After the premier interview with an important part of #NoleFam – the Novak Djokovic Fan Club, started by Silvina from Argentina and connecting fans from all over the world it is now time to go back to the roots, to the Balkan region, where kind and friendly people are also bound together with their love and passion for their idol – Novak Djokovic.
The Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS revolves around one of Novak’s most prominent personal traits – his compassion, respect and caring for others and especially for his fans, but also around the promotional work he does for Serbia and the whole region, the serbian culture and customs. This Fan Club has been founded by Andjelko Blazenovic from Banja Luka who maintains all of the Fan Club’s outlets with the help of Nadja Braunovic from Montenegro. They make a brilliant team informing all fans from the region about Nole’s achievements, undertakings, plans, while always respecting his private life. And their efforts show massively. The Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS touches close to 50,000 fans, which is their next milestone to achieve. We are sure they’ll make it there in the near future.
But for now let’s focus on the present moment and #MeetNoleFam from Novak’s part of the World. Let’s meet the Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS!
NOVAK DJOKOVIC FAN CLUB RS QUESTIONS
The Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS page has been active since 2010, which makes your fan club one of the oldest! It would be interesting to hear how it all started. Could you tell us how you came up with the idea to bring your passion for Novak into something like starting a Fan Club?
Exactly. I remember that period like it was yesterday. I started going to high school (School of economics), which was a big challenge for me. Like any teenager I was interested in many different things in life. Novak was already an inspiration, and I somewhat knew that the boy would be a top athlete. He had charisma, he respected others, he was always ready to have some fun, but above all, he always had time for his fans. That sparked the idea in me to connect a small group of fans from the Republic of Srpska which later turned out to be a wonderful step, not only for us, but also for Novak, as he could see that he has a large support in this country and that we are always there for him no matter what.
What have been the three best moments while managing the club?
I think there is no better moment than when you see that your idol is noticing what you are doing, that you spare no effort to introduce him to the world despite having your own work and obligations, and to show that there is an army of millions of fans behind Novak. I would also like to highlight the year 2015 in which our website reached its peak and when over 15,000 fans visited it. Our goal at the beginning was to reach 5,000 fans. Today, we have even more ambitious goals — to reach 50,000 fans. We are steady on our path and very close to achieving this goal.
From the previous e-interview with Silvina we could see that managing a Fan Club is a demanding job. She has 4 team leaders that assist her. You get help from Nadja who assists you with running the club, although she lives a couple of hundred kilometers away. How did you get to know each other and become united around the idea of running the club?
I agree with Silvina. We all know there are plenty of tennis tournaments during one calendar year. Until a little less than 2 years ago, I spent my whole spare time working on the page. There were also other people who helped me from time to time, but could not continue because of their obligations. Then I came up with the idea to change something and to look for someone who could assist me over a longer period of time. It was not easy to find a person who shared the same style in posts. Of course we’re not all the same, but I realised that Nadja was really the right person for this job… It almost felt as she had always been doing it. I sent her a message, and soon afterwards we became very good friends. She accepted the invitation with great enthusiasm.
Describe Nadja and yourself in one sentence: where you live, what you do, since when are you in the Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS, what your hobbies are apart from Nole and his tournaments?
I (Andjelko) am from a beautiful town called Celinac, located 20 kilometers away from Banja Luka (Republic of Srpska). I am a student of Transport and Traffic Engineering in Banja Luka and currently in my third year of studying. I play tennis in my spare time, I love the sport very much. I also like to travel and to visit other countries and cities in order to learn about foreign culture and history as much as I can. I am a member of the Fan club since its founding — actually I am it’s founder.
Nadja comes from Niksic (Montenegro), but she has been living in Podgorica for six years now. She is a student at the Faculty of Economics there, but she also works in a bank, where she started after her second year of studies. In her free time she likes to follow the activities of her big idol Novak Djokovic, and helping me manage the website of our Fan Club. This has now become her every-day pasion, her daily routine, and she very much enjoys doing it. She likes tennis, and she used to engage in this sport as a young girl. She likes other kinds of sports as well. She enjoys being in good company, socializing and meeting new people.
It’s been almost 7 years since the Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS follows activities of Novak on- and off-court and informs about all that in a very professional manner. Sometimes the photos you publish are very exclusive, so we would like to know how you find these materials?
At the beginning it was very difficult to find photos from some recently finished match or some event our Novak attended. We agreed that we will not publish Novak’s private photos because every person in the world has the right to privacy, no matter what. Now we are celebrating 7 years of work on Facebook and we’ve never had any complaints about any published photo. In the past couple of years the main source of photos we share and publish is Twitter, as well as numerous tennis sites and pages on Facebook. Thank you for highlighting and acknowledging our hard work.
What does a normal day look like in the Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS? And how it differs from a day when Novak plays a match?
It’s just like every other day. We publish some news that we think is important, add some photos, make a photo album, share some interesting links. We check messages and our account on Instagram. Of course this is much different on a match day, especially if a very important match is on the schedule. I remember the Roland Garros finals last year against Andy Murray. The excitement was overflowing. We all know how important this finals were and what the trophy he won meant.
You surely are in close contact with many fans of Novak. What are the questions they ask you most often?
