Australian Open 2021 Qualifier Olga Danilovic Thanks Novak Djokovic for Best Birthday Gift

Published 01/15/2021, 7:00 AM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts in his men’s final match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during day eight of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at Foro Italico in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Young Serbian tennis player Olga Danilovic has thanked compatriot Novak Djokovic for helping her qualify for the Australian Open.

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With a WTA singles title already to her credit at just 19, Danilovic trained at Djokovic’s tennis center and worked on her game under the watchful eyes of coaches there. 

She reaped the fruit of her toil at the Dubai qualifiers for the year’s first Grand Slam, as she comfortably came through all three fixtures to secure her maiden entry to the main women’s draw.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – A general view of Rod Laver Arena during day six of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Danilovic credited her maiden Grand Slam entry to training at Djokovic’s academy

Penning a letter of thanks to the 17-time Grand Slam champion, Danilovic, currently ranked 412th by the WTA, credited the work that she put in at the Novak Tennis Center and the inputs she received from the coaches there for making her maiden Grand Slam entry.

In her final qualifying fixture, the 19-year-old beat Ankita Raina of India in three sets. However, Raina, currently ranked the Indian No. 1 in both singles and doubles, did throw some punches at her before going down.

Clearly overjoyed at her maiden Grand Slam entry, Danilovic told a Serbian publication, “I am overjoyed that I won the placement for the main draw of a Grand  Slam for the first time, especially since the previous season was difficult, uncertain, in a word chaotic because of everything that the coronavirus brought us.”

She has already proved her mettle in the ITF circuit with five singles and two doubles titles. 

“Great gratitude to Novak Djokovic for everything he has done”: Danilovic

The Serb achieved a career-high singles ranking of 117 on June 24, 2019, and has the game to surprise more fancied opponents in the event proper.

She said that with not many events in the WTA circuit last year, owing largely to the pandemic and concerns around it, her preparation time was limited. However, the work that she put it at the Novak center gave her belief of making it to the main Grand Slam draw this time.

“I believed in my work, in myself and the preparations that I had thanks to Novak Djokovic at the Novak Tennis Center together with coaches Boris Bosnjakovic, Kristijan Schneider and Vlado Radonjic. Great gratitude to Novak for everything he has done and is doing, and it is up to us to fight and justify all his love, commitment and everything he is doing for the betterment of all of us,” Danilovic said.

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She said she gave herself the best possible birthday present with her wins in Dubai. “It is that I will celebrate and celebrate my 20th birthday in Australia,” Danilovic said.

While the Serb starlet will be delighted to make it past the opening round at the Australian Open, her compatriot Djokovic will be in the hunt for his ninth title at the Rod Laver Arena.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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