Srdjan Djokovic, father of No. 1-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic, talked about his family’s past financial troubles in an interview with the Belgrade-based newspaper Kurir.
Srdjan says Novak told him he wanted to be a world champion tennis player at age 10.
From then on, Srdjan and his wife Diana devoted themselves to Novak’s career — asking friends for money, working 15-hour days, and even borrowing money from a loan shark.
Some of the sacrifices they made while raising Novak in Serbia:
- He borrowed money from a loan shark, who charged him 15% monthly interest.
- The Djokovic’s sold all their gold and lived off the money for months.
- They lived in rented apartments for 17 years.
- They didn’t tell Novak about their money issues until he was 17 years old.
- Diana Djokovic worked 15-hour days and raised Novak’s two brothers while Srdjan was with Novak at tournaments.
According to the biography section on his website, Novak spent a few months a year at a prestigious tennis academy in Germany after he turned 13. He won his first junior event at age 14 and became European junior champion at 16.
He turned pro in 2003, at age 16.
So there were six years when the Djokovic family pulled out every financial stop for Novak, without getting any income in return.
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