Novak Djokovic 60 Minutes World No. 1

March 25, 2012 by staff 

Novak Djokovic 60 Minutes World No. 1, World No. 1-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic advanced to the semifinals last weekend in the BNP Paribas Open before falling to American John Isner.

Now Djokovic will be profiled Sunday night on “60 Minutes”. Djokovic and correspondent Bob Simon visit Djokovic’s homeland in Belgrade, and discuss how the war helped shape Djokovic into the tennis champion he is today. The broadcast is from 7-8 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

The war in Yugoslavia and the bombing of Belgrade were a frightening distraction for a young boy trying to become a tennis champion. But it also meant no school and more tennis, says Novak Djokovic. And he credits the war and the hardships it caused with instilling a hunger in him that ultimately drove him to fulfill his dream of becoming the world’s top ranked player. Djokovic tells his story to Bob Simon for a 60 MINUTES profile to be broadcast Sunday, March 25 (7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Djokovic takes Simon to the basement of his grandfather’s apartment in Belgrade, where he and his family spent a few hours in the middle of each night during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign on the city. The fear and the disruption of sleep caused him to lose focus. “Because we were waking up every single night more or less at two, three AM for two and a half months,” he tells Simon. “But the best thing about it I always try to remember those days in a positive, in a very bright way We didn’t need to go to school and we played more tennis,” says Djokovic.

He was a 12-yr.-old tennis prodigy during the bombing campaign, and now looking back, Djokovic says it was a formative time for him and his family. “[The war] made us tougher. It made us more hungry, more hungry for the success.” Watch an excerpt.

Now the world’s number-one tennis player has more than tennis on his mind. As a Serb, he represents the small country condemned by many for its role in the civil wars that destroyed the former Yugoslavia. He is a hero in Serbia and is mindful of what he represents to his people. “We have a harder way to succeed in life as Serbs because of the past that we had and because of the history we had,” he says. “We have to dig deeper “

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