Here's What We Learned From Novak Djokovic's Big '60 Minutes' Interview Last Night

novak djokovic and his tennis coachDjokokvic visits his first coach, Jelena Gencic, after winning Wimbledon

Photo: Screenshot via CBS

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic got the 60 Minutes treatment last night. It was all about his upbringing in Serbia and how he became the champion he is today. Here are the highlights:

  • Novak grew up in near a ski resort in Serbia, where his family ran a pizza joint. He was discovered by a former Serbian tennis champion named Jelena Gencic when he was five and a half years old. Jelena told his parents that he was going to be the best tennis player in the world before he was six (a dubious claim in retrospect, but we’ll give her the benefit of that doubt).
  • Jelena had some strange methods: She made Novak learn “at least two” languages. She made him listen to classical music to calm him down. And she recited Alexander Pushkin poems to him.
  • When NATO bombed Kosovo in 1999, Novak and his family stayed with his grandfather in Belgrade. He says it toughened him up, and made him a better player because he just played tennis all the time.
  • The president of Serbia says Novak is the country’s biggest PR asset.
  • Apropos of nothing, Novak will be killing terrorists with a tennis racquet in “The Expendables 2” next summer.
  • Interesting note on how he finally beat Nadal and Federer: He said he was “afraid of winning” before he broke through and beat them. He added that he had “too much respect” for them.

That’s basically it. No big bombshells here (beyond Jelena), but if you have 15 minutes to burn this is a solid watch:

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