A Postmodern Hero
He is not just a sports leader of an era, a tennis record holder in terms of trophies won, now unrivaled, but also a messenger of a better time and, hopefully, a more humane society in which profit will not be the axiom of life and an excuse for everything

By: Mišo Vujović
Photo: NR Pres

In the pages of the National Review ”Serbia” we stand with Novak Đoković from the beginning, from its founding. He is the only living Serb who has graced the cover of our representative magazine twice, so we will host him in this jubilee issue, just as he and his family hosted us in New York, during and after his triumph at the US Open.
Comparing Novak Đoković to anyone is a challenging task. He is an entirely original and unique personality in which ethnic, intellectual, mental, physical, and cultural aspects are seamlessly integrated to perfection. A rare blend of tradition and modernity, thoughtful and principled, refined yet simple, a fusion of unwavering determination and consistency...
At barely thirty years old, Novak Đoković has become a reference point, both as an exemplary individual and as a top-tier athlete, promoting traditional, ethical-humanistic, and family values. Alongside Patriarch Pavle, who unified the Serbian people in his lifetime and was respected by other ethnic communities, Novak Đoković is the only Serbian figure around whom there is collective agreement in our divided society! He has earned exceptional respect in a traditionally antagonized environment, such as our region, but also a significant part of the West that is stuck in the jaws of megalomania, consumer greed, and various trends of distortion.
In this young man, an athlete, besides his energy, fighting spirit, and intellect, there is a verticality of wisdom, philanthropy, courage, and open-mindedness, which places him in a timeless framework.
He learned from the best, relying on the strength of his spirit and skills carved in matches against competitors who held records in tennis that seemed unattainable at the time, but not for him.
The trophies he won not only shine in his chambers but in the majority of Serbian homes worldwide. Some call him the Beacon, while others call him the Avenger! He is both.
A reference point for all free citizens of the world.
His greatness has risen above and beyond the tennis court with his defiant stance against untested vaccines and the global project of bioengineering. With his courageous stance, Nole has saved millions of lives. As he has done many times, he delighted us with a triumph at the US Open, but this time, we witnessed the finals and the celebration at the prestigious New York restaurant ”Cipriani.”


An immense column of people flows toward the tennis complex on the outskirts of New York where the US Open, one of the four most prestigious tournaments in this elite sport, is held every year. For almost a decade, Novak Đoković, a Serb, has dominantly ruled this sport, a man for whom it is difficult to determine whether he captivates more with his superior competitiveness and casual confidence on the court or his modest courtesy in private life.
It cannot be said that Novak Đoković is the darling of the crowd in London, Melbourne, Paris, or New York, but it is evident that the public holds great respect for him. This Belgradian, with both fiery and gentlemanly manners, doesn’t leave people indifferent with his gestures and behavior, just like most figures with significant or grandiose accomplishments.
As they searched our backpack and divided the contents into two smaller bags, a group of young men sang, ”From New York to Topola, everyone loves you, brother Nole.”
It is noticeable in the crowded stands that the audience isn’t genuinely cheering for Medvedev, but rather they are fervently against Novak. Someone on social media posted recently:
”Novak performed a miracle! He made Americans cheer for the Russians.”
At every level of the stands, there are counters with food and drinks: ”Many people come to the stadium for fast food and beer, which is most pronounced in American football and rugby. Thousands of hectoliters of beer are consumed, and wagons of food are eaten during one game,” a young man from Knjaževac, wearing the uniform of the ”American Express” company, tells me.
The organizers at the stadium prohibited the display of national symbols, especially the flags of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia. The Russian flag was missing due to sanctions. If, by any chance, Medvedev had won, under whose flag would he have received the trophy? The question is whether Novak Đoković would have accepted to play without the flag of his country. And that is the dimension that sets Đoković apart from the rest.
Despite the ban and the vigilance of the order guards, we unfurled the Serbian tricolor on two occasions.
The US Open was established in 1881 when the Serbian Journalists’ Society was founded in Serbia. In 1987, the same year Novak Đoković was born, this competition became one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. So, the US Open in this format and Novak Đoković are peers.


A figure is born, a winner is made, a craft is learned, God gives wisdom, the will shapes, and experience upgrades. Combining all of this in one person is not easy. And that is precisely what has created a unique masterpiece of today.
Srđan Đoković, with the help of God and belief in his mission, has achieved it.
Why do I repeat this? I repeat it as an example of family unity, unwavering faith, and love. The harmony of a successful family deeply rooted in Serbian tradition filled the prestigious New York restaurant ”Cipriani” with hospitable warmth, where a dinner was held to celebrate Novak’s 24th major trophy.
It was an unforgettable night. I could not have received a more beautiful birthday gift than this victory of Novak’s, another record, and the celebratory finish at ”Cipriani.” We were personally welcomed by the owner of this prestigious restaurant, and Novak, with his emotional speech, brought tears to our eyes. His wife, Jelena, modest and gracious, did not hide her satisfaction. Their son, Stefan, curiously flipped through the publication of columns titled The Winner.
Srđan and Dijana, as always on such occasions, took care of the atmosphere and looked after each guest individually. Uncle Goran, whose contribution to the champion’s success is immeasurable, was also present.
An esteemed businessman from Belgrade, playfully inspired, at some point, asks the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio: ”Excuse me, what do you do for a living?” Laughter ensues.
A famous restaurant owner from Chicago, Branko Palikuća, recalls his first encounters with Srđan and Novak.
”Only unbreakable will and immeasurable love can achieve this”, says this sturdy man from Užice.
The day had plunged deep into the night, and the dawn was approaching, filled with joy over another triumph of Novak. From Srđan’s speaker, whom he never parted with, the melancholic sounds of Toma Zdravković’s bohemian soul could be heard.
We leave carrying with us the energy of victory and resilience, aware that Novak Đoković is not just a leader in the tennis era, a record-holder in the number of trophies won, now unsurpassed, but also a messenger of a better time and, hopefully, a more humane society in which profit will not be the axiom of life.


The Emperor
If someone were to seriously work on the image of our country, it should be written at all entrances to Serbia: ”Welcome to the land of tennis emperor Novak Đoković!”

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