Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Marko, Darko, and Djoko
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Marko, Darko, and Djoko 05/07/2009 - 5:22 PM

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by Pete Bodo

Tennis is a family game. Almost anyone old enough to walk and hold a racket can play, and so can the miracle octogenarian. Everyone knows about those notorious tennis dads and moms, but remember, too, that husband and wife, or parent and child, can play and even play with each other. Also, anyone compete in tournaments, including the sanctioned ones that generate official rankings. If you're a USTA member, or part of any other ITF affiliate, and you earn a ranking, you're name is right there in the book, alongside that of Serena Williams, or Mardy Fish.

Beyond that, knowledgeable fans know that the most familiar and easily navigated path to glory runs through the living room and basement rec room. Many of the best pro players emerge from families immersed in the tennis culture. Who can forget Ivan Lendl's childhood tales of being leashed like a dog to the net post by his tennis nut mother while she played matches? Or overlook the fact that Chris Evert's father was a Fort Lauderdale teaching pro - who, in fact, had dated Gloria Connors (Jimmy's mother) back in their collegiate days? Todd Martin's mother used to set up the playpen alongside the fence at the court where she played with her husband, and the Austin family produced three siblings who each played on the pro tour at one time or another: Pam, Jeff and Tracy.

Even when a promising player's family isn't crazy for tennis, it often gets that way when a youngster's talent becomes manifest. A precocious player requires a support system, and that usually means family involvement and even sacrifice. Tennis is not just something that people do; it's something people live. The game sometimes enters through the side door and gradually overwhelms a family. In what other sport do parents (Richard Williams?) and even siblings (Venus and Serena, Andy and Jamie?) play so large or visible a role?

I got to thinking about all this once again as the Serbian Open got underway the other day. That a single player (Novak Djokovic) backed up by his family could exert such a profound influence on the game is both telling and surprising. It's as if Kobe Bryant and his family decided they wanted their own NBA franchise, and got it. Or Brett Favre and his kin starting an NFL team. It seems a little screwy, to tell you the truth. There's something startlingly . . . unprofessional . . . about the idea. I mean, what does Novak's uncle Goran know about tennis? It had better be something, because the dude is the tournament director of the Serbia Open.

Well, I'm not one of those sanctimonious finger-waggers who expects everyone to be pure as the driven snow, or who enjoys pointing out that this or that person isn't, or may not be. The fact that the Djokovic family has taken the initiative, and assumed at least some risk (I believe that's the case, but don't quote me on it - apparently the government of Serbia is also involved in all this) is admirable. It shows that they're fairly courageous, not averse to working, and have an instinct for giving something back to the game, for growing tennis in a new and fertile corner of the world.

The Djokovices brought pro tennis to a nation that had virtually no tradition or history in the game, but in which (thanks to them) tennis has rocketed in popularity to become the most popular sport. Given the way tennis is structured and run, I'm amazed that the Serbia Open exists at all - this sport isn't exactly known for its carpe diem approach to creating new tournaments in promising markets (BTW, now that we're mired in this global recession, what was that about China being the vast, new, dying-to-be-exploited market?).

Still, Serbia having a tournament is one thing; Novak Djokovic owning it, promoting it, and competing in it is quite another. At some level this is simply surreal. And let's remember that Novak himself is all of 21 years old. Shoot, a few more years at this rate and the stadium at the site (officially, it's the Milan Gale Muskatirovic) is going to be named the Novak Djokovic Coliseum at the Serbia Open. Sitting in the locker room, Roger Federer will turn to Rafael Nadal and ask, "Who are you playing?"

Rafa will answer: "I'm playing Novak in The Novak. Second match after two."

Roger: "Yeah, it's tough playing him in The Novak. . . crowd noise is just too much."

I mean, does anyone else think this is a little weird?

I've been poking around the Serbia Open website, and Djokovic's own "official" site as well. It's kind of cute, and refreshing, to see exuberant, bang-'em-on-the-head headlines like: Unexpected! Zimonjic and Nestor Defeated! or Exciting Contest of Serbian Players (the headline for the Novak vs. Janko Tipsarevic match). In one of the photo galleries I found an image of the press interview room; it was set-up just like it usually is at tour events, with players, an ATP handler, a few film crews, a player seated behind the table - but only one person who appeared to be an actual journalist. I relay this only to emphasize the Just build it, they will come aspect of this entire endeavor. It's built. I hope that over time everyone does come, because it took courage and vision to make this a reality.

The team that beat Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor (the no. 2 doubles team in the world) and inspired the second of those headlines I quoted above? It was Darko Madjarovski and Marko Djokovic, Novak's 18-year old brother. Darko and Marko never even hit balls until a week ago, and they survived a tight match with two of the most talented, veteran doubles players on the main tour. The score that was posted at the Serbia Open website was 7:6, 2:6, 10:6 - do with it what you will. And let's have no whispering about this upset - this was a day the world's top doubles team (Bob and Mike Bryan) also went down, in Munich.

Marko showed that he has a touch of that Djokovic hubris when he said, “This is not a surprise, the result is real and I hope that we will win the tournament.” Darko Madjarovski was a little more circumspect, perhaps because at 25, he's seven years older than Marko, Madjarovski waxed philosophical, saying: "It was a great honor to step out to the court with Zimonjic and Nestor. The ball is round, everything is possible. We are moving on."

I hope the weather stays sunny and warm, because apparently there aren't any covers for the courts at the Milan Gale Muskatirovic. You know how it is with a big project like this, it's easy to forget some of the details: Rain? Who woulda thunk it?!!!. Once upon a time, the site (can we agree to just call it the Milan Gale?) was some sort of tennis facility. The Djokovic family bought it, figured out a way to rehabilitate it, and bought out the sanction of the tournament usually held in Amersfoort. That made room on the calendar for the Serbia Open. Tennis benefited from the swap: it may have lost a minor regional tournament, but it gained a national championship. Let's face it: any tournament that begins with the name of a nation and ends in "Open" has a certain amount of heft.

I don't know if you saw Neil Harman's Net Post column the other day, but he wrote that three years ago, when Djokovic was temporarily stateless because of the split between Serbia and Montenegro, the LTA made an aggressive effort to move the Djokovics to England. Among other things, they allegedly dangled a membership in the All-England Club, as well a a retirement home in Eastbourne, overlooking Devonshire Park (the site of the annual WTA tournament). It speaks to the depth and passion of the Djokovic family's patriotic feelings that they turned down the offer.

Now, they have a tournament of their own, and a captive domestic audience. As Novak has said, "This is very important, especially for my family, for myself and for all the players from Serbia, to have a tournament for the first time in the history of our country. Everybody is really excited."  Harman reported that Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Carlos Ferrero, two former  no. 1s, had asked for wild cards but were turned down because Goran Djokovic had awarded two of the three on offer to a pair of little known Serbs (Filip Krajinovic and Arsenije Zlatanovic), and gave the other one to Marcos Baghdatis.

