The fifth MeetNoleFam interview is taking us back to Europe, where we will meet a group of Swedish fans led by Danijel, also known as Danko among friends. He’s been Novak’s fan since he was 15, and now at 25 he is the leader of one of the most active fan clubs in the world. In our latest MeetNoleFam interview, we bring you a story about Danko’s path from being a fan to becoming the leader of the club, and about motivation, challenges, advice…
Nole Sweden Fans Questions
1. NoleSwedenFans Club has been active since 2012. Can you share with us what inspired you to found and lead one of the most active Nole’s fan clubs in the world? How old were you when you launched it?
I saw Novak on television for the first time in 2007. I was 15 then. He’s been my idol and inspiration ever since. It was during the US hard court swing, and since then I hardly ever missed a match of his, until last year when I started having more responsibilities at college and at work. I remember very well the finals of the US Open 2007 against Federer, and the Australian Open final in 2008 against Tsonga. Though I was already following his matches in those years, I founded the fan club later, in 2012. I don’t know why I waited so long, I probably did not get the idea before and I did not use Twitter at the time. In 2012, I was 20. Novak has done so much for Serbia and for the Serbian people, and we will always be grateful for that. He has the best game I have ever seen, and when he dominates, no one has chance against him. I knew from the beginning that he would become the best player in the world. He also has a fantastic personality. Wherever he travels, he represents Serbia and the Serbian people in the best possible way.
2. There must have been some impressive moments during these 5 years of managing the club. Would you like to share the best one with us?
It’s hard to pick just one moment. One of the greatest impressions is that during these years, I met fantastic people on Twitter from all over the world. Nolefam is one large family, we’re all friends. It’s nice to see that we come from different countries and cultures. We can learn about other cultures and improve our knowledge of languages. I made friends with fans from Serbia, Republic of Srpska, Philippines, Great Britain, America, Argentina, etc., we speak about tennis in Serbian, English and Spanish.
In Monte Carlo 2013, I met Novak for the first time and I watched his matches live. It was an incredible experience for me after all those years of watching his matches on TV screen. I met Jelena in Monte Carlo as well. On several occasions she noticed my tweets about Novak, as well as Novak himself. I also attended the 2013 Davis Cup final in Belgrade against the Czech Republic. All these things made a strong impression on me and gave me the motivation to continue my work with the fan club.
3. From the previous e-interviews we could see that managing a Fan Club is a demanding job. In 3 out of 4 clubs that we’ve interviewed so far, social network accounts are managed by several people. Is anyone helping you? If so, what are their names, how old are they and what is their occupation?
I agree with them, it’s very demanding. In the past few years, my focus has been on supporting Nole, providing information about his next matches and statistics (records). Nobody helped me. Due to other obligations in my private life, at college and at work, I haven’t been so active in the last couple of years with news about Novak, but I am active all the time regarding support, updating records and statistics. I’ve received good and positive comments from Nolefam and I think they like what I share with them.
4. In addition to the Twitter account, the Nole Sweden Fans Club also has a YouTube channel with videos of Nole’s matches. Do you travel and attend the matches or other fans send you those videos?
Yes, I also launched a Youtube channel to upload videos from Nole’s matches, which I watched live. As I already mentioned, I attended the 2013 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters and Davis Cup final in Belgrade. From those matches and training sessions I’ve been to, I uploaded short videos and shared them with Nolefam. Adding videos from other fans is a great idea, I did not think about it before.
5. What does a normal day look like in the Club, and how it differs from a day when Novak plays a match?
I check Twitter, news on the internet, etc., and if there’s anything to share with Nolefam, I do it. If Nole achieves a new a record, I tweet about it. I am interested in the history of tennis, and I like to follow records, statistics … and I am proud of Novak when he makes records. There are so many of them now. Each Monday I share ranking facts with other fans, how many weeks he spent at no.1, no.2, no.3, how many weeks in a row, etc. On a match day, it’s almost the same, except that I put H2H, order of play in CET… After the match, I publish the final result and maybe some record.
Novak and questions about tennis
6. What is your first memory of Nole and what made you decide to support him?
I heard about Novak in 2007. I’ve been following his matches ever since. The reason is simple: because of his incredible game and talent, because of his character, and because of everything he’s done and is still doing for Serbian people. Rivalry with Federer, Nadal and Maria was very interesting to watch, it made cheering for Nole even more interesting. I’m happy to have experienced that amazing era and so many incredible matches. It was a beautiful feeling when Novak began to dominate the aforementioned trio of outstanding tennis players. The level of Novak’s game since 2011 was unbelievable, I’ve never seen anyone so dominant against his biggest rivals. He made us all proud of his achievements on and off the court. He’s always been gracious in defeat and this gives the answer to your question, it’s what made me become his supporter. He’s been my great inspiration since I was 15. He achieved everything he was going for, although he did not have good conditions at the beginning. His family always supported him and believed he could become the best player in the world. Novak is now one of the best tennis players in the history of the sport and has much more to give after he returns to the competition after injury. To hold all four major crowns at the same time is an impressive accomplishment. I wish him a quick recovery and good luck in the future, in tennis and in private life, with his family and his foundation ☺
