‘A Sunshine Double!’ Djokovic & Son Lift Trophies On The Same Day
Watch out, Novak Djokovic, there’s a new rival in town.
As the World No. 1 was busy clinching his record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Sunday, Djokovic’s son Stefan was playing his first official club competition at home in Serbia. The 7-year-old enjoyed a triumphant debut, lifting the winner’s trophy to round off a successful day for the Djokovic family.
“A sunshine double today,” said 34-year-old Djokovic after hearing of Stefan’s success shortly after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Italian capital for his maiden ATP Tour title of the year. “It’s a very small club tournament. Obviously, it doesn’t really matter. The result is secondary. It was nice to see him playing.
“The first official tournament or match always stays in your memory very fondly. I really wanted him to enjoy it on the court. When we spoke shortly, he was on Cloud 9, with all the family. My parents, my wife’s parents, everybody there supporting him. It’s nice.”
Despite Stefan showing early promise on court, Djokovic is determined that his own successes will not place extra pressure on his son.
“We had a chat the last few days about the routines and the things he should do before the match,” said the Serbian. “I was kind of leading him into this world. It was interesting to see how he responds to that. Obviously, you have to speak in their language about things that I feel like it could help him.
“I’m not forcing him to play tennis. I never did that. Not a single day have I told him, ‘You have to do this.’ It’s really purely his own desire to step on the court.
“If he wants to embark on this journey, I guess I have to embark with him, too. Of course, I’ll be thrilled if he plays tennis.”
In terms of passion for the sport, Djokovic sees elements of his own tennis journey in Stefan.
“He’s doing well so far, he’s really in love with the sport,” said the seven-time Pepperstone ATP Rankings year-end No. 1. “Last night when I spoke to him, he was up till late. He was showing me forehands and backhands, how he’s going to move tomorrow, kind of shadowing, playing shadow tennis, without a racquet.
“It was so funny to see that. I used to do that when I was a kid. I could see the joy in him, the pure emotion and love for the game. That’s 99.9 per cent of children, when they start to play tennis or any sport. [It] is because they fall in love with it.”
Stefan may be in the lucky position of having an ATP legend to turn to for on-court advice, but Djokovic feels raising Stefan and his daughter, Tara, alongside his wife Jelena, brings him an inherent boost for his own pursuit of success on Tour.
“I have to remind myself, I have the privilege to be the father of wonderful kids,” said Djokovic. “I try to take that energy, childish energy, and fuel my inner child because I tend to forget about my inner child a lot.
“Everything is so serious. It’s your profession. It’s your job. You got to be this. You got to be that. You got to be disciplined. Sometimes we take life too seriously. They remind me of that connection, that pure energy.”