Djokovic: 'Children Are Our Everything'
Novak Djokovic has captivated audiences throughout the world for years, including in Miami, where the Serbian has won a record-tying six titles and claimed 30 of his past 31 matches. But the 30-year-old earned the attention of a much different audience on Monday in Florida.
Djokovic, a father of two, visited the Miami Children’s Museum on Monday ahead of the Miami Open presented by Itau to read a book titled Pete the Cat to about 50 children of different age groups in a packed auditorium. He even brought his three-year-old son Stefan along for the session.
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/Miami Open presented by Itau
"They were kind enough to invite me… and it was a wonderful experience. They were all great listeners, but they also participated. They interacted,” said Djokovic, the ATP World Tour's 2012 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year. "I also invited one little girl to join me and read the rest of the story with me. It was phenomenal. It has brought a lot of really beautiful memories to me from the time when I was part of the pre-school educational institutions and programs back in my country when I was growing up.”
It was an important trip for Djokovic, who founded the Novak Djokovic Foundation in November 2007 to focus on providing young underprivileged children the opportunity to receive a quality pre-school education. The foundation received a €10,000 grant from ATP ACES For Charity in 2013.
“We are giving them a chance to flourish, to know the joy of success,” the foundation’s website reads. "To believe that they are worthy of their dreams. Early childhood education is the foundation upