10 Things You May Not Know About Novak Djoković
Why does he hold back from calling himself vegan and how was a well-known model offered to film porn with him for €60,000?
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Recently, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has caused quite some media uproar. The reason is a dubious medical exemption from coronavirus vaccination, which he received in order to participate in the Australian Open.
Djokovic wanted to get a pass for the first of four grand slam tennis tournaments, claiming that he had surpassed the covid-19 in December. However, the media quickly noticed that he was seen in public just one day after the alleged positive test. So the immigration officials detained him again on Saturday, January 15th. Djokovic will remain in custody until Sunday morning when the federal court in Melbourne scheduled a hearing.
Following the current events associated with the 20-time grand slam winner, we have prepared for you the ten most interesting facts that you (perhaps) didn't know about him. In the article, you'll also find out why he wanted to end his career in 2010, in which Hollywood film did he score a role, or how they tried to discredit him with a sex tape of him and a model.
Djoković is a polyglot, he speaks 11 languages
Novak is not just an excellent tennis player. He's also very proficient in languages. The current count is up to eleven, which makes him a polyglot. In addition to his mother tongue - Serbian - he also speaks fluent English, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese.
As a result, he often entertains his fans by speaking a few sentences in another language in front of the media after winning a match. Since he was a child, his language talent has been very natural to him.
"I don't think that you can really learn that. You just have it in you. Both of my brothers speak a few languages. It's something that I guess we have in the family, " he said in an interview with NDTV in 2012.
He wanted to end his career in 2010
After the French Open grand slam tournament in 2010, the current world tennis star considered putting the racket away and retiring from sports for good. In the quarterfinals of the prestigious Roland-Garros, Djoković surprisingly lost to the Austrian Jürgen Melzer, which had caused some challenging times for him.
"I cried after being knocked out. It was a bad moment, I wanted to quit tennis because I saw everything black. From that moment on I felt liberated. It took off the pressure, I started playing more aggressively, here was the turning point," he revealed in an interview with Sky Sports in April 2020.
Opening a vegetarian restaurant in Monaco
Djokovic loves food, and in April 2016, he transformed his passion for gastronomy into his own vegetarian restaurant. He opened it in Monte Carlo, where he spends his time out of season. The restaurant is called Eqvita, and he described its opening as a return home. His parents, Srdan and Dijana Djoković, own several restaurants in Serbia.
"Because of my family, I’ve always had a love for food,” says Djokovic. “But as an athlete, it became something more—the fuel that determines how I play, how I recover and how alert I am on the court... I attribute a great deal of my professional success to my diet," he told Forbes.
Djoković offers vegetable dishes with various types of cheesecakes, pasta, porridge, salads, soups, and healthy sweets in his restaurant. His favorite meal is vegan zucchini lasagna with cashew ricotta and red pepper marinara sauce.
Discreditation attempt for a sex tape with a model
In an interview with Svet and Scandal magazine, the well-known Serbian model Natalija Šćekić revealed a conspiracy against Djoković in 2021, in which she was offered to help discredit the tennis player by having sex with him. Her job was to seduce him and capture the action on record. They promised her 60,000 euros and vacation anywhere in the world.
"One guy indeed contacted me. I know him from the city, and he was known for being a trustworthy manager. I'm familiar with the work he did, and everything was okay. When he scheduled a meeting with me, I thought it was about a business project, painting or an online show. However, as the conversation went on, I saw that it had nothing to do with my job," she revealed.
The aim of all this was to destroy the tennis player's reputation and ruin his marriage. He's been married to Jelena Djoković since 2014. At first, the model thought it was a joke. She later realized that they were indeed serious about the offer.
"Honestly, I found myself very offended and humiliated. I hope they didn't find a girl who'd do that because it's not fair to Novak. He is our best ambassador in the world, a good example, and a family man," Natalija Šćekić added.
Record in highest earnings
Djokovic also boasts the highest earnings in ATP tournaments. In 2021, he exceeded the 150 million dollar mark. During his career, he has climbed up a total of over 154 million. Last season, he added another 9.1 million dollars.
Last season he won three grand slams at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. He also finished second at the US Open and won the Paris Masters and Serbia Open.
By comparison, Roger Federer has the second-largest earnings (130.6 million dollars), and Rafael Nadal (124.9 million dollars) is third.
He stopped eating animal products, although he doesn't like to call himself a vegan
It's no coincidence that Djoković opened a vegetarian restaurant in Monaco, since he had stopped eating products of animal origin himself. He has been on a strict diet full of plant foods for several years already.
It all started in 2007 when the doctor and nutritionist Igor Cetojević found out that Novak is allergic to gluten and suffers from mild asthma. He gave up consuming dairy products, gluten, meat, or processed sugar.
His daily diet consists mainly of fruits, especially lemon, celery juice, green smoothie drinks, quinoa salads, cereals, and sweet potatoes. However, Djokovic doesn't like to call himself a vegan because he thinks that this name is misinterpreted and misused by people as a in derogatory ways.
Twenty grand slams
Djokovic equaled the record of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after winning 20 grand slam titles. He scored his last grand slam in July last year, winning the men's Wimbledon singles for the sixth time in his career after defeating Italian Matteo Berrettini.
The same year, he succeeded at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Imitating his opponents
Djokovic has a great sense of humor, often demonstrated in public. Especially with his humorous imitations of other tennis players. In the past, he imitated the former American tennis player Andre Agassi, for example. There is also a well-known video from the 2007 US Open, when he mocked the Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova or his longtime Spanish rival Rafael Nadal.
He mocked Sharapova in front of the full tribune by tucking his T-shirt into his shorts that were all the way under his chest, pulling his socks down, and throwing the ball in an unnaturally stretched-out posture. He made a Nadal impression right after putting his shorts up to his knees and turning his T-shirt into a tanktop. He put the ball in his pocket, jumped up, and ran across the court.
Djokovic is also known for his humanitarian contributions. In November 2007, he founded his own charity called the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which focuses primarily on educational projects and health care for children in Serbia. He is also the ambassador of UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Relief Fund) in Serbia.
In 2014, he donated all of his earnings from the Italian Open to flood relief in Serbia. It was a total of 549 thousand euros. In 2018, he launched a campaign where he promised to match every sum that people donate to his foundation with the same amount from his own pocket.
Starring in a Hollywood movie
Hollywood picked up on Djokovic's acting talent, which he often demonstrated in the mockeries mentioned above of his opponents. He was invited to cameo alongside Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also participated on the filming of the 2012 action film The Expendables: The Expendables 2 in Bulgarian film studios.
"Djokovic has a small but not insignificant part in ‘Expendables 2’, where he plays himself," Dimitar Dereliev of the Nu Boyana film studio revealed. Although his role stirred up immense attention, the scene where he fights against armed attackers with the help of a tennis racket was eventually cut from the final version of the film.
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