It just so happens that Novak was drawn to play fellow Serbs Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki, in back-to-back matches. He's already taken care of Janko - Viktor is next. So, with Marko and Novak still alive and kicking, things are looking pretty good for the Djokovic family, whose business apparently is officially known as Family Sport. It's all about family for the Djokovices. And the Serbia Open is all about the Djokovic family and their fellow Serbs, which includes Daniel Nestor - sort of. Let's remember that he was born in Belgrade.

Darko. Remember that name if you find yourself rebelling against peer group pressure to name your kid Cody, Tucker, or Kwame.


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Posted by Master Ace 05/07/2009 at 05:27 PM

Indeed, business is good for the Djokovics. The top 2 teams indeed had bad losses(albeit STB) in the past 2 days but I will say the win by Marko/Darko was completely unexpected.

Posted by malimeda 05/07/2009 at 05:34 PM

Partially owning an ATP event, unproffesional? If I'm not mistaken, Valencia ATP 250 is partially owned by ATP players J.C. Ferrero and D. Ferrer.

Posted by GVGirl 05/07/2009 at 05:35 PM

I just landed in LA and I'm First?

Posted by GVGirl 05/07/2009 at 05:39 PM

Nope. Not first. LOL

Will Novak give himself the trophy should he win the tournament?

Posted by Jenn 05/07/2009 at 05:50 PM

That's it, Pete ... Darko!! We were just discussing baby names before I read this.

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 05/07/2009 at 05:53 PM

I must say, I'm rapidly warming to Nole. Not too fond of his parents, or at least the media depiction of them, but that's besides the point.
"Tennis is not just something that people do; it's something people live." Great line, and very true.

Thanks Pedro, one of your best posts for a while.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeeeeee!) 05/07/2009 at 05:59 PM

Not sure I'd use the word "unprofessional," though the phrase "conflict of interest" immediately came to mind. I mean, wasn't it Papa Djokovic who was complaining not too long ago about Serbian commentators who he didn't view as sufficiently pro-Nole? Makes me wonder if there's any acceptable outcome other than for Nole to win this tournament.

I don't know enough about the financial arrangements of the tournament to judge whether there's anything shady going on, so I'll give the Djokovic family and the tournament officials (are they one and the same?) the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by lollipop 05/07/2009 at 06:00 PM

i agree with you pete, the idea of a player owning a tourney and being the top seed there is a little weird. But it looks like it was always a dream for Nole, and I'm glad he was able to achieve it. Sometimes when you see all these things, it's hard to believe that Nole is only 21 years old.
Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.

Posted by CC 05/07/2009 at 06:01 PM

"The Djokovices brought pro tennis to a nation that had virtually no tradition or history in the game, but in which (thanks to them) tennis has rocketed in popularity to become the most popular sport."
I am not so shure about that! What about Monica Seles and Big Slobodan Bobo Zivojinovic ?

Posted by Love 40 05/07/2009 at 06:01 PM

Sorry to say it, but I didn't get what is the point of the article. Than "The score that was posted at the Serbia Open website was 7:6, 2:6, 10:6 - do with it what you will", a bit too sarcastic, why? Do you actually know who was that guy Milan Gale Muskatirovic at all? Please, tell us a bit about him and about N.Pilic to put a bit of light on the Yugoslavia and no tennis culture. Than compare it to the tennis culture of some country like Switzerland from that time etc.

Posted by crazyone 05/07/2009 at 06:02 PM

*Even when a promising player's family isn't crazy for tennis, it often gets that way when a youngster's talent becomes manifest. A precocious player requires a support system, and that usually means family involvement and even sacrifice. Tennis is not just something that people do; it's something people live. The game sometimes enters through the side door and gradually overwhelms a family. In what other sport do parents (Richard Williams?) and even siblings (Venus and Serena, Andy and Jamie?) play so large or visible a role?*

I'd give two reasons for this: one, the young ages at which tennis is played and at which training needs to occur to be a successful player--usually the successful players are those who started playing when they were 4-5 years old. two, the individual nature of the sport, so some of the "team spirit" that would come from, well, a team, often comes from a family.

Posted by benjamin 05/07/2009 at 06:04 PM

Darko is a very common name in the ex-yugo countries. I'm not sure it adds to the article, or the writer's credibility, to poke fun at it. Rather, it potentially comes across as ignorant.

Posted by Lleytsie 05/07/2009 at 06:09 PM

hey all - can anyone tell me more about the ivan lendl story ? am curious

Posted by imjimmy 05/07/2009 at 06:14 PM

""Tennis is not just something that people do; it's something people live""

That is very good, Pete. Actually not only good, but brilliant! Thanks for that memorable quote and for a wonderful post!

Credit to Nole and his family for their initiative. As for Nole himself: He's always player very attractive tennis, and now(finally) he's starting to develop a commensurate off-court persona. He's rapidly establishing himself as Tennis's most gracious loser, and hopefully he start being on the winning side soon!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 05/07/2009 at 06:17 PM

Pete I beleive the core of any tennis player always comes from the family to start with.

Love them or hate them Novaks parents like any other just want the best for their son or in this instance their sons?

To own and promote their own tennis tournament in a place like Serbia to me is a testament to them in a way.

They want to promote the game there.Let us all remember this country had hardly any tennis courts to practice on at all.

What the outcome will be is hopefully to spark further interest for up and coming players in this country.

Hey not a bad thing in my way of thinking.

Posted by md 05/07/2009 at 06:20 PM

Don't know what to think really about the post.I guess I would have to analyze it carefully,before giving 'prejudgement',not to come to wrong conclusions .Somehow,strange vibes from Pete's text.Maybe it's just my limited knowlege of english.As I said,I don't know.
I,usually,don't think that things are black and white,or at least clearly black and white always.There are some real elements for being careful about players and their tournaments,I agree.But,if it's not against the rules of ATP,WTA,why not?They should know it better?
I,for myself think that for Novak,and his family ,bringing the ATP250 to Belgrade is tremendous lost of energy,and I wouldn't be sure of the financial gains.Many reasons for that.I,do feel that Serbia(not,Surbia:-),Belgrade deserve the tournament(ATP,and WTA also,why not).Also,knowing our authorities,and their 'priorities',a lot of water would flow by beautiful Danube,in the viccinity of central court,before it would actually happen.So,thanks to Djokovics,Belgrade has the tournament,and we'll se what Mr Adam Helfant and the gentlemen from the ATP will say after it's all over.Hopefully with great success.

Posted by Ryan 05/07/2009 at 06:40 PM

I am so over the Djokovics.

Posted by beth 05/07/2009 at 06:40 PM

Lleytsie - all I remember about the Lendl childhood story ( and yes apparently he had a childhood ) is that his mother was a very good tennis player in Czechoslovokia . Not sure if she was ever a pro - or ever reached that level , but she was extremely competitive and
quite good from all reports.
When he was a little toddler , she used to take him to the courts with her and attach a leash to his little beltloops and hook him on the net post - so he could not run away while she was playing .

Posted by jann 05/07/2009 at 06:41 PM

Bodo, Dodo Darko... hardly any difference if you are not English speaking. Tournaments rightly give wild cards to their local talent to exposure them to competition they would not normally have access to, rather than wasting it on those in the twilight of their careers.

