“Is That a Real Racquet?”: How the Little Child Was Awestruck With Novak Djokovic’s Special Gesture at Wimbledon Championships 2021

Published 07/12/2021, 9:00 AM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic signs an autograph for a fan after winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Toby Melville


Novak Djokovic doesn’t shy away from interacting with fans. While some of them got on his back at the Wimbledon final, the Serb made a classy gesture after winning his sixth title at the grass court Grand Slam.

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After defeating Matteo Berrettini in four sets, Djokovic gave away his racquet to a young girl in the stands at Centre Court. Shortly after the event, the world was curious to know the young girl and her family.

Who is Ivanka Li, the girl who received a racquet from Novak Djokovic?

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After an arduous three-hour battle with Berrettini, Djokovic brought back his grass-eating traditions. While the Serb ran through the stands to celebrate with his coaching team, he also gave his racquet to a seven-year-old girl named Ivanka Li.

She attended Wimbledon with her father, Bo, who held a placard containing an acronym for Novak. While her mother Chris couldn’t attend Wimbledon, Ivanka called her shortly after the World No. 1’s gesture. During the call, Chris admitted her daughter was nothing short of thrilled after receiving the racquet.

She said“She was just saying, ‘what has happened?’ She was asking, ‘is that a real racket?’ My son is five years old so he couldn’t go into Centre Court. I really wish we were all there for it.”

She also revealed the inspiration behind the acronym on her placard which she made along with her daughter. “She came up with all the words. For one of the last words, I said, ‘let’s put on “kissable”‘. She didn’t like it – she wanted kind or king but I said, ‘just put something funny’.”

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Chris admitted Djokovic is the kind of tennis player everyone wishes to be. She said, “We just loved Novak. He’s hard working, he is everything. He is everything you could wish a tennis player could be. He’s so humble.”

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Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy as he celebrates after winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini Pool via REUTERS/Ben Solomon

She also revealed Ivanka plays tennis and works hard on her game. In addition, she hopes the racquet helps her daughter emulate teenage sensation Emma Raducanu. “I wish the racket brings luck to her so one day she could be at Wimbledon and maybe be like Emma. She absolutely loves tennis. She watches every single match with me,” said Chris.

While Ivanka certainly cherished an incredible moment, one may only wonder what lies ahead in her tennis journey.

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WATCH STORY: Wimbledon Championship 2021 Funny Interviews: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray, Venus Williams

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Sanket Nair

344 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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