Novak Djokovic is not just one of the world’s great tennis players he is the defacto ambassador for his homeland, Serbia. Not an easy job, given the lingering resonance in the world’s news bulletins of Serbia’s role in the 1990s Yugoslav wars. To this day, the words Serbia’ and atrocities’ are linked in the minds of many.
In this study of both Djokovic and Serbia, Chris Bowers paints two powerful portraits. He traces the story of the boy from modest surroundings, telling of how he met the woman who not only taught him tennis but how to deal with life as a high-profile icon, charts his battle with illness and his relationship with a volatile father, and how his on-court deeds have made his country proud. But he also tells the story of Serbia, pulling no punches about its role in the 1990s wars but offering a sensitive interpretation of the hopes and aspirations of a people with a troubled past.
Bowers, biographer of Swiss tennis star Roger Federer and the British deputy-prime-minister Nick Clegg, weaves together these sporting and geo-political strands to present a sensitive portrait of a man and his people, and how determination married to sensitivity can create a sporting statesman.