Posted by Ryan 05/07/2009 at 06:41 PM

Anyone notice at the Net Post link there is a comment from "Simon Barfnes"? Freudian slip???

Posted by Tennis Fan 05/07/2009 at 06:51 PM

I don't think that is any weirder than Tennis Magazine partially owning Indian Wells. That is Sports Illustrated owning the Superbowl.

As long as they play by the rules. The fact that all the top serbs wer in the same quarter leads one to believe at least the tennis part is on the up and up.

However, the family probably is so passionate that they want to bring tennis to Serbia and if you have a tournament in Serbia don't you want your top Serbian player to be there.

Besides it is a small tournament and not a top one so the Senarios with Federer and Nadal are unlikely to happen.

Posted by Maja 05/07/2009 at 06:55 PM

All that you wrote Pete is an interesting and we may say even a logical view,but not necessarily true!And it is really funny couse your view on Djokovic's family reminds me on the "GODFATHER"movie:))
If somone works hard to get this tournament and to build such a beautiful tennis complex behind two rivers,why that would be bad?!You should come,it will be nice for your fans to have you here in Serbia:)!Anybody could be the owner of the tournament,but Novak still have to play,and win!!And please,remember name Filip Krajinovic,he has vary promissing future!!So that's why he deserved a wild card.About Hewitt and Ferrero,thay are not in the good shape,so why not give the chance to the yonger players!It's the atp 250 tournament,and small step for giving a good support to the home players!We all know that in Serbia players mainly depends on thay parents,thay don't have strong tennis infrastructure to help them,unlike the other countries like Spain,Britain,USA,France do..In my opinion we
should always have to look if something has more advantage or disadvantage.And from this point of view Serbian tennis(and yes,djokovic's family too) gets its chance to advance!

Posted by Eman Liame Sserdda 05/07/2009 at 07:13 PM

Roger Federer will turn to Rafael Nadal and ask, "Who are you playing?"

Rafa will answer: "I'm playing Novak in The Novak. Second match after two."

Roger: "Yeah, it's tough playing him in The Novak. . . crowd noise is just too much."

I mean, does anyone else think this is a little weird?

LMAO

Posted by gustavo kloh, brazil 05/07/2009 at 07:18 PM

Just loved the remark "the ball is round". The americans must no t know it, but it's a classic soccer quote.

Posted by CJ 05/07/2009 at 07:32 PM

After a lot of lurking I'm stepping out into the real (tennis) world to find out what the view is really like... Anyway, Pete ask a question about Djokovic and his different involments with Serbia Open: "does anyone else think this is a little weird?"

Well, back in the good old days in Rome they had a saying "Not even Cesars wife" meaning that Cesar had to be above any suspicion of foul play (bribe, murder, assasinations, and other classic roman 'virtues'), and to be that even his wife and the people around him had to absolutely clean as well.

I am in no way suggesting that Djokovic (or any member of his family) is doing anything "on the dark side" regarding Serbia Open, but to answer Pete's question: Yes - I also think that this is a little weird. I cannot resist the feeling that there is a problem with Cesar's wife and Serbia.

Posted by md 05/07/2009 at 07:34 PM

And I believe there are several mistakes in the text,although I'm convinced not intentional.If Pete is interested in,I can try to correct them.Like,e.g. the owners of the sport complex,not sold to Djokovic family,as much as I read from the press.The Sport Receretional Centre is huge,on the first class location,and although neglected I should dare to say beyond even their financial capacity.And as it was explained by the city mayor and authorities,the city supported the venture ,because as of july,Belgrade will host The Universiade,and the venue will be used for that purpose also.Cheers.

Posted by drop(per) 05/07/2009 at 07:41 PM

is tennis channel really not going to show venus vs. radwanska? anyone have an idea?

Posted by ladyjulia 05/07/2009 at 07:41 PM

Roger Federer will turn to Rafael Nadal and ask, "Who are you playing?"

Rafa will answer: "I'm playing Novak in The Novak. Second match after two."

Roger: "Yeah, it's tough playing him in The Novak. . . crowd noise is just too much."

LOL Pete!

Posted by Yeah 05/07/2009 at 07:55 PM

Actually Filip Krajinovic and Arsenije Zlatanovic are one of the greatest future tallents. Especially Filip, he's at Bolitieri's academy...
It's also interesting how much is done at MGM complex in such a short time. I think they began to work on it at the middle of March or even maybe at the beginning of the April. Anyhow, it's good to have a tournament here. Hope it will help tennis and make him important for a long time (not only while Novak, Ana and Jelena are at top)...

Posted by Yeah 05/07/2009 at 07:55 PM

Actually Filip Krajinovic and Arsenije Zlatanovic are one of the greatest future tallents. Especially Filip, he's at Bolitieri's academy...
It's also interesting how much is done at MGM complex in such a short time. I think they began to work on it at the middle of March or even maybe at the beginning of the April. Anyhow, it's good to have a tournament here. Hope it will help tennis and make him important for a long time (not only while Novak, Ana and Jelena are at top)...

Posted by md 05/07/2009 at 08:04 PM

And since I started,I hope You won't mind...
..."brought pro tennis to a nation that had virtually no tradition or history in the game"...Though I'm not in sport profession,particularly tennis,I know so much...The 'nation'was living in country known as Yugoslavia for almost 73 plus years before break up.Tennis in Yugoslavia,was known and well established sport.True,western parts were more developed in that sense,let's remember Mima Jausovec,Sabrina Goles,Niki Pilic,believe it or not,even Goran Ivanisevic was great sport star,not only in native Croatia,but also in Serbia,and there were not great divisions in ethnic sense vis a vis sport.They were all playing under one banner(flag?).
And when we talk about serbian tennis,then there was Slobodan Zivojinovic,true,once 'only' 19th on ATP list(highest ranking),but twice semifinalist on grands slams,AO and SW19,and QF and regularly 4R on grand slams.
And there is Monica Seles,born in Serbia,serbian citizenship,then still officially Federal Republic of Yugoslavia(Savezna Republika Jugoslavija-in reallity Serbia and Montenegro),playing with our passport untill 1993rd,I believe,correct me if I'm wrong.And reasonably, under the circumstances(civil war, sanctions,isolation),took the american citizenship and continued the career.If,not others,only Monika would be enough for great tennis 'product',no?
By the way,when we speak of tennis,the same tennis coach,that 'found and created' Monika, Jelena Gencic is the same person that 'trained, and taught the first tennis steps of Novak Djokovic.
And,more to that adviced the family to invest in his future,because as she said,as for Monica,he is also very great talent.So,for tennis culture,I think,she could be included too,no?
So much from me,for now.I hope I'm not boring with all this?Thanks again.

Posted by Pspace 05/07/2009 at 08:09 PM

I love the fact that Nole sees himself as more than just a tennis player. It's very rare that you get a combination of a good/great player who has a sense of the larger purpose, in contrast with our very staid No. 1 and No. 2 players. Much as he's been crticized for changing his racquet, and his involvement in the tournament, he's shown a rare ability for a tennis player to multi-task. He's a great face for the sport. Ajde!

