Novak Djokovic admitted his mission is two fold; firstly of course to underline his position as the world’s best tennis player that currently seems indisputable after the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title underlined his year-ending no.1 ranking. But secondly to continue promoting Serbia and its’ sportsmen in a positive light after the nation’s image was again recently sullied.
Djokovic is the prime example of everything that is good about Serbian sport and of course his compatriots such as Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic also play a major role.
However Djokovic watched an international soccer match between Serbia’s and England’s under 21 players in Krusevac last month and was disheartened by the brawl prompted by accusations of racist abuse towards black England players from Serbian players and supporters.
“It’s a shame that happened and specifically that situation doesn’t help anybody, not Serbia, not England, not sport,” said Djokovic, mindful the Serbian Football Association has banned the goalkeeping and conditioning coaches for two years and two players, one only aged 17, for a year.
“Racism in sport has unfortunately increased and it is one of the main subjects of the media lately, so I sincerely hope we will be able to keep it as clean, as pure and as fair as possible, because we don’t want that. Everyone has a right regardless of their religion, their beliefs and their race, to play, to work and achieve their dreams.”
In the past Djokovic has been known to make some nationalistic and political statements regarding Serbia, most notably on the issue of independence for Kosovo.
Now he steers clear of such proclamations and instead tries to foster good will for his nation using a tennis racket and intelligent messages. “I’m trying to take the best from my culture,” he said. “I consider myself a proud Serbian. Why not?. I always try to use the opportunity to promote and present myself because of the past that my country had.
“Unfortunately we had a lot of bad press, bad times in last two or three decades with wars, economy crisis, politics and everything. So sport is one of the ways to give people hope in a way. It’s a very positive message that athletes in general from Serbia are sending to the people.
“We get also a lot of appreciation and positive reaction from Serbian people. That’s something that always inspires me and drives me to make more success in my tennis.”
©Daily Tennis News Wire