Novak Djokovic Gives Wimbledon Trophy To His First Coach [Video]
by Tom Gainey | November 29th, 2011, 2:21 pm

Novak Djokovic was in Belgrade today and his first order of business was to deliver his Wimbledon trophy to his first coach, Jelena Gencic.

Gencic trained Djokovic in his early years and the World No. 1 returned to his roots to recognize her help.

From Novak’s official bio: “Novak was the first of three sons. He was four when he took up tennis, while living in Kopaonik. Racquet in hand, he would run after the older kids at summer tennis camp, attempting to get the ball over the net. This went on for a while. He was eight when he was spotted by the eagle-eyed Jelena Gencic. Ever reserved in her statements, this time she could not but comment: ‘This is the greatest talent I have seen since Monika Seles.’ Jelena began to follow his progress and look after little Nole. He took to tennis easily. As they say, he was a natural.”

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27 Comments for Novak Djokovic Gives Wimbledon Trophy To His First Coach [Video]

chrisJ Says:

Great video, very touching. Thanks for posting!

jane Says:

That’s a kind gesture; she still seems so vital – funny how they are always talking over each other. I love the old footage of Nole as a child, too, because he looks, acts and hits similar to how he does now. The early seeds. Thanks for posting this.

jane Says:

For Nole’s fans, you might enjoy this Wertheim piece; it is nicely written.

Wog boy Says:

Novak is not the first GS winner that Jelena Gencic coached. Monika Seles and Goran Ivanisevic are the other two. Jelena is a legend, her whole life was dedicated to sport, not just tennis. When Novak turned 13, she realised that he needed to move to another level, so she rang Nick Pilic in Germany and asked him to take Novak. Nick Pilic reluctantly agreed, because he didn’t take kids in his academy. Jelena told him just to take him for one week. After one week Nick Pilic rang Jelena and asked her “why didn’t you send him earlier”. He told his parents that they can pay for Novak when they get money. The rest is history.
It was a fitting way to say thank you to the person who recognised a new champion in little Novak. It was very touching and brought tears to my eyes. I’m getting old.

grendel Says:

An unusual take? Or does anyone else feel like this about Djokovic? Always dangerous to extrapolate from the immediate present, and that may be what Simon Reed is doing.

Wog boy Says:

I would like to hear your opinion. I was about to post mine and than I red comment posted under name ” autosmartdublin” in response I agree pretty much with that one. As Novak fan I want to believe that he and his team finished year after USO. Next year( first 9 months) is going to be hell of the year. Nobody can be on top of his game longer than 9 months, Novak had his 9 months since DC final last year, I beleive and hope he can play same level of tennis , and better, next year and that all what I want him and expect him to do but who is going to win , well if I know that I could be millioner, but I don’t gamble that is against my beliefs .
Thanks for posting it Grendel .
P. S. I hope you can understand what I wanted to say, because it is easier for me when I speak and not when I have to write to expres myself.

Wog boy Says:

Sorry, sorry, sorry……post was under the name of “thebartram2” not “autosmartdublin” , they were next to each other and I got a wrong name.

grendel Says:

For what it’s worth, Wog boy (are you by any chance acquainted with the town of Wagga Wagga?), Reed appears to be fixated on the present – forgetting that time flows, and the rest of us along with it.

For instance, “at the moment I see signs that the old Djokovic is returning.” I know what he means, I’m sure most of us will have harboured that thought at one moment or another. And Reed’s explanation? “His motivation simply doesn’t seem to have been there in the last few weeks”. Oh. So now we know. Not much good, I suppose, in hinting to Reed that one or two others have come to that conclusion including, probably, Djokovic himself. I would imagine that come the new season, there’ll be no problem with motivation.

However, Djokovic is now the hunted and not the hunter. Not everyone likes that. Federer does, Nadal doesn’t seem to mind one way or the other, really don’t know where Djokovic stands. I heard it said somewhere that Djokovic resents the fact that he is apparently not taken quite as seriously as Federer and Nadal, that he still lacks their aura and so on. If true, that could well spur him on and put a spike in complacency. That is a danger for him in a sort of subtle way – being possessed of a feeling of emotional repletion which, being largely unconscious, is quite hard to combat. If he feels a little unloved and undervalued – that will be very good for him, I fancy. Federer is always hungry, hard to say why, he just is. We’ll just have to wait and see if Djokovic is like that.

b.t.w.Wog boy, I am full of admiration for your English, which is excellent. For all kinds of reasons, I find learning a foreign language very difficult. When I was about 4, I could only speak Italian whilst my mother could only speak English. You can imagine that there were certain problems of communication. When we returned to England, my mother forced me to abandon Italian, at least that is my “folk” memory, since one must admit, it’s a little difficult to see quite how someone would go about such a demolition job. At any rate, ever since, I’ve dabbled in attempts to learn another language, always futilely. So I tend to look on with awe at those who calmly pick them up (and assure you that once you’ve learnt 2 or 3, it gets easier….)