Posted by Pera 05/07/2009 at 08:20 PM

what is weird with giving wild cards to your own talented players???nothing weird....it is done everywhere in the world...don't wee see a bunch of American kids we never heard of before playing in qualifications for US Open???

Posted by md 05/07/2009 at 08:39 PM

And,speaking about wild cards,Nole's brother didn't get one.Had to go through qualificiations,like everyone else,lost.Didn't play single.
And, 'Darko and Marko never even hit balls until a week ago',Pete?
Marko is/was student of same sport academy,as Nole was,Pilic's.That's the latest info I had ,true,2 years old,but,I know for sure he's training tennis out of Serbia,heard from some Nole's interview.One thing I know for sure,I,myself know that, he played doubles in ATP tournament in Croatia,Umag... I remember of that match,it was either last year,or 2007.I can check if it's of importance.And Darko Madjarovski is ATP ranked player for years(true around 400-500th),and also played for our Davis Cup team on several occasions.As much as I can recall,he's doubles specialist,like Vemic,Zimonjic etc.Career High Singles 332 * (27 Oct 2003) *
Career High Doubles 331 * (15 Sep 2003).Those are Darko's.(had to check).

Posted by zolarafa 05/07/2009 at 09:09 PM

Yeah, as long as they play by the rules, why not have a tournament in Serbia? Ion Tiriac or one of them rich people could start a tournament in Serbia or Romania or Croatia! but they didn't. I think it is a great idea as long as there is no discrimination and hopefully ATP will look after that.

I don't think there could have been so many great players from a country without any tennis tradition.Seles is Serbian . So is jelena Dokic ( although she is now Australian) an the lady who discovered Djokovic, Jelena Genčić . Not to mention players from other parts of older Yugoslavia like Ivanisevic.

Posted by Sarah 05/07/2009 at 09:21 PM

Oh no... He's gone back to the "Dude's" in full swing now... God Save Us All.

Posted by malimeda 05/07/2009 at 09:26 PM

Interesting tennis-related banner, top right of the page.

Posted by TripleF(FedFanForever) 05/07/2009 at 09:33 PM

Roger that Ryan! I once muttered I would quit watching tennis because of the Djokovics. This was much before the Rome episode - where TMF muttered 'be quiet' to that crazy mother of his and Novak quit right away. I think that's what turned Novak from being a fun loving guy who imitated others to this mean, vulgar, chest-thumping dude. Good that he plays well and a serious threat to Rafa. And watchable. Regardless, am disgusted with that family. There's something inherently anxious and nasty about them on the sidelines. Makes you anxious watching them. Nothing sporty about them at all.

Posted by arbiter 05/07/2009 at 09:36 PM

Tennis has been played in Serbia for a long time. Serbia was a part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia, with tennis tradition too, before the WW2.

Posted by arbiter 05/07/2009 at 09:40 PM

...and this picture of Novak where he looks not so pleasing to the eye, is a record braking, 1745th ugly picture of Novak on this site. Yes, during his career, there were 2 or 3 nice pictures of him here...maybe someone made a mistake and posted them, while the main censor was away :))

Posted by Nanette 05/07/2009 at 10:24 PM

Some facts about the previous comments:

Niki Pilic is a Croat not a Serb, and American Monica Seles an ethnic Hungarian from the former autonomous Yugoslav province of Vojvodina, now part of Serbia. As for Serbian Slobodan Zivojinovic, he never reached the Top 10, but only a career high of #19 back in 1987 with a grand total of 2 career singles titles (wow !)

All the top 10 players from the former Yugoslavia were non-Serbs, like Hungarian Monica Seles, Croat Goran Ivanisevic and Slovene Mima Jausovec. The first Serb to break through was Jankovic not before 2007 (sorry but Australian Jelena Dokic was also born in Croatia and is only half-Serbian since her mother is Croatian.)

Serbia doesn't have a tennis tradition and the latest success of its players should be taken in perspective. To expect it to last is quite presumptious (ie: where are the great Swedish players and Czech players now, huh ?) And in case you haven't noticed, both #63 Tipsarevic and #38 Troicki have yet to win an ATP title.

Moreover, at age 18 Marko Djokovic is currently only ranked #1768 and has long way to go since he has never won a singles ATP match, just like 19 year old Zlatanovic (#1421) and 17 year old Krajinovic (#514) There are plenty of prospects from all over the world who are doing as well or better, so let's not get carried away because the Djokovics finally own Serbia's first ATP 250 tournament...you've got to be djoking, lol !

Posted by skip1515 05/07/2009 at 11:15 PM

Apropos of nothing and no one in specific, and at the same time of our appreciation for what it takes to win tournaments of any consequence on the pro tour, can we dispense with disparaging comments about how some players have *only* won X number of titles, or, worse yet, One Slam Wonders?

Chris Lewis posted here a few times, but other than him I think we're all waiting for our first ATP or WTA trophy. It behooves us to show at least a little respect for those who go home with hardware. The accomplishments of the infrequent winners pale only in comparison to the truly top flite players, and they are few and far between.

Posted by Ronnie 05/07/2009 at 11:30 PM

"It's as if Kobe Bryant and his family decided they wanted their own NBA franchise, and got it."
What's wrong with that?
"I mean, what does Novak's uncle Goran know about tennis? It had better be something, because the dude is the tournament director of the Serbia Open."
So far nothing bad, it seems he did a great job.
"The Djokovices brought pro tennis to a nation that had virtually no tradition or history in the game,"
17 (seventeen)Grand Slam titles came from native Serbs!! (singls, doubles and mix)
"any tournament that begins with the name of a nation and ends in "Open" has a certain amount of heft."
US Open?
I work here in Toronto with one Serb and he gave me translated articles from a Serbian tennis web www.svettenisa.net, written by Dorcolac in his blogs, very interesting, unusual style! Find someone to translate them, it's worth to get more understanding for tennis in that country.

Posted by SRao 05/07/2009 at 11:32 PM

Nice Post,Pete.I kinda liked it.But whatever the Djokoviches do,it seems very shady/unsportive lacks sportsmanship.I and many think that way,bcoz,Roger and Rafa have set the bar too high,they are pure gentlemen in all aspects,off and on the court.But Novak being next in the line[it may never happen,though!]is everything but Roger-Rafa.Don't bother putting Novak in the same sentence alongwith Roger-Rafa,pleaseeee.And the less talked about his vicious family the better.His mom looks cunning and mean.But in today's era,everything is BUSINESS...sports,education,art,etc.So coming from Serbia,the Djokovicies too are trying to cash in the success brought about by his son.I don't think there's anything more than that to read/interpret.Period.

Posted by Christopher 05/07/2009 at 11:46 PM

"It speaks to the depth and passion of the Djokovic family's patriotic feelings that they turned down the offer."

But doesn't Novak live in Monte Carlo to avoid paying taxes in Serbia? (Please do correct me if I'm wrong about this.)

