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“Pride of Serbia”: Novak Djokovic Pays Fellow Serbian Nikola Jokic the Ultimate Compliment
- Novak Djokovic has praised his fellow Serbian compatriot, Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic
- The tennis legend was responding to Jokic, who called the 22-time Grand Slam champion the "Serbian ambassador"
- Jokic is looking to win his first NBA title, while Djokovic could become the outright leader in all-time Grand Slams
Tennis legend Novak Djokovic has showered his compatriot, NBA superstar Nikola Jokic, with praise after his first-round victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic at the 2023 French Open.
The 22-time Gran Slam champion called the Denver Nuggets center the best player in the world and the pride of Serbia as he prepares for his first-ever NBA Finals.
Jokic has been arguably the best player in the NBA in the last few seasons. He won the MVP award in 2021 and 2022 and narrowly missed winning three in a row this year after losing to Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
He led the Nuggets to their first-ever NBA Finals trip after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. Furthermore, he's on a historic run in the postseason this year, breaking records that stood for decades.
During a press conference after the Nuggets swept the Lakers, Jokic was asked if he's been in touch with Djokovic. He said he doesn't have his number yet.
"He's the guy who represents Serbia in a much bigger scene. He's the Serbian ambassador. He's the idol to the kids in Serbia not just for the things on the court but [also] for the things his foundation is doing," Jokic said. "I want to be like him. He's doing something great for kids, for Serbia, for everything. We cannot be compared," via Basket News.
What did Djokovic say?
Speaking after breezing past Kovacevic 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-1) in the French Open, Djokovic said he's got Jokic's number. He heaped praise on the big man.
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"I don't think anyone can do what he's doing at the moment in basketball. He's definitely the best basketball player in the world," the tennis star continued. "I cheer for him greatly, he's an amazing guy, he's the pride of Serbia, we're so proud of him, we hope he can win his first ring."
Djokovic is looking for a record-breaking 23rd men's Grand Slam singles title. He is the second player in the Open Era to win 65 consecutive first-round matches at Grand Slam events (between Roland Garros 2006 and 2023), equalling Roger Federer (between Wimbledon 2003 and 2021), per Sky Sports.
Jokic has a chance to put Serbia on the map when the Nuggets play the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, which start on June 1.
Jokic makes playoff history
Sports Brief earlier reported on Jokic breaking Wilt Chamberlain's triple-double record.
The Serbian now has eight triple-doubles this postseason, breaking the record for the most triple-doubles in a playoff run, which was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1967.
Jokic is looking to cap off his phenomenal run in the postseason with his first-ever ring.