Serbia: Djokovic returns to regal welcome after Wimbledon Victory

by OCP on July 4, 2011

in Featured News, News

4/7/2011

Belgrade, 4 July (AKI) – Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic will return to Belgrade late on Monday to a “royal” welcome after his dazzing win against defending champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s Wimbledon final and replacing him as the world’s top tennis player.

Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas said Djokovic’s native city will organise a huge welcome party for him in the main city square, which has become traditional Serbian sportsmen returning home after winning important international events.

But a record crowd was expected on Monday to celebrate what is perceived as Serbia’s greatest sports achievement ever. Belgraders and people around Serbia late on Sunday celebrated Djokovic’s 3-1 victory over Nadal with fireworks, gunshots, dancing in the streets and motorcades driving around and blowing horns.

Djokovic received telegrams of congratulations from all of the country’s leaders, including prime minister Mirko Cvetkovic and – in a rare public gesture – from the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Church said it hoped Djokovic would continue to score victories and work diligently “for the good of mother church and the motherland”.

Djokovic, 24, has become known for making an Orthodox sign of cross in crucial moments of his games.

President Boris Tadic attended the Wimbledon finals in London with foreign minister Vuk Jeremic and Tadic told media he “almost died” watching the final match against Nadal.

“I don’t know how to thank Novak for all he has done for Serbia and our people,” Tadic said. “I would immediately cede the post of president to Djokovic, but certainly not to anyone lesser than Novak,” he added.

His remarks provoked almost 600 comments, mostly negative, on the website of the daily Blic newspaper. “Too bad you didn’t die,” one commentator said.

Others criticized Tadic, whose popularity is on the downslide, for trying to seek political capital from Djokovic’s success, having failed to deliver on almost all of his election promises.
Many asked at whose expense Tadic travelled to London and what business he had there, except to promote himself.

Daily Press said in a commentary politicians should try to copy Djokovic’s achievements, instead of trying to decorate themselves with his glory.

Despite boosting the morale of many Serbs, Djokovic’s indisputable success will not help the country’s close to one million unemployed or alter the western press’s negative view of Serbia, the paper added.

The daily noted that politicians watching Djokovic at Wimbledon than more that ordinary people earn in one month.

“We must urgently look for similar Djokovics in politics, economy, health and the judiciary system so he won’t be alone at home anymore,” the commentary concluded.

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