Wog boy Says:

Thanks, I feel better now.
One thing that gives me hope, that Novak can do well next year, is that he matured, very much so, in last 12 months. I just don’t want him to fade away, I want to see him playing well with passion and I will be very happy with that, win or lose, doesn’t matter, in a sense that he gives 100% and enjoy being on a court.The post I mentioned to you said it nice “thebartrams2”.
As for WAGGA WAGGA, only common thing that I have with that town is that we are in the same state. I lived all my Australian life in Sydney and I love it, but I love Melbourne and Melbournians and enjoy going down every year for AO. Melbournians are very passionate about sport, miles ahead of Sydneysiders, they love their AFL ( Aussie rules ),Melbourne is also more Europian than Sydney. Here in New South Wales we follow NRL (rugby league ), I think it is played in northern England. Football-soccer is not big here, but I follow Europian and of course YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE :-)))
The best fans on planet earth.

Wog boy Says:

European and not Europian.
That is my problem with English lingo, Serbian is phonetic language, you write as you speak and you speak as it is written, if that make sense to you?

jane Says:

grendel, Reed makes a prediction about the future based on the present, and that’s okay. I guess he could look at the bigger picture – i.e., that Nole has been a consistent number 3 for FOUR years prior to breaking through and reaching number one, so he’s always been close. But certainly at the end of this season Fed and Murray have been looking like the world beaters more so than Nole and Rafa. That said, I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that he will drop fast or something; I’d be surprised if he did really poorly next year, the only caveat being that shoulder and his serve potentially reverting to the mess of 2009-10. Of course, Nole’s next year won’t equal this year in all likelihood; but how could it? He made the 5th best winning percentage in the history of the sport. So yeah, that’s likely the apex, and thus in that case, Reed’s opinion that Nole’s “peaked” could be stating the obvious. But Djoko’s not going to fade into the night. No way. Nole wants more, and he’s stated that again and again. He could twirl off and go do something else because he has a lot of interests. But right now, I still get the impression he loves tennis most, and he loves winning. He will have a come down next year, sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins another slam in 2012. He will want an Olympic medal too I suppose, so I suspect he will set his sights on that. Just a hunch.

Interesting letter to Wertheim on whether or not Nole should have played out the season or not:

Wog boy, agree with grendel – you’re language is great, perfectly clear.

jane Says:

see? by “you’re” I meant “your” – doh.

grendel, I was not allowed to speak French because while that’s my mum’s language my dad doesn’t speak and didn’t want the kids speaking a language he didn’t know. Kind of reminded me of your story about Italian. Weird. You’d think parents would encourage their children to learn and know as much as they can, including several languages.

laslo Says:

Too bad, Jane. That’s a beautiful language.

sar Says:


Wog boy you must be a Liverpool fan then. My cousin in Australia also likes them.

jane Says:

laslo, I know. I am working on learning it, but I am envious of multilingual people, esp. those who are lucky enough to be raised with a couplle of languages.

Wog boy Says:

Not wrong, I became Liverpool fan long time ago(40 years ) , living back in Belgrade, that is long story. For me, going on football matches or organizing to watch at somebodys place was more social thing, because of aftermatches ( I call it afterparties), going in closest PUB for eating and drinking ,talking, rubing salt in the wound of whoever lost, I call that socializing :-). In those days everything was peacefull , Not anymore. You can not take kids to watch the game, like my father use to take me:( I am not talking about Sydney.

Wog boy Says:


mat4 Says:


There is something that almost nobody noticed: the impact the Rafole rivalry has on both players. In 2008, after his two successive defeats in Hamburg and London against Rafa in closely disputed matches, Nole went on a slump almost to the end of the year, when he finally found his form again. The winner, Rafa, won Wimbledon.

Then, in 2009, after that epic match in Madrid, they were both broken – physically and emotionally. Nole again found his best at the end of the year, Rafa only in 2010.

That true rivalry continued finally this year, and the impact was tremendous on both player. I feel, in retrospective, that this year it was a fight to the death, culminating at the USO. The FO win gave Rafa the strength to fight to the bitter end. They finished both broken and empty, as usual.

