the more they raised the interest rate,” she added.
Dijana and Srdjan Djokovic were working in Kopaonik, Serbia. Their salary wasn’t enough to pay their rent. Novak’s father traveled with him for tennis tournaments, whereas his mother stayed at home as they couldn’t afford the travel expense for the entire family.
However, with their utter determination to succeed and the steadfastness in making their dream come true, Novak’s backhand returns and forehand passing shots have definitely reshaped the game of tennis.