Now that he has won Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic will no doubt be claimed even more than before by different paddlers of nationalist sentiments.

It must be said, though, that Novak on the Centre Court itself and his family, girlfriend, friends and coach + President Boris Tadic in the audience all behaved rather gracefully.

Djokovic is an untypical Balkan sportsman inasmuch as he seems to have considerable staying power. When it comes to popular individual sports, he joins a club populated by only a few sportswomen and sportsman from the region. One is Monika Seles, who would have likely dominated the game for many more years than she did had it not been for the 1993 knife attack in Hamburg. Janica Kostelic and her brother Ivica, both dogged by injury, remained at the top or kept coming back for many years. Seles and Kostelics worked incredibly hard.

Djokovic’s advent to the World No.1 was gradual, as if he climbed to the top in slow motion, with the toil that the effort required visible to the public for many years.

Tadic said Djkovic is the right role-model for Serbia’s youth. One hopes he meant Djokovic’s hard work, dedication and persistency, not the glitz that will now inevitably surround Djokovic even more than before.

Tihomir Loza

Tihomir Loza is deputy director of Transitions Online. Email: tihomir.loza@tol.org

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