Djordje Djokovic and Serbia Open 2022: LWOS exclusive

Djordje Djokovic Novak Djokovic Andre Rublev Serbian Open

“I’m a perfectionist. I have a very high standard for myself  and I don’t like to miss out on anything,” says Djordje Djokovic, the youngest of the Djokovic brothers. Djordje is the key figure behind the Serbia Open, the country’s first ATP tournament, for which he is the tournament director. Held along the banks of the great Danube river in the historic city of Belgrade, Serbia Open completed its 6th edition in 2022. Djordje Djokovic sat down with LWOS for an exclusive interview talking about his experience of hosting one of the premier international sporting events in the Balkan region.

Djordje hails from a background in finance. The conception of the idea for Serbia Open started with the Adria Tour, which aimed at hosting tennis events across five Balkan countries in 2020. Djordje also oversaw that event as the tournament director. “As we stood on this beautiful terrace and watched Dominic Thiem win the finals  against Krajinovic,  Novak turned to me and said, ‘Man, this is amazing.’ I then told him that we should start discussing about having an ATP event here. He immediately said ‘Let’s do it,'” recollects Djordje.

The Serbia Open presented a strong field despite being a 250 event and having to compete against an ATP 500 event in Barcelona held in the same week. In a press conference, Australian John Millman said, “I played Thiem in the first round and now playing Kecmanovic in the second and if I win that, I’ll have to play Novak. That’s a Masters 1000 level kind of a field.”

Djordje talked about how the tournament invested in building a new player’s lounge and upgrading the gym facilities. “Belgrade is one of the greatest cities in Europe with all its history. A lot of players recognize that and they love coming here. We want to provide them with the best facilities possible throughout the whole tournament. I talked to Andrey Rublev and he said he feels great being here and the level of competition is so much higher. I wish I could give him an extra 250 points,” joked Djordje, talking about possible upgrades of the event to ATP 500 level. Given another 500 level event taking place at the same time in Barcelona, Djordje suggested that Serbia Open has a strong chance of earning an upgrade to that level in the next couple of years.

At the 2022 Serbia Open, the tournament adopted a novel idea to plant a tree for every ticket purchased. “It’s a very unique initiative that we are very proud of. Not only are we hosting this beautiful event and promoting our city, we are also doing something nice for the environment and the planet,” said Djordje. The tournament also attracted fans in big numbers with affordable ticketing, variety of food options, numerous fan events, and meet and greets with players, including local hero and all time great Novak Djokovic. “My intention is for everyone to have a great time. Whether it is in the VIP box or in the stands. I’m very excited to see a number of families especially with kids attending the tournament. We must be doing something right,” Djordje said.

“Novak is such an inspiration to me. He has achieved so much in tennis and still continues to keep going on.  Yet we maintain our relationship like any other siblings. All three of us brothers moved away from home at a very young age. We kept pushing each other to do better. Novak is not involved in the organization of the event. But he often guides me as a brother and provides valuable feedback as a top player. I definitely appreciate having that,” said Djordje about his elder brother and World No.1 Novak Djokovic.

“We are trying to put our best foot forward to represent Serbia in the international stage.  Serbian people are very welcoming and host oriented. We welcomed over 2000 international tourists who came to our city just for this tournament. We would like to take that number much higher in the coming years. I want everyone to experience what my city and my country has to offer. As Novak mentioned in the press earlier, we truly have a lot to offer. Having an event like this really helps us do that.”

Djordje Djokovic has high aims for the tournament and its future. He is already drawing up plans to expand the event and take it to a higher level. “I would love for it to be a Balkan 1000 level Masters tournament,” he said.

The 2022 Serbia Open saw Andrey Rublev win the singles title, and Gonzalo Escobar and Ariel Behar were crowned the doubles champions.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’lVw5ZAw7QL9C3IDeG55GEA’,sig:’cB6bMtGzS3YpXNuBv7LX5ModeOj2aKMzZJ9ph9c2qp4=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1240207719′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});