Attention anyone who’s ever claimed it’s lonely at the top: you’ve never hung out with Novak Djokovic in Belgrade.
The 33-year-old Serbian superstar celebrate his historic 311th week as world No. 1 at the aptly-named Novak 1 restaurant in Belgrade with family, friends and a crowd of festive supporters ouside.
Djokovic received a hero’s homecoming welcoming after setting the record for most weeks at No. 1 in the 48-year history of the ATP Rankings. Celebrating his 311th week as world No. 1, the Serbian superstar broke the record he shared with rival Roger Federer and now occupies the historical top spot alone.
Novak’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, promoted the celebration with permission from Belgrade mayor Goran Vesic, who hailed the nine-time Australian Open champion as “the greatest player of all time.”
“Tonight, Belgrade is celebrating Nole’s triumph,” Mayor Vesic said on social media. “Today, Novak Djokovic, from Belgrade, is the greatest tennis player of all time.
“Thank you, Nole, for the joy you gave our people.”
Music blared, fans chanted “Nole! Nole!”, swarms of photographers strained for shots of the Australian Open champion and images of Djokovic from triumphs throughout his career were projected onto nearby buildings as the No. 1 stopped for selfies with some fans. Afterwards fireworks were set off to celebrate.
While 18-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic and his family wore masks, some in the crowd that swarmed outside the restaurant were not wearing masks or social distancing.
That display evoked some concerns of a replay of the Djokovic-led Adria Tour, which largely disregarded Coronavirus safety protocols and was subsequently shut down after several players contracted Coronavirus.
In the aftermath of his Melbourne title run, Djokovic has taken some time to recover from a one-inch tear to his abdominal muscle he suffered down under.
Empowered by his run to his ninth Australian Open championship, Djokovic announced he will return to action at this month’s Miami Open where he is a six-time champion.
Photo credit: PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/Getty