For decades, people have been arguing about whether or not sports figured should also be role models. But Tennis super-star Novak Djokovic is looking to put that to rest. He’s taken a fir stance on the issue, saying that athletes do serve as role models and have responsibilities to match.

And it’s not all talk, either. The Djoker and his wife Jelena have launched a foundation that bears the Tennis Star’s name. Their partnership was a perfect match— they are both passionate about charitable causes and Jelena has a business degree, which is a huge help since as she serves as director.

The mission of the Novak Djokovic foundation is making sure that Serbian children under the age of six have a fair educational community.


Why This Charity?

The 1990’s were a particularly devastating time for Serbia. The European country was involved in several bloody armed conflicts throughout the decade, including the Yugoslav Wars, the Bosnian War, the Kosovo War, and the Croatian War. Djokovic recalls that he was lucky enough to escape the violence and pursue his passion for tennis. But he acknowledges that many young children did not have that opportunity, and lacked the mental stimulation so crucial for our development. His foundation never wants to see that happen again.

It was actually this wish that helped him perform so well on the court. His desire to give back actually fueled his tennis goals, and he dreamed of the day that he could use his stardom to make a difference.

Djokovic became UNICEF’s Serbian ambassador in 2012, one year after he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open; and topped the ATP rankings at #1.