“It Motivated Me” – Laslo Djere Recalls Meeting Childhood Idol Novak Djokovic

Published 04/11/2021, 3:51 AM EDT
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 12: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning a point during his final singles match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena on January 12, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)


Serbian tennis star Laslo Djere has recalled meeting compatriot and one of his childhood idols Novak Djokovic when he was a child.

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In an interview with ATPtour.com, the 25-year-old said that there are quite a few tennis stars that he grew up watching.

He added that though he met his boyhood idols, the trysts happened so far back that he doesn’t have any vivid recollections of the same.

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In response to a question on whether he recalls meeting a childhood idol, Djere said, “When I was a kid maybe some tennis players that were my idols but I met them a long time ago, I guess. Someone like Novak, I met him when I was a child.”

He revealed that he does have some memories of watching the current World No.1 in action.

Laslo Djere says he saw Novak Djokovic up close at Davis Cup as a kid

Currently ranked 57th in singles, Djere recalled seeing the reigning Australian Open champion at a Davis Cup tie and feeling excited about watching his idol from up close.

He added that it was that treasured boyhood moment that drew him to tennis and served as motivation for him as he turned professional.

“First I guess I saw him (Djokovic) playing in the Davis Cup and that was also good for me and exciting. I can’t remember (the details) because I was really small and really young, but for sure it motivated me,” the 25-year-old said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 11: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning match point during his semi-final singles match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during day nine of the 2020 ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena on January 11, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Serb is in sight of his third career Tour title at the ongoing Sardegna Open, a clay-court event in Cagliari, Italy.

He has reached the final on the back of some impressive performances and will battle it out with local favorite Lorenzo Sonego for the championship.

An accomplished clay court player, Djere won both his Tour titles on soil. His first was at Rio De Janeiro in 2019 and he followed it up with another championship run on clay in Sardinia, Italy, last year.

He further affirmed his status on clay with quarter-final runs at Argentina Open and Chile Open this year.

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Interestingly, the Serb fell to ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal on concrete in the opening round of the Australian Open.

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Djere has been handed a tough draw at the Monte Carlo Masters that will see him open his campaign against Russian Karen Khachanov on Monday.

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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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