Novak Djokovic was prevented from taking his designated place as top seed in this week’s Farmers Classic in Los Angeles because of unspecified personal reasons. But the world no.2 was doing his bit for the war-affected youth of Serbia at the School of Friendship on Tara Mountain.
Djokovic did not just officially open the School of Friendship’s new tennis complex. He also made a donation of 1 million dinars ($12,500) towards the school set up to treat needs and problems of the children ho had lost one or both parents during the Balkan conflicts.
Many of the 200 children come from the most endangered Serbian enclaves in Kosovo and Metohia. “It is important to see children laughing and having fun, enjoying in this wonderful center,” maintained Djokovic who has made no secret of his patriotism in the past.
“This is a great thing and it is not just my wish, but also the wish of Serbia and all of us standing here.”
Djokovic spent time with children aged between eight and 18 years-old, handing out t-shirts and having his photograph taken with them. He also confirmed his family will financially support 12 children of the Nasa Srbija (Our Serbia) organization which takes care of 1500 children in this, its tenth year of existence.
And the former Australian Open champion, who will return to competition at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on August 9 and spearhead his nation’s bid to reach a first ever Davis Cup final when Serbia hosts the Czech Republic in September’s semi-final in Belgrade, maintained he was so impressed with the facilities on Tara Mountain, he may use them as a training base.
"I will consider the possibility to practice for some hard court tournaments here on Tara,” said Djokovic. “it is a beautiful national park, I would have all the necessary conditions and also you children to give me energy."
The construction of the School of Friendship’s tennis facilities were funded by the Serbian consul in Chicago Desko Nikitovic who chose to name the courts after Djokovic.
"Our family is happy that we made it possible to build facilities for children so they now have conditions to practice and love tennis,” said Nikitovic . “We are glad that today they can see Novak Djokovic who is an example that success can be achieved if one works hard enough.”
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