When they are both at their best at the same time, like in 2008, or in the spring 0f 2009, or this year, those matches were gladiatorial fights, draining the energy, the will and the body of the players.

Whenever Roger was confronted with that level, he lost, easily against Novak who is an excellent hard court player, or broke down in the fifth set against Rafa, because he can’t sustain such a taxing level of concentration and will to dominate. For him, tennis is just tennis. For Rafa and Nole, who spent so many years at the second or third place, it is much more than that.

The turning moment of Nole’s rise was, in my (biased) opinion, not the Davis cup win, nor the fifth set of the USO, but the semi of the AO: Nole broke Roger’s will then. He found the same grit in the third and fourth set of the USO semi, and in the last games. That match was not a proof that Roger can compete with Novak, but, quite the contrary, that when it really matters, when it becomes more that tennis, a streetfight, a battle to the end, he simply can’t. Roger maybe doesn’t like Novak, but on the court, Novak is now the one that hates more.

I can’t predict what will happen in 2012, but Novak is not going anywhere. I watch tennis for thirty five years now, and this boy is among the top 5 I have ever seen, and certainly the most complete player I have ever seen. He will maybe have ups and downs, but at the end of his career, he will certainly not be remembered as a one year wonder.

mat4 Says:

@Grendel, Jane:

I was more fortunate than you. Then I studied one I knew, some I didn’t, learned a bit of English, started with literature and finished with comparative phonology and history of language.

I regret I don’t have a classical education. I learned a lot of Latin and some Greek, but not enough.

I also regret I have read too much. I can’t quote a single latin author, although I read from Caesar to Petronius, I couldn’t remember a single verse from the Iliad, nor a Petrarch’s sonnet.

Just a bit of Appolinaire, for the happy few:

Passons passons puisque tout passe
je me retournerai souvent

Les souvenirs sont cors de chasse
dont meure le bruit parmi les vents.

jane Says:

Yay, mat4: that is encouraging to hear. Yeah, I have often thought that the win over Fed, finally, at the USO in 2010 was the “actual” turning point. Not only did he put an end to 3 successive years of defeat to Fed there (07 final, 08 and 09 semis), but he also stepped up against those match points and went for it. He believed, and that was huge for Nole.

Your insights into the Rafole rivalry are also intriguing and seem to be true. Indeed, after Rafa and Nole’s tremendous clay battles that 2009 spring, both went downhill: Rafa with injury, pulling out of Wimby, and Nole with the serve, which began to go awol, hence the hiring of Martin, which helped and didn’t help. But they are, indeed, warriors. I get exhausted – and exhilarated – watching their battles. And that was so even when Nole was on the losing end (Hamburg, Queens and Olympics in 2008: clay season in 2009). I hope they can both recover for 2012!

jane Says:

I remember one of Petrarch’s sonnets, the one about old age, when he feels he will finally find the courage to confess his love for “Laura”. I like Plutarch: his lives. And Aristotle and Plato. Back in the day I read many of the classical writers, Virgil, Homer, Sappho, Thucydides, Herodotus, etc. – Ovid is a favourite – but I didn’t study Greek and Latin. Could have been useful. Thanks for the quote…will have to find a translation. :)

mat4 Says:


I am very glad you are here.

So, this time, is it just poetry?

jane Says:

Actually, having been marking many papers of late, I would have to say, we can never discount grammar. ;)

mat4 Says:

I found it:

Hunting Horns

(Alcools: Cors de chasse)

Our story’s noble as its tragic
like the grimace of a tyrant
no drama’s chance or magic
no detail that’s indifferent
makes our great love pathetic
And Thomas de Quincey drinking
Opiate poison sweet and chaste
Of his poor Anne went dreaming

We pass we pass since all must pass
Often I’ll be returning

Memories are hunting horns alas
whose note along the wind is dying

jane Says:

mat4: Glad you’re here, too, in the virtual ether.

mat4 Says:

jane: I missed Sappho, somehow.

I recently found in a history of Greek literature a poignant passage from Homer and I realised I missed completely the Iliad.

Could it be honest, true, to read just one book all the time? One about life, love, death and despair? Or should we all write our novel, are we not all writing our inarticulate novel?

jane Says:

mat4, I find when I reread things I always catch little nuances, and sometimes, depending, I feel one way about a character one time and completely different toward that character the next. But we’d get bored if we were stuck with just one book methinks. As for our own stories, judging by the memoir trade of late, we must all have a book in us. Heck, even “dogoirs” are best sellers these days. (?!)

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