World No. 2 Novak Djokovic was on the receiving end of a huge round of applause as he attended a basketball game between Crvena Zvezda and Valencia in Belgrade, Serbia.
The 35-year-old is currently preparing himself for the clay-court season, which he will kick off with the Monte-Carlo Masters commencing on April 9 in Monaco. The Serbian earlier withdrew from the Sunshine Double after his special request for entry to the United States was denied due to his unvaccinated status.
A few days ago, the 22-time Grand Slam winner hit the nets on a clay court in Belgrade in his quest to win his third Monte-Carlo Masters title, his first since 2015. Amidst his preparations for the clay court swing, the Serbian tennis icon attended a basketball game in Belgrade.
In many short videos that went viral on social media, the former World No. 1 was greeted with rousing applause from the audience as he stood to wave to everyone and gestured “thank you,” with a smile on his face.
Djokovic also attended Zvezda’s match against FC Barcelona in 2021. Zvezda are currently placed 13th in the Euroleague, a European professional basketball club competition.
“It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to play in Indian Wells, Miami” – Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is no stranger to missing tournaments due to his unvaccinated status. The Serb arguably had the worst start to a season in 2022 when he was deported back from Australia despite being initially granted entry. He was also slapped with a three-year ban.
Later that year, he missed out on the second Grand Slam of the season at the US Open, where he withdrew before the commencement of the Major.
This year, Djokovic was allowed to take part in the Australian Open and he showed the fans what they missed out on in 2022. The former World No. 1 won the 10th Australian Open title of his career. Due to his unvaccinated status, the Serb was forced to pull out of the Sunshine Double.
During an interview, the veteran said that he had no regrets but added that it was a pity that he was barred from playing in those tournaments.
“No, I have no regrets,” Djokovic said in an interview with CNN. “I’ve learned through life that regrets only hold you back and basically make you live in the past and I don’t want to do that.”
“It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to play in Indian Wells, Miami. I love those tournaments. I had plenty of success there,” he added.
In the interview, Djokovic also congratulated Carlos Alcaraz for reclaiming the No. 1 spot in the ATP singles rankings.