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“It was a pleasure and honour to meet them” – Djokovic on his kids meeting Messi and Neymar

Djokovic and his kids attended a PSG match in Paris over the weekend, meeting Lionel Messi and Neymar along the way

Djokovic, Parc des Princes, 2023 Djokovic at Parc des Princes 2023 | © JOHN SPENCER/SIPA

Following his fourth round win over Juan Pablo Varillas at Roland-Garros, Djokovic spoke about how having his kids in Paris over the weekend has helped to centre the long-time world No. 1 and help his find peace while remains away from his native Serbia.

Over the weekend, the 22-time Grand Slam champion and his children attended a PSG match as Parc des Princes, with the Paris-based team playing Clermont.

In a team full of glittering stars, it was a golden opportunity for his kids to meet the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar, both of whom play for PSG.

“It was my first time meeting them in person – they are great champions, it was a pleasure and an honour to
meet them, especially Messi, a player who left an extraordinary mark in the history of football“.

Djokovic went on to explain that, although the meeting was brief, he understands how little time athletes have before a match and did not want to keep them too long.

Djokovic finds serenity at Roland-Garros with kids’ visit to Paris

My kids’ presence gives me balance, takes my mind off tennis. I am grateful they came.

Novak Djokovic

“They did win the title already, but the expectations are always huge from stars like them. That’s why I didn’t want to disturb them and to enter their space while they were preparing, but they saw me on their way to the locker room (before the game) and they came to say ’hi’. It was my first time meeting them in person – they are great champions.”

Djokovic’s daughter Tara was desperate to meet Neymar in particular, as the current world No. 3 explained.

“Neymar signed Tara’s jersey, but it’s an interesting story. She doesn’t follow sports much, but she has a school friend who is half Brazilian-half Serbian – that girl dances all the time to this song about Neymar. That’s why she wanted to meet him badly.”

Stefan and Tara were in Paris over the weekend for a visit, but they went to Belgrade since the school year
is not over yet, but Djokovic is already looking forward to having them in town again.

“They bring me positive energy, peace and serenity. Most important things. I am the type of
person that easily gets excited. My kids’ presence gives me balance, takes my mind off tennis. I am grateful they came.”

Should Djokovic makes it to the final of this year’s tournament, the plan is for Stefan and Tara to come to Paris again to support their father.

“Today, Stefan wanted to be with me through the whole routine, to see how it feels – warm up,
gym, practice, this board game we always play, lunch… He was there the whole time. They are
my angels and they help me a lot to be better on the court and off the court.”

The two-time Roland-Garros champion is due to play Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals next. A possible meeting with Carlos Alcaraz may await in the semi-final in what would be the most highly-anticipated match of the season.

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