Posted by Ryan W 05/08/2009 at 01:19 AM

Hi Pete - yes it's a bit strange. Have you followed the Beach volley ball tour? It once use to be very popular until a big conflict of interests happened when top stars like Sinjin Smith became part of the tour board, and had ownership of tournaments.

It's really not that strange in tennis. Kim Clijsters financial involvement in Bob Veerbeeck's Proxmius Diamond Games (WTA Tier II) has always been an open secret. She received partial gate receipts off the sales of tickets. Kim also was given her playing schedule months in advance of the tournament.

Posted by weird columnist 05/08/2009 at 01:20 AM

So, you think taht is little weird for Roger Federer playing in Basel tournament and winning it??

IS it little weird that Nadal plays Barcelona and Madrid and wins it?

Roddick won USO, is it little weird?

Is it little weird that You own this site, a nd write in it professionaly???

Give us a break, Bodo. The writer of your caliber doesn't suppose to write trash article like this one. And that all with sole inention to bash the Serbs, Djokovics, (yeah, correct your "Djokovices" spelling??).
Shame!

Posted by Aloha 05/08/2009 at 01:26 AM

thanks goodness, Djokovics didn't ask you for the opinion about bringing the ATP tournament to Serbia!! Otherwise they wouldn't neever brought it. You former tennis player, now tennis columnist writing article against openning new tennis trournaments??

God help you, Bodo. Althoguh I doubt he will.

Posted by Ryan W 05/08/2009 at 01:41 AM

Pete, what I'm trying to say in my example of Kim Clijsters an Proxmius Diamond Games is that you can't call out or single out Djokovic simply because ....

a) He's not American
b) He's not with IMG
c) He's not with Nike
d) He's not based in Florida nor a graduate of the Boliteri Academy
e) all of the above

when you turn a blind eye when players you like or are associated to your sponsors of this website and TENNIS magazine who do the same with tournaments. More examples would be Federer with Basel, Nadal with his small tournaments in Spain, small tournaments in Asia, anything with James Blake or the Williams Sisters.

It's small tournaments, and the ATP/WTA/ITF have always taken a blind eye and sort of rewarded these "stars" with gate receipts and appearance fees in their local or native country tournaments.

It's when as in beach volley ball when the tournaments are big events that it becomes a serious issue to objectivity.

Posted by JDnSD 05/08/2009 at 01:45 AM

Correct about M. Seles: Ethinic Hungarian (...though I thought from Novi Sad area, originally).

Interesting quote from Marko, as I seem to recall he got his clock cleaned by D. Hrbty at 6-0 6-0 in qualies. The youngest brother seems like the biggest jerk of the bunch, if anybody caught the couple of interviews with him during the 2008 AO (...apparently the thought was a pudgy kid would be cute to talk to). The youngest brother is sort of a cross between the fat kid on "2 and a half men" and Barry Bonds.

Posted by none of my business, but... 05/08/2009 at 02:02 AM

Have to delurk to write.

I think it is an interesting column, provoking thoughts and controversies; and always with Pete's own brand humor, which I enjoy tremendously.

He doesnt deserve any of the venom that so many of you spew on him. He didnt make any disparaging remarks over the nation of Serbia, or even over the Djokovic family, whose behavior and rude comments pushed the notion of sportsmanship to its brink till it topples over. It is very unfair that he becomes your target for all your insecurities and misplaced nationalism.

Those wrote overly personal and rude comments should not be allowed to post here. Where is the moderator when we need him?
Or are vicious remarks against Pete game?

Oh, give a break on making fun of names. We all do that. I am Chinese, and trust me, our names got misprounced and laughed at more than any other names. It might be immature and politically incorrect, but sometimes if the name is funny, it is funny; particularly if it makes nice rhyme like the title.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 05/08/2009 at 02:06 AM

Hey Pete and everyone. :)

What, nothing about Rafa's hair? ;-) *pretends to be disappointed* Actually - I like reading about other players. :)

I read that bit in Neil H's Net Post and laughed at it...probably a good thing that Djokovic turned down the offer, as now Murray would likely be getting all the attention and newspaper and LTA love and Novak would be getting the Rusedski treatment, being overshadowed by a "home-grown, truly British" player. Idiot press.

A retirement home in Eastbourne is a fate I wouldn't wish on anybody, overlooking the tennis or not. ;-) I lived there for a bit and it is Retirement Home Capital of the UK...although behind all of that there are some nice seedy Brighton Rock-ish bits and a fabulous and beautifully old-fashioned second-hand bookshop called Camilla's Books.

I didn't realise countries were allowed to offer such, um, inducements to get people to play for them. *re-orders mental world slightly*

I guess you can live in Monaco and still love your country...it's not ideal maybe, but then, who is? - although I don't really approve, personally. It's an interesting tension anyway and one that's hard to judge unless you find yourself in a similar position. I mean, if I win the Euro Millions lottery draw, would I stay in Britain and pay the new 50% tax rate? I'd like to think so, but I can't say for sure.

Oh right, tennis...well, the whole tournament does seem a little odd - but then most new tournaments have an odd feel, no? Presumably Tiriac didn't start Madrid out of any sense of altruism, so it's actually kind of refreshing that the Djokovic family have something of that aim, at least to me. It is odd to have such a nationalistic feel - as tennis always feels more more international than that to me - but then, it's the beginning of the tournament and maybe it will grow beyond that as Serbia grows too - not to lose that, but to add more to it, if that makes sense.

and presumably Goran Djokovic has a management team to advise him? So even if he himself doesn't know much there'd be plenty of good advice on hand. And if it's under ATP rules etc I'd guess it would be in the ATP's interest to keep an eye on the tournament. Plus an enormous amount of press scrutiny. I don't think there'll be much getting away with "unprofessional", somehow.

It'll be fun to watch how the whole thing progresses.

I guess if you looked at the old Yugoslavia as part of a continuity with Serbia you could make a tennis tradition, but, as Serbia, maybe not so much. So it's nice to see the Djokovic family attempting to make one and to bring the younger Serbs and Tipsy in. (I love Tipsy...any excuse for more Tipsy.)

Only wish it could be a joint event and include Ana and JJ too...JJ's loss in the first round would probably put paid to some hints of discrimination on nationality, anyway...meh. *is bitter*

Can't see Nestor or Zimonjic doing anything but their best to win, they're champions for a reason, no? Especially with Zimonjic being Serbian too. Maybe they were tired and flat after the previous title-winning weeks and Marko and Darko were particularly hungry?

I'd expect the Serbs to do well at a tournament in Serbia...it's like sometimes playing at Wimbledon can lift a Brit to a win in the first round (I say, sometimes...) or at least to overperform. (Sorry, Tim.)

Ugh to husband-and-wife tennis, I can see that being a recipe for utter disaster...and as for the family thing, I'm always a bit dubious about that, too...too many awful tennis fathers for comfort. But it would be hard to make it without your family behind you.

And I really love Novak's commitment to his family and their commitment to him, even it does sometimes get a little too much. But I worry about the pressure of all of that on Novak.

