‘We Are Not the Owners of This License’ – Novak Djokovic Says He Definitely Has the Intentions to Propose an Agreement for the Serbia Open

Published 04/19/2022, 12:05 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 12, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his second round match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Novak Djokovic is having a dismal season so far this year. The Serb has played in only two tournaments this season, suffering early exits in both of them. Earlier, he briefly lost the World Number 1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev before regaining it shortly after.

Currently, Djokovic is in his hometown, Belgrade to participate at the Serbia Open. During his pre-tournament press conference, he spoke about his family’s experience running the tournament in his native country.


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Novak Djokovic hints at upgrading the Serbia Open to an ATP 500 tournament

During an interview, an interviewer asked the Serb whether the tournament would be elevated to a 500-level ATP tournament. He said, “In terms of the category upgrades… First of all, we are not the owners of this license-we are leasing the license. So, we do have the intention to propose and make an agreement with the current owners to purchase the license; and then, when that’s done, we can think and talk about possible upgrades.”

Tennis – ATP 500 – Dubai Tennis Championships – The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 23, 2022. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match against. Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Further, he added, “But, there is a possibility in this week [of the tennis calendar]. I know because ATP management has communicated that to me and to the players a few years ago. But nothing yet is being concretely done on that behalf, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Djokovic on his family running the Serbia Open


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Talking about the experience of running the tournament, he said, “The previous experience really helped to approach the organization of every next year of the tournament here in Belgrade more thoughtfully, and with more understanding what players, coaches, guests, visitors, fans need in order to get the best possible experience for everybody involved. As an active player, of course, I care a lot about how players feel. So, you know, we try to make sure that they have enough courts, training facilities, gym, accommodation, food, resting area.”

Tennis – Davis Cup Finals – Group F – Serbia v Austria – Olympiahalle, Innsbruck, Austria – November 26, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his match against Austria’s Dennis Novak REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

However, he added, “We are a little bit limited with the space, you know-and it’s not easy because it’s a big international sporting event that attracts a lot of people and players and guests from everywhere. But we try to make sure that we satisfy the needs of everyone involved… Weather is not something that we can affect; it’s a little bit cold; but, hopefully, by the end of the week, it’ll get warmer, and then we’ll have more people coming in and creating even a better show for everyone in the stands.”


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WATCH THIS STORY: The Greatest Comebacks in Tennis

Coming to Djokovic’s campaign at the Serbia Open, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has been handed a bye in the opening round. In the second round, he will face the winner of the match between Hamad Medjedovic and Laslo Djere. Can Djokovic find his mojo back in his hometown? Let us know your views in the comments below.



Vatsal Shah

808 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.