With an area of ​​88,500 square kilometers, Serbia is the 111th largest country in the world. Its size may not be enormous, but it is a nation that has produced world-class tennis players for years. No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the clear example. Following his retirement, so are former No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic and No. 12 Viktor Troicki, featured in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Hamad Medjedovic, 20 years old and ready to compete in the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM in Jeddah next week, works with the aim of following in his footsteps.

“Having so many great players in our country had a big impact on my development,” Medjedovic told ATPTour.com when assessing his influences. “I remember starting to watch tennis when I was a kid. We had Novak [Djokovic]Viktor [Troicki] y Janko [Tipsarevic] and they were really good.”

“I remember seeing them constantly. It motivated me a lot as a child to start playing tennis and try to become one of them. I saw what they had been able to do coming from a small country. It filled me with motivation and self-confidence to try it.”

Djokovic captured a historic seventh crown at the Nitto ATP Finals this Sunday to claim his 71st ‘Big Title’, a combination of Grand Slam trophies, Nitto ATP Finals cups, ATP Masters 1000 tournaments and individual Olympic gold medals.

At the top of the sport for more than 15 years, Novak has served as a constant inspiration and support to Medjedovic, who vividly remembers the first time he met the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

“I remember meeting him when I was 10, it was my birthday,” Medjedovic said. “He was in Belgrade and the former Davis Cup captain [Bogdan Obradovic] He was working at his academy. I trained there and he took me to the Novak Centre. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I remember Novak came and we met for the first time.”

“It was the first time I saw him in person and we were able to talk. We only said a few things to each other, but at that moment it was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I had seen him so many times on television and, suddenly, I had “I was lucky to be able to talk to him. It was a great opportunity.”

Since then, Medjedovic has risen strongly in the Serbian rankings, often training with his compatriots. Hamad is grateful for the constant support he has received and recognizes that his successes have served as a deep source of inspiration.

“I’ve known them for a couple of years. Even when I hadn’t made it to the Tour, when I was playing juniors. I was a good junior, so I trained a lot with Dusan [Lajovic]Laszlo [Djere]Filip [Krajinovic]Miomir [Kecmanovic] and Nole,” Medjedovic said. “I talked to them in the sessions and they gave me a lot of advice on how to improve. “When you have guys like that around you, guiding you in your career, it has a big impact.”

“It motivates me and I see it from a positive perspective. I hear a lot of praise and some of the kids say that I am the future of our tennis. That gives me motivation and the desire to continue improving.”

Medjedovic has continued to harness the strength of this Serbian environment, joining forces with Viktor Troicki – three-time ATP Tour champion – at the start of the season. Troicki has helped Medjedovic rise to No. 102 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, winning three ATP Challenger Tour titles and reaching the semi-finals of Gstaad and Astana.

“Viktor was working at the Novak Centre. He was the head coach there and supervised me,” Medjedovic said of the relationship between the two. “He was a mentor and, at the beginning of the 2023 season, he became my full-time coach. He gives me great advice and helps me every day.”

“The season together has been good. The first few months we suffered a little, it took us time to show the work we did during the preseason. After a few weeks, everything fell into place. I played well at Indian in February, I made my first semi-finals after a long time and things were getting better. I also reached the semi-finals in Gstaad. Beating two Top 100 players was something big for me.”

The Serbian will try to close the season strong at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah, where he will compete alongside Arthur Fils, Dominic Stricker, Luca van Assche, Flavio Cobolli, Alex Michelsen, Luca Nardi and Abdullah Shelbayh.

Medjedovic is excited to participate in a tournament that crowned Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In addition, he gave fans good clues about what they can expect from him on the fields of Saudi Arabia.

“Knowing that you are in the World Top 8 of tennis players under 22 years old is something huge. Any player who has played in this tournament has become a good tennis player,” Medjedovic said.

“I am quite aggressive on the court, I like to dictate the points. I consider myself a good server. I shouldn’t say too many good things about myself, but I would say that I have a good serve and a good forehand. My playing style is aggressive on track”.

Source: https://www.atptour.com/es/news/medjedovic-taking-the-baton-november-2023

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