Some nice comments, I liked Pspace's and skip's particularly. And LOL at the thought of Pete being a communist - my favourite accusation yet. ;-)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 05/08/2009 at 02:11 AM

eek...essay. Sorry!

Posted by Corrie (not Carrie or Cory) 05/08/2009 at 03:22 AM

Nasty comments from paranoic Serb nationalists. Pete wrote nothing to deserve such venom, though some is pretty funny, especially the communist bit. Whatever one player or one family does, good or bad, it has absolutely nothing to do with the honour of a country.

Posted by 70's tennis fan 05/08/2009 at 03:37 AM

'A retirement home in Eastbourne is a fate I wouldn't wish on anybody, overlooking the tennis or not. ;-) I lived there for a bit and it is Retirement Home Capital of the UK...'

LOL Jewell..have to agreee. If I was offered a retirement home in Eastbourne I would run a mile..lovely as it is during June!!!!

Posted by Yonex 05/08/2009 at 03:48 AM

"All the top 10 players from the former Yugoslavia were non-Serbs, like Hungarian Monica Seles..."
So what if she is Hungarian? She was born in SERBIA(Yugoslavia,whatever)and played under the flag of Yugoslavia.Would you say the same thing for Navratilova,Einstein and all the american citizens who were born outside of the USA(like Amer Delic today).Monika was born in today's Serbia and played under the flag of YU,so she was serbian(or yugoslavian if you prefer).ANd if Jelena Dokic isn't Serbian what would you tell about Marin Cilic,Ivan Ljubicic and Ivan Dodig,croatian players born in Bosnia?
"Moreover, at age 18 Marko Djokovic is currently only ranked #1768 and has long way to go since he has never won a singles ATP match, just like 19 year old Zlatanovic (#1421) and 17 year old Krajinovic (#514) There are plenty of prospects from all over the world who are doing as well or better"
About M. Djokovic I agree but to say that "are plenty of prospects from all over the world who are doing as well or better" of Krajinovic :)) Please tell me who are these 17 years old players that had reached the semis of a Challenger with 16 years, has beaten 2 top 100 players(Kendrick and Kim) and are better ranked than Filip(#515).I only know Bernard Tomic(who has a negative score against Filip of 2 lost matches).

Posted by Sandro 05/08/2009 at 03:58 AM

I thin Mr.Bodo is a little bit jealous because the American tennis has no bright future.I think Americans players have a lot of self-promotion but they do not have that talent and quality.Donald Young is perfect example,the kid won some GS with 15 years and all were saying he's gonna be the next Sampras.Today Young is battling through Challengers and is allready 19,so you have younger and more talented players that are better ranked than Donald.

Posted by Tanja from Belgrae 05/08/2009 at 04:57 AM

An interesting article i must say, I don't think it was mean spirited or ill intentioned in any way...maybe a little ''intentionally'' ignorant. :) I have my own opinion about the Djokovic family but one thing is for sure: I don't think they would have taken on the immense responsibility and financial burden of organizing an event like this if they truly believed that the Serbian government and the city officials had serious plans and aspirations of organizing it themselves...that would never happened, believe me. So, hail to the Djokovics for giving us a chance to see tennis being played on a much higher level, because the chances of traveling ( for true tennis fans in Serbia)to see a Masters or a Grand Slam are very slim...the embarrassment of applying for a visa is enough to take you of that idea...so, a chance to see good tennis being played in ones hometown and actually having the opportunity to see some fairly good players in action and experiencing an ATP event outside the boundaries of television is a truly remarkable thing, for me at least.
Greetings from Belgrade.

Posted by mina (Rafa FTW) 05/08/2009 at 05:45 AM

omg. the mods have some cleaning up to do in this particular post... tsk tsk.

as for the 'unprofessional' remark... i'd say that competing in a tournament you own and operate is much like writing, directing and acting in one's mown movie: i think it creates a huge conflict and robs one of the objectivity necessary to function in any one of the those job titles. but then again, more power to Nole and family for bringing tennis closer to their people.

Posted by tina (live from Belgrade) 05/08/2009 at 06:02 AM

Whoever it was who said the tennis folks in Ex-Ju should look to Ion Tiriac to bring them a tournament - hello? Belgrade already does have a challenger, Zagreb has a proper tournament, Umag. Do I need to repeat the fact that Croatia has an undefeated record over the US in David Cup?

As an American who was a tourist here in the 1980s and again a couple of years ago, having this tournament has been great for the city of Belgrade and Serbian tourism, which is vastly improved even from 2007. The match between Tipsarevic and Djokovic two nights ago (which also happened to be on St. George's Day, a national holiday) was as exciting an atmosphere as I have ever experienced at any night session at the US Open - perhaps even more so because, as Tanja wrote, it's not easy for this nation of tennis fans to see high level tennis played in person. It was truly thrilling.

The doubles yesterday was played fair and square - naturally I was curious to see if Marko had "the goods" and you know what? He played some brilliant doubles tennis!

By the way, Milan Muskatirovic was an Olympic waterpolo player in the 1960s. Born in what is now Bosnia, he was a huge Yugoslav sports hero. All of you TWibers who like to dip into the superficial side of men in sports are missing the boat if you've never watched waterpolo. Underwater shots of men in speedos!

As for all of this conflict-of-interest stuff - tennis.com (not Tennis Magazine) was actually the main owner/sponsor of a WTA event, right? What was it, Strasbourg? Linz? Wonder how that worked out for tennis.com.

And yeah, Sandro has a point about US prospects.

Pete - as I told Maureen Down to stick to Washington, because it's far less complicated, you also should stick to just the tennis.

Oh - and there would have been another "journalist" in the room if you had seen fit to give me credentials. As it is, now I am under contract to write about the tournament for another magazine - and I won't even say what it is!

Posted by tina (live from Belgrade) 05/08/2009 at 06:20 AM

While it's true that tennis is enormously popular here, you of all people should know it is not more popular than nogomet/football/soccer. I'm not sure it's even more popular than basketball.

Let's put it this way - cafes are all abuzz about the tennis, but when I take a taxi out to the site, the drivers look at me quizzically at first.

Posted by Tanja from Belgrade 05/08/2009 at 06:27 AM

@ Tina

I'm very glad you're enjoying your Belgrade tennis experience....bottom line - that is what it's all about. I don't think people realize how surreal this is for all true tennis fans here. It's been a long wait.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 05/08/2009 at 06:56 AM

"The game sometimes enters through the side door and gradually overwhelms a family."....you can say that again!!

I feel this is especially true if the rest of the family was not previously "immersed in the tennis culture" as you put it.

Posted by Aleksa 05/08/2009 at 07:08 AM

oi oi oi I have just dropped in and read Pete's article. Then I made a cardinal mistake and continued reading the comments to the post. I should have known better. And now I feel dirty. And not in a good way. Shame.

Posted by Aleksa 05/08/2009 at 07:19 AM

When it is hard and overwhelming to think, to try to contemplate, to comprehend - the best alternative is to judge. Judging people is easy, thinking and understanding must be pain in the ar**.

