Simply the best
Serbia is a small country. This is why it is even more remarkable that only within several days, the two pages of sports history have been written by our two greats.
As a sport lover, occasional sport-goer and fan, it is not at all easy to describe in words two incredible successes that marked the beginning of this summer. For all of you who, for some unknown reason, may not be familiar with the events, Novak Djokovic won Roland Garros and it was the 23rd major tournament, with which this Belgrade-born athlete definitely wrote new pages in the history of „white sports“. And this is all taking place in a sport that for decades, maybe even centuries, has been reserved for the elite, athletes from powerful countries that have largely controlled (and still do) most global events. But there he is, that seemingly insignificant and defiant Serb appeared from nowhere and apparently messed up the whole world of that elite and overtook their sports leaders (also fantastic athletes, to be honest), breaking all possible records along the way.
Also, these days, another boy from this region made history - the quiet giant from the town of Sombor, Nikola Jokić, who after winning two MVP awards in a row (most valuable player in the league), won the championship title and the title of MVP of the NBA grand finals. All of this took place in a season that, according to opinions of knowledgeable ones, will be remembered as one of the best basketball seasons since this game was invented.
As different as they may be and as different as the sports they play may be, these two guys are similar in so many ways. They both grew up in Serbia, and not in some rich country that has the ability to recognize a genuine talent, to invest in them and support their development. Their families were the biggest support for both of them – something they have both carried in their hearts. One may think that those family relationships were not always entirely harmonious and by the standards of "modern age", however, the families give them warmth and unreserved support. Also, both of them faced a lot of distrust during their careers and few believed in their current successes (although today it turns out that many allegedly "knew" that they would be future greats and ultimate leaders both in sports and in everyday life, which of course is far from being true).
In fact, Novak was said to be too nervous, displaying the type of behavior and temper that simply does not fit into the tennis world embodied by Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Murray, Roddick, Pete Sampras, Tim Henman, and other greats of this sport. He was accused of being a hypochondriac, of inventing injuries, of exaggerating his health and other problems, of dealing with some "higher powers". And if that wasn't enough, he was detained, humiliated and expelled from the Grand Slam tournament due to unintentional mistakes. He faced deduction of points and was actually punished even though he won Wimbledon (it will probably be the first and last time that a player who won a Grand Slam lost as much as 2000 points)….. and again nothing! They failed in preventing him from taking the highest place in the history of white sports, breaking all records along the way and remaining remembered as an athlete with impeccable statistics. They can now only value his scores on the basis of their subjective opinions, so characteristic of fans who will support their favorites even when they are at their worst. However, the facts can never be disproved. Let’s mention only some of them: he is the only one in history to have won every Grand Slam at least 3 times, he has won every Masters tournament at least 2 times (for the record, no one in history has ever won all the Masters titles!), he has been on the first place of the ATP list for the longest time ever (that record is still ongoing), he has a positive score with Federer and Nadal, and in the last 10 years he has won more Grand Slams than the two of them together! We could go on like this until who knows when. Anyone who is interested, just Google this incredible statistics.
And as far as Nikola is concerned, in an attempt to give an overview of his path of development and incredible success, we can say that with his appearance, behavior and results he simply undermined the very foundations of the NBA League, and perhaps even completely set the new direction that will lead the strongest basketball league to some different future. And just like Novak, Nikola is different from the typical, ideal NBA superstar. He is not the type who looks like the work of art, his ego and desire to show off are far from the level of an American top athlete, while his individualism on the court is in service of the team, from which he brings out the best. And just like with Djokovic, this is why there is continuous pressure and this is why different stories are made up with the aim of belittling and discrediting Jokić's game. However, again the results are what quickly shuts all criticism and leaves them without valid arguments,
Again, it all boils down to aesthetics, the physical appeal and, finally, the origin. How on Earth is possible that some chubby guy from Sombor who makes trick shots under the hoop can win the title of the league's most useful player three times in a row, even though he deserved it by all criteria? But Nikola, it seems to me, doesn't really care what others think of him, even more than Djokovic. He is just doing what he knows best. Selflessly and unpretentiously, he will set new records, effectively changing the ancient rules of the world's biggest basketball league. We are yet to see for how long it will last and where it will lead, both Jokic and the entire NBA league.
We from Novi apartmani wish to these two guys that they remain as they are. Their results and virtues, regardless of what others may think, are the only true indicator that they have really taken the proper path. Enjoy your successes and be proud of yourselves, at least a small portion of how much we are proud of you!