7. Which is your favourite match Novak has played in?
It’s difficult to pick just one match. Wimbledon finals against Federer (2014 and 2015) are among my favorite due to superb tennis quality and their great rivalry. Being Novak’s fan, it felt great to watch those great victories over Roger. Also, the 2012 Australian Open final against Nadal was brilliant. It was hard to watch it for almost 6 hours. It was a great fight, close match, it must have been so difficult to play for so long on such a high level. The 2015 US Open final against Federer is one of the matches I will never forget. Novak showed his amazing mental strength that day, and he defeated Federer though the Swiss ace had the support of the majority of tennis fans in the stadium.
8. And which is your favourite trophy Nole won?
It’s the Roland Garros trophy. Novak put so much effort in the French Open crown quest during his career. He really deserved that trophy. Of course, all trophies are important. His first Wimbledon trophy is also among my favorite, I remember it like it was yesterday.
9. What do you like the most about Nole (his character, his temper, the values he stands for, anything concerning his look maybe)?
Novak is a fantastic person. Everything he does on the tennis court or off the court, he does it from heart for the sport and for people. He is devoted to what he does, and we all like it very much. Whether it’s tennis, studies, a job or something else, it is important to be dedicated, to do your best and never stop believing. Novak has been helping children around the world and especially in Serbia, and that is so nice. He has a big heart, and people like to hear and read about it. And of course, I like his game style. Novak’s level of tennis is incredible.
10. Do you have any cheering ritual(s)?
It is the same for all matches when Serbian teams or athletes play, we gather to watch them and cheer them. I watched almost every final that Novak played with my family and friends. It brings us together and it’s always interesting to celebrate some sports success together. When I watch matches alone, I don’t have any special ritual.
11. What is your favorite photo of Nole and why?
It was taken after the 2011 Wimbledon semi-final, when Novak secured his climb to no.1 spot for the first time.
12. What is your most precious Nole moment from on- and off-court… The one you cherish the most?
My favorite Nole moment … Hmm, I would say it was Novak’s socializing with fans via Nole4You Q&A. It was interesting to watch the LIVE interaction and there were many funny moments. Novak responded to one of my questions in a video because it was among the top 10 after voting by fans. I heard in our media that Novak had a private jet and traveled to tournaments by it, and my question was related to that. It seemed funny to him, and he explained that it was not true, that the media must have got it wrong. That may be my favorite Nole moment. Another one was when Novak imitated his rivals, Nadal for example, some 10 years ago. It would be difficult to pick just one moment on or off the court because there are so many of them. Novak has a great sense of humor.
13. If you had to describe NoleFam in 5 words, which ones would you choose?
Strength, family, pride, harmony, support.
14. What’s the most precious NoleFam moment or memory you remember? And why is it so precious?
I can not remember what Nolefam memory is the most precious to me. Nolefam has always been like a big family, and we all cheer and support Novak. We are united and it makes us special. That’s what it feels like. A couple of years ago, I was helping a friend from the Republic of Srpska who is in charge of the Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS on Facebook.
15. If you had an opportunity to organize a #NoleFam meet-up for all fans, where would it be held and what would it look like?
It would be on Kopaonik mountain because Novak made his first tennis steps there, and it is a significant place for him. Or in Belgrade at one of the stadiums. It would be difficult to pack all the fans at one place, wherever the gathering would be held. The theme would be tennis, of course, and socializing.
16. What are your TOP 5 suggestions and advice for all new fans becoming part of our huge Fan Family?
– Respect private life of Novak and his family.
– Do not believe everything the media say.
– Accept defeat. It is part of the sport and we can all learn from it and make progress.
– Be positive and spread the positive energy.
– Meet other members. You are all welcome.
17. Do you follow activities of the Novak Djokovic Foundation? If so, which of the NDF’s projects do you consider as the most important and why?
I do follow activities of the NDF. The School of Life is the most interesting project to me and the most important one. It is nice to see that children get help they need to develop in the right way through education and socializing with other kids. Not all children are able to attend school, and that’s why this project is excellent. I wish good luck to the NDF in their future activities, and to make many more children happy. Children are the future of every country and every nation. The first years of life are the most important. What children learn at an early age, from their parents or from friends, will always be with them while growing up and influence what kind of character they will have when they are adults. Therefore, with early childhood education and socialization through preschool activities, children go in the right direction and can become whatever they want later in life. There is nothing better than the proper upbringing of children and socialization at an early stage of life. This is something I learned during sociology studies, where I enrolled in master’s program. We need to take care of others, especially of youth. That is a beautiful thing.
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