Novak Djokovic-Nikola Jokic relationship, explained: How the Serbian tennis, NBA stars have built friendship
Novak Djokovic-Nikola Jokic relationship, explained: How the Serbian tennis, NBA stars have built friendship
Novak Djokovic-Nikola Jokic relationship, explained

Serbia has reason to celebrate two of its most renowned sporting exports: Nikola Jokic and Novak Djokovic.

The pair both won the ultimate titles in their leagues: Djokovic both his third French Open and 23rd grand slam championship, while Jokic secured very first NBA ring with the Nuggets.

From one G.O.A.T. to another, Djokovic recently revealed he's actually a huge fan of the Nuggets star.

Serbian legend and tennis GOAT, Novak Djokovic, discusses his admiration for Nikola Jokic.

"He's the pride of serbia, we're so proud of him. We hope he can win his first ring"#MileHighBasketball

— n i k o l a e s t h e t i c (@nikolaesthetic) May 29, 2023

"I don't think anyone can do what he's doing at the moment," Djokovic said recently. "He's definitely the best basketball player in the world and I cheer for him greatly. He's an amazing guy, the pride of Serbia and we're so proud of him."

MORE: What NBA championship means for Nikola Jokic's legacy

Around the same time, Jokic was quoted praising Djokovic as a Serbian hero and "ambassador."

"He's the guy who represents Serbia in a much bigger scene. He's the Serbian ambassador," the basketball player said. "He's the idol to the kids in Serbia not just for the things on the court but [also] for the things his foundation is doing. …

"I want to be like him. He's doing something great for kids, for Serbia, for everything. We cannot be compared."

The pair, both nicknamed "the Joker," shared sentiments with each other as the NBA finals unrolled, Djokovic loudly cheering on his fellow Serbian from afar.

Here's what you need to know about their relationship, including where they're from and the contact they've made:

Novak Djokovic-Nikola Jokic relationship

Djokovic and Jokic were both born in what was then Yugoslavia, before the country split amid political turmoil. Djokovic is from Belgrade, while Jokic is from Sombor.

They both got into sports young, and were catapulted into the spotlight in their young adult years — Djokovic was 16 when he turned pro in 2003, and Jokic was 18 when he was drafted by the Nuggets in 2012.

Djokovic told FanDuel that he had gotten Jokic's phone number in late May and planned to reach out to him.

Jokic went to check for a notification of congratulations after the Game 5 victory, during the postgame interviews, dropping the F-bomb over the amount of buzz his phone was receiving.

Nikola Jokic checked his phone to see if Novak Djokovic texted him congratulations...

Then became overwhelmed by the number of notifications on his phone 😂

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 13, 2023

MORE: Highlights of Nikola Jokic's NBA championship celebration

The pair have met before. Djokovic, an avid basketball fan, sported Jokic's jersey to his 2021 French Open semifinal match in Paris after Jokic won his first NBA MVP award that season.

That jersey looks good on you, @DjokerNole!

Good luck in the semis today!

— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 11, 2021

Joker is MVP 😤 Congratulations Nikola, volim te brate. All the best in playoffs @nuggets @NBA

— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) June 10, 2021

They also attended a basketball camp in Belgrade together in the summer of 2020, according to Insider.

Both now sit at the pinnacle of their respective sports, and while each has plenty of admirers in his own right, the mutual admiration obviously is strong as well. 

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