How Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic tried to sneak into Adelaide International as a teenager
Revealed: How Novak Djokovic tried to sneak into a major Australian tournament as a teenager – even telling organizers ‘I’ll be world No. 1 one day’
- Mark Woodforde recalled the time a teenager Novak Djokovic approached him
- Woodforde, who organized the Adelaide Open, denied Djokovic a wildcard
- Young Djokovic told Woodforde that one day he will be the best player in the world
Australian tennis legend Mark Woodforde has aired a time a teenager Novak Djokovic tried to sneak into Adelaide International, with the Serbian star insisting he will one day be world number one.
Woodforde, a former 17-time Grand Slam champion, commented on the event on Monday as he recalled the time Djokovic came into his office and asked for a wildcard entry before qualifying began.
At the time, Woodforde had recently retired from tennis and had become co-tournament director of the Adelaide International alongside Peter Johnston.
Mark Woodforde has aired a time when a teenager Novak Djokovic (pictured in 2005) tried to sneak into the Adelaide International, with the Serbian star insisting he will one day be world number one
Mark Woodforde (pictured with fellow Australian tennis star Nicole Bradtke), a former 17-time Grand Slam doubles champion, commented on Monday’s event as he recalled Djokovic coming into his office before qualifying began and around a wildcard bat entry
‘He [Djokovich] Introducing himself to both Peter Johnston and myself, he said: “I am delighted to be here in Adelaide and I was hoping you would give me a wildcard,” Woodforde said.
“Peter and I just looked at each other, we had already awarded our wildcards in the main field. Novak said, “Because one day I’ll be world No. 1 and I think that would help me get a start,” and we just smiled and said, “Unfortunately, we don’t have space.”
Djokovic celebrates winning the Australian Open in 2021
“Dejan, who I’ve known for a number of years, just said, ‘He really thinks he’s going to be number 1’ and we just had to apologize and say we had to reserve some of the wildcards for the Australians back then.
“I said, ‘We’re going to try to at least get you to qualify,’ and he said, ‘But I want to be in the peloton because I’m going to be world No. 1’.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t even get him to qualify this year but that’s the belief Novak Djokovic had at a very early age that he was going to achieve great things.”
Djokovic (pictured at the 2021 Australian Open) meant what he said and returned to Adelaide in 2007 aged 19, where he clinched the title – beating top-ranked Australian Chris Guccione in the process
Djokovic meant what he said and returned to Adelaide in 2007 at the age of 19, where he clinched the title: beating the hard-hitting Australian Chris Guccione.
The Serb is now a 91-time singles champion as a professional and won the first of his nine Australian Open singles titles the following year.
He had hoped to hit double figures in 2022 but was expelled from Australia for his vaccination status and subsequently received a three-year ban from the country – which has since been lifted.
Djokovic (pictured with wife Jelena) kicks off his Adelaide Open solo campaign on Tuesday and looks forward to more successes
Djokovic starts his Adelaide Open singles campaign on Tuesday and looks forward to more successes.
“The good memories and good history that I have on Australian soil gives me a lot of positive emotions and the belief that I can do it again, that I can go far,” he told media.
“It’s a country where I’ve had tremendous success in my career, particularly in Melbourne, which is by far my most successful Grand Slam, having won it nine times.”
“Like I said, it’s a great place. The people of Adelaide and Australia in general love tennis, love sports. It’s a sporting nation. Hopefully a lot of people will watch and we can have a good time.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-11593167/How-Australian-Open-champ-Novak-Djokovic-tried-sneak-way-Adelaide-International-teen.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 How Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic tried to sneak into Adelaide International as a teenager