Novak Djokovic pays tribute to inspirational grandfather

Novak Djokovic on infamous blue clay.
Go back to the late 1990s and they made a familiar sight on the trams of Belgrade: a small, intense-looking boy with a racket bag slung over one shoulder, and his 70-year-old companion. The boy was, of course, the young Novak Djokovic.

The chaperone was Novak’s late grandfather Vladimir, whose passing last month caused the family so much grief.
The Djokovics are a close-knit bunch, and Novak, inevitably, is their focal point. His mother has described him as “the child of God”, while his father and two younger brothers, Marko and Djordje, often accompany him to tournaments. But his bond with his grandfather was particularly strong — far more so than their 60-year age-gap might suggest.
“It’s interesting,” Djokovic told Telegraph Sport this week, “that I had such a close relationship with my grandfather. Because your parents always judge you: they say, ‘You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that.’
"But with your grandparents you have a feeling that you can say anything or you can do anything, and they will support you. That’s why you have this kind of connection.”
It is now almost three weeks since news of Vladimir’s death reached Djokovic, who was practising at the Monte Carlo Country Club at the time.
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