Posted by noleisthebest 05/08/2009 at 07:21 AM

Thank you for the informative article with your twist, of course....
I must say, I'm really happy for Novak and all the Serbian tennis players/workers/families, they deserved a bit of class and glamour after all that' happened there in the last 20 years.
The road is long, but Djokovic family dilligence and heart are great, they are writing tennis history, and you Pete as an American should love their go and attitude: they have done it all by their own work/merit/sacrifice, it's a happy-end story, and since they are so rare these days, there's no room for anything but admiration and respect for the whole affair.
Let's also not forget that Novak has come a long way from playing in a disused swimming pool under American bombs, to his own tournament. GOD BLESS SERBIA!

Posted by C.F. 05/08/2009 at 07:46 AM

Hey guys! Sorry if this is off topic, but I didn't know where to post it: I found out that there's no Tennis group on twitter, and there are several other sports: http://bit.ly/19NJsN Shouldn't we create one?

Now on topic - funny imaginary dialogue about playing "Novak" in "The Novak". But since I'm in my mean-spirited mood today, I have to say... I don't think this could ever happen between Roger and Rafa. Rafa, maybe. But Roger? I can't imagine his highness entering a tournment in which he'd play on a court named after a player from his generation other than himself.

Ok, that's it for my "poison of the day". Give it a couple of days and may go back to my "must defend Roger" mode.

Posted by tina (live from Belgrade) 05/08/2009 at 08:10 AM

@noleisthebest - I don't think Novak was actually among the "swimming pool" players, and NATO does not equal USA, but that's completely beside the point. Milosevic was screwing his own country from inside, as well, but that, too, is beside the point. I actually learned some of what I know from a conversation with Tipsarevic over 3 years ago, but have since learned much, much more. When it comes to Ex-Ju, thinking and understanding can indeed by a pain in the ar**, Aleksa, but it is a challenge I personally enjoy. I know I will never truly understand everything, but I do try.

Simply put, though: Serbia is a small country that's been through hard times and is not exactly known as the world's favorite - if not for 9/11 they would probably still be considered the biggest "bad guys" on the planet - so it's wonderful to see this country so happy to be represented to the world via this tournament. And now, in this wonderful summer sunshine, I will go out to the "MGM Center" in as little clothing as I can get away with in public and I will be sure to get to my seat early before tonight's big Friday night showdown between Djokovic and Troicki, followed by Marko/Darko's next match.

Slivovica made from quince is amazing, too!

Posted by noleisthebest 05/08/2009 at 08:28 AM

Tina,
slivovica is made from plums, not quinces.
And as for "and NATO does not equal USA", that's where we'll agree to disagree...stick to your skimpy clothing + qunce brandy to get you through life, definitely not world politics.

Posted by JT 05/08/2009 at 08:34 AM

Still, you do consider yourself a professional journalist, Godo (Brodo, Frodo, ...whatever...)?!

Posted by Tanja from Belgrade 05/08/2009 at 08:36 AM

Slivovitza is only made from plums, the quince one is actually called "dunja"...it's my favorite, too. Ah, the wonderful world of rakija...
It seems we're gonna have a great weekend, weather vise, i'm really looking forward to the semis and finals.

Posted by Master Ace 05/08/2009 at 08:44 AM

Tina,
Tennis.com sponsored Zurich last year.

Posted by tina 05/08/2009 at 08:58 AM

yes, ok, my friends - I used slivovica as a catch-all term for rakija. Oops. It did take me an hour to figure out what the dunja was from the picture on the bottle - and who on earth would know the english word for dunja? If any of you know the word in srpski for "rogac" - be sure to let me know. In engleski it is "carob" - but it's not the kind of thing one finds in my crappy rjecnik.
I'll buy you a dunjegaca tonight - sektor B1, red 1, srediste 9. next to Ivan Ivanovic from Kes Taxi.

Posted by Bibi 05/08/2009 at 09:07 AM

This article is written without a benefit of a research and based on predictability one shows when influenced by prejudice.
Would you really care if any other country was involved but Serbia?
Congratulations to Serbia Open. Thank you for more tennis, us, tennis lovers, enjoy so much.

Posted by Tanja from Belgrade 05/08/2009 at 09:09 AM

@Tina
We say ''rogač'' as well.
I've had a hard time explaining what dunja really was to a few of my foreign friends...it looks like an apple, but uglier...:))))

Posted by zolarafa 05/08/2009 at 09:48 AM

Nanette
Seles was born in Serbia from Hungarian Parents and played with Yugoslavian nationality and not Hungarian. This is from Wikipedia:

****
Monica Seles (Hungarian: Szeles Mónika, Serbian: Моника Селеш, Monika Seleš, pronounced [/sɛlɛʃ/], born December 2, 1973) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) to Hungarian parents and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994. According to published reports in Canadian and Hungarian news media (including two newspapers of record[1]), she also received Hungarian citizenship[2] [3] in June 2007.
**********
I remember watching her and she was always announced as a Yugoslavian player.

Posted by mathan kumar N 05/08/2009 at 09:49 AM

fantastic and nice to hear the news

Posted by Sher 05/08/2009 at 10:44 AM

>which includes Daniel Nestor - sort of. Let's remember that he was born in Belgrade.

I don't understand this incestant need to make out Nestor to be Serbian. He's Canadian!!!

:)

Posted by Danilo Stojicevic 05/08/2009 at 10:59 AM

Such articles appear when the author has made his belief much in advance, and then tries desperately to find arguments to prove his point.
Dear Mr. Bodo, do we notice a bit of jealousy when you say that Serbia had no tennis tradition? So What? Such a small country to have much better players then US and Great Britain? It it totally unacceptable, so let`s try to minimize it!
Just to remind you that Monika Seles, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Goran Ivanisevic, Zelko Franulovic, Nikola Pilic were born and played for Yougoslavia, where Serbia was the biggest part.
Instead, please measure the space attributed to US and GB players, and compare it with their Success in the tennis present world, as most of tennis fans do.

Posted by michael_o 05/08/2009 at 11:37 AM

"I don't understand this incessant need to make out Nestor to be Serbian. He's Canadian!!!"

Much like Greg Rusedski then.

Posted by beba 05/08/2009 at 11:40 AM

I think this article is simply malicious. Not that Djokovics are without fault, but it the point of the article seems not to be to discuss the tournament with its potential ups and downs, as they all have, rather it seems that the whole article is written with the purpose to take strides at any, and I mean - ANY - opportunity at the credibility of this tournament.
Take this: there is no roof, and when it rains, the play has to be suspended.
Seriously, how unprofessional! Not that it ever happens anywhere else before. Like, uh, Wimbledon, maybe? Oh, yeah, but the names behind that tournament are John, Mike and William.

Posted by beba 05/08/2009 at 11:45 AM

Also, how interesting it is to hear people talking of Nestor as Serbian. All this time and all those trophies, not once was it mentioned that he had anything to do with Serbia, and yet, it is mentioned only when it comes in so handy to make a point, the point that maybe this tournament is not quite, as John, Mike and William would make it. Because when they do, everything is just so perfect, we never have playing in unacceptable conditions, questionable line calls, surprising outcomes, and players in - oh so convenient for them - quarters.