Yes I am always in contact with Novak’s fans. I think that one of the most beautiful things in life is to meet new friends, especially from foreign countries. People with a different cultural background, different customs… I know many fans from Argentina, and I am in close contact with a fan from Sweden, who became a close friend. He often comes to our region, as he is of Serbian ancestry. We usually talk about Novak’s form, and whether he will win the next tournament or the current one.
Is there an anecdote related to the work of the Fan Club that you would like to share with us?
I would like to tell you one interesting story. About 2 years ago, someone sent me a personal message with the offer to buy the webpage of our Fan Club. He offered a nice sum of money, which I refused, of course. This work is not about the money, we do this with pure love for Novak and his career achievements.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND TENNIS QUESTIONS
You were only 15 when you started to run the Fan Club. How old were you when you became Novak’s fan? What about Nadja?
I was 12 when I started watching Novak playing. It was the 2007 US Open tournament, and he was already a young tennis hope showing the world his huge potential to become a champion. Honestly I did not think I would become such a big fan of his, but it’s all grown into great love and an unbreakable bond formed. Love is a miracle.
What is your favorite photo of Novak, if you could choose one? :)
What’s your favorite trophy Novak achieved?
There are so many trophies Novak has won in his career. Each one of them is special. If I have to, I would single out two trophies. The first was won in the 2015 US Open finals against Roger Federer, when everyone was on the side of Novak’s competitor. It simply showed how Novak was mentally and physically strong to cope with Federer and the huge support the Swiss was getting from close to 20 thousand fans. The second trophy I would like to highlight is last years Roland Garros trophy, which brings special memories to my mind. Lots of tears were cried and emotional moments lived through at that tournament.
Which is your favourite match Novak has played in?
It seems to me that this is the most difficult question so far. Novak has played so many great matches in his career. I think you will agree with me that the last two matches at the 2012 Australian Open against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal were the best. Rarely anyone would withstand playing the highest level of tennis for a whole of 10 hours, like Novak did in those two matches. Also, the epic match against Stan Wawrinka the following year at the Australian Open was extraordinary.
Do you have a favorite tennis tournament?
My favourite tennis tournament is surely Wimbledon. It’s the beautiful tradition and history characterising this prestigious event and the oldest tournament in the world I am very fond of. I would really like to visit it one day when Novak plays his match. But I would be happy to attend Roland Garros as well. Nevertheless, France is a bit closer.
What do you like the most about Nole (his character, his temper, the values he stands for, anything concerning his look maybe)?
The love he spreads to the world, to his people, and above all, how he always cares for his fans and thanks them for their fantastic support throughout his career. He is a very positive person, with a lot of respect for other people. That’s what I like the most about him. Physical appearance is temporary. The important thing is that he is a good person.
What is your most precious Nole moment from on- and off-court… The one you cherish the most?
The most impressive moment for me was when he appeared in the famous American TV show with Conan in 2011, where he brought Serbian folk dancers to dance ‘KOLO’. He never forgets where he comes from and where he belongs. I think I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. That was just so beautiful.
What is your advice for all new fans of Nole?
In this wonderful world, it’s great to love someone, and that the person knows that you respect and support them day by day, especially in difficult times. That’s why I say that we shouldn’t judge Nole, or any tennis player after one bad match, tournament, or season. We should always remember what he has done for the Serbian people in the first place, for the entire nation and for tennis in general. Love him and respect him. He will certainly respect you.
If you would organize a #NoleFam meet-up for all fans, where would it be held and how would it look like? What would be the highlights?
Yes. It would be amazing for all of us, his fans, and the continuation of this wonderful story. I would like it to be held in his hometown of Belgrade, at the end of his tennis career. I could imagine a packed Belgrade Arena and some exhibition program, preferably an all day event for all of us to enjoy it together. If not here, then maybe on Kopaonik, where Novak made his first tennis steps.
If you had to describe NoleFam in 5 words, which ones would you choose?
HARMONY, LOVE, TEAM, RESPECT and UNBREAKABLE.
#NoleFam community is very strong on Twitter, many people and communities connect daily using this hashtag in their support for Novak. Novak Djokovic Fan Club RS is not active on this social network yet, but we know that Nadja is :) Do you plan to expand the club’s activities onto Twitter?
I’ve had a profile on this social network for years, and I had really many friends from around the world following me there… We were sending messages of support to our Novak. But just as time passed, I enrolled in my studies and simply did not have time to maintain Twitter anymore, so I deactivated my account. Novak has a huge support on Twitter, Nadja is there too (@NadjaBraunovic). She monitors all events, and always contacts me if anything important is going on. For now, we have no plans to open a Twitter account, but you never know. At the beginning of this year Nadja and I joined Instagram with our Fan Club (@novak_srpska_fans) because we believe this social network has great potential for the future. With all of the above said, I don’t want to diminish the value of Twitter in any form.
Do you follow activities of the Novak Djokovic Foundation (NDF)? If so, which of NDF’s projects do you consider as the most important and why?
I follow their activities, of course. Humanitarian work is something that can not be described in plain words. It’s a beautiful feeling to engage in it, but above all you know that by helping you’ll make someone happy. I took part in the work of a wonderful humanitarian organizations called “June 28”. Regarding NDF, what I like most is that they are committed to education and helping children at preschool age. The most interesting project is the one supporting the programme of early childhood development and education of children in Serbia, and the humanitarian charity galas that were organised in London and New York in 2013. I also think it is very important to encourage children to engage in sports in early age, and to teach them what sport is, to believe in themselves and their dreams.