Novak Djokovic is playing in his 22nd straight Grand Slam quarterfinals.
“I love this sport, I play with a lot of passion. … I have a great team around me, encouraging me. That drives me,” he told CBS.
On September 3, he faces Andy Murray in primetime at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Djokovic won the Open in 2011, and may be adding this year as another victory.
Here’s what you need to know about the star athlete’s life on and off the court.
1. He Just Won Wimbledon
Djokovic beat Roger Federer in a five-set classic in July to win Wimbledon. He then mentioned his family in the post-match interview shown above.
“If you have time, I would like to dedicate this to my future wife and our future baby,” he gushed.
Jelena was six months pregnant with their first child at the time.
2. He Met His Wife in High School
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) July 22, 2014
The couple met in 2005 in high school in Belgrade.
They got engaged in September of 2013, which was soon after Djokovic won the runner-up title at the US Open.
His new wife is not at the Open this year, and in an interview with Yahoo Sports he said, “My wife is not here. I haven’t seen her for a while. I just see stomach is growing on Skype and Facetime, but I want to spend some time with her.”
3. He Started a Charity Foundation
Djokovic started the Novak Djokovic Foundation in 2007. At the time of its inception, it was called the Novak Fund.
On the organization’s website, its mission is stated as working to:
Enable children from disadvantaged communities to grow up, play and develop in stimulating, creative and safe settings, whilst learning to respect others and care for their environment.
Early childhood education gives a child a chance to return strongly to any challenge and become a winner in any field.
4. He Grew Up Poor in War-Torn Serbia
Djokovic feels that his beginnings in the sport was serendipitous because his parents were not tennis players. “It was like a destiny to me, to be honest,” he said in the interview with David Letterman above.
The athlete grew up in Serbia at a time of political conflict and war. He admitted that he and his family were worried about their survival and were in physical danger at one time.
“I appreciate things in life and I value everything I have much more because of the past that I had. We [Serbia] had a tough past, especially in the last three decades. We had two wars, we had sanctions embargo for 10 years. People had to wait in a line for bread and milk. It was tough,” he said.
The conflicts in his country affected his ability to pursue tennis.
“There were times I was not able to travel for the tournaments in junior curcuit because we didn’t have the financial possibilities,” he told Letterman.
5. He Does Impersonations of Fellow Players
The seemingly serious player definitely has a humorous side.
In the clip below, we see him lightheartedly poking fun at tennis legend John McEnroe. McEnroe walks onto the court afterwards and the two hit some balls.