Posted by md 05/08/2009 at 11:45 AM

Actually,beba,by the cover of the court,was not meant by the roof.It's just that,cover, on the court (clay)...And ,he's right.Seems like in the hurry,they 'forgot' it...

Posted by md 05/08/2009 at 11:47 AM

Good thing is.'The sun is shining,and the weather is hot...'Lool

Posted by twixx 05/08/2009 at 11:49 AM

danilo, serbia did not had tennis tradition at all until recently and that`s the fact, and that´s the case with all ex yu republics as well. all we had in yugoslavia was a very few individual prospects in this sport, without any substantial social interest or support for tennis, and that´s it. croatia stepped first to form some recognizable national brend of tennis, now it`s booming in serbia so we might have good tennis tradition in the future, but to say we had some national school of tennis - no, it would be overstatement.

Posted by beba 05/08/2009 at 11:57 AM

Monica Seles was Yugoslave, regardless of the origins, just like Obama is American and not Kenyan.
Then she decided to take American citizenship, which is another story.

Posted by Ranchers Tennis World 05/08/2009 at 12:36 PM

The article is what one gets when a cowboy turnes tennis expert. Bravudo Pedro.

Posted by helly 05/08/2009 at 12:43 PM

Interesting comment from Nanette

Since you're so much into sequencing the DNA how come Sampras is American for you and not greek? or Agassi is American but not iranian/armenian?? or Capriati is American but not italian?? And some others are in fact, Irish,Scottish,etc..
And for some strange reason you omitt saying that Ivanisevic is half serb. Fantastic.
No matter what , Seles is born in r.serbia, was trained by Gencic and she played under the YU flag until 1996. Shame to those who reduce tennis players to ethnicity.

Posted by rainman 05/08/2009 at 12:52 PM

could the mod explain to me why he removed my post? all i wrote were my thoughts on the article above. are we supposed to agree on everything bodo writes? maybe we are not permited to coment his article, but only on the given topic? it stinks a bit...

i would gladly explain why i wrote what i wrote but my spelling dosn`t allow me to do so. anyway, bad experience...

Posted by Cata 05/08/2009 at 01:13 PM

excellent article - funny, interesting and subtle.

Posted by JT 05/08/2009 at 01:31 PM

Or maybe you can write about your average Harry, Dick and Tom, who I'm sure - as you say it - can play tennis! And lot's other stuff too!

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/08/kentucky.iraq.soldier.rape/index.html

Posted by beba 05/08/2009 at 02:50 PM

md,

Whatever. I 'woulda thunk' that having no covers for the court is still negligable to, say, collapse of an entire seating complex that could have cost people their lives.

Let's recall how the author writes about that issue, and some others, without any ironical, subtle, under or above the cover, hinting of lack of professionalism:

Today's rubbers between Spain and Serbia, which were due to begin at the same hour in Benidorm (with David Ferrer due to play Novak Djokovic, followed by Rafael Nadal versus Janko Tipsarevic), have been postponed due to wind damage affecting the specially-constructed grandstands. That means that the tie won't be played until organizers are sure that the stands have been repaired so that no spectators are at risk - most likely beginning tomorrow. Pictures show that the top tier of seats has collapsed in various places around the stadium. No such problem in Malmo, where the spectatorless tie between Sweden and Israel is yet to begin.

I'm tempted to think that there's a jinx on the combination of Spain, tennis courts, and the environment. Apart from this weekend's events, I can also recall a worm infestation requiring the last-minute rebuilding of the specially constructed half-clay, half-grass court in Mallorca before the Federer-Nadal "Battle of the Surfaces" exhibition in 2007, and rain leaking through the roof of the Madrid Arena later in the same year, leading to a delay in play and reports of Manolo Santana climbing up to view the roof. I was, however, saved by bad weather once in Spain last year, when events outside my control kept me from arriving on time at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid for the third day of last year's Davis Cup semifinal, and heavy rain delayed the start for a good couple of hours.

Yeah, I guess Darko, Marko and Djoko are not popular names in Spain, either.

Posted by Danilo 05/08/2009 at 03:04 PM

Twixx,

thank you for your comment, I also support tennis development wherever it happens, and I find that is only important!
I just wonder if the article published by Mr.P.B. is on the same track? That`s all.

Posted by zolarafa 05/08/2009 at 03:41 PM

beba

***Yeah, I guess Darko, Marko and Djoko are not popular names in Spain, either.
***

how do you know? has any Spanish player said anything about these names or anything bad about Serbian players? Has any Spanish newspaper has written anything offensive about Darko, Marko or Djoko?

Nevertheless, this is irrilevent to the article here.

Although I don't agree with what Pete has written here, but your extreme response prompts me to say one thing:

Covers are different to the roof. They are needed to cover the ground in case of rain. otherwise they need to wait for the courts to dry up and won't be able to resume the matches after the rain has stopped. It is strange when a tournemanet forgets to have covers, but it is not a crime. The weather seems to be cooperating and hopefully they won't need it and they will get them for the next year.

Posted by Nadal, Djokovic,Murray Change! 05/08/2009 at 03:44 PM


serbiaopen.rs/livestream.html

Congrats to Djokovics for their commit to the game of tennis in Serbia! Wonderful event for 2009 and years to come. What can happen when one is committed. Thank you for your family's contribution to this wonderful game of tennis in this part of the world and thank you Novak for all that you bring to the game. It's a pleasure to share your success!


Posted by beba 05/08/2009 at 04:33 PM

zolorafa,
You misunderstood me. I am not accusing anyone Spanish of anything, I am just noticing a different stance to organizational issues on the Serbian and on the Spanish part.

Posted by Bata 05/08/2009 at 04:52 PM

Wikipedia on Nestor:

Daniel Mark Nestor (born on September 4, 1972 in Belgrade, Serbia as Danijel Nestorović; Данијел Несторовић)... his Serbian parents moved to Canada short of his 4th birthday in 1976 and settled in Toronto where he attended Earl Haig Secondary School as a member of the gifted athletes' program.
In July 2005 Nestor married Natasha Gavrilovic, his girlfriend for two years. They welcomed their first daughter, Tiana Alexis, on December 15, 2008.

So, his parents are Serbian, his wife is Serbian, his daughter has Serbian first name, therefore he is also a little bit a Serbian

Posted by zolarafa 05/08/2009 at 05:57 PM

beba,
I understand your frustration. But to me forgetting to purchase covers for the court is a bit different to damages due to a storm.

You have valid points already. Don't need to point fingers to Spain to prove them.

Posted by twixx 05/08/2009 at 06:50 PM

cata @ 1:13 pm

couldn`t agree more.

Posted by NFS 05/08/2009 at 06:54 PM

to :
noleisthebest 05/08/2009 @ 7:21 AM
- exactly!
I agree with you 100%

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Wild Women of the U.S. Open
Wild Men of the U.S. Open
Roddick's Imperfect World
"It's Kind of a Dance"
Nadal's Kneeds
The Racquet Scientist: Canadian Tennis
The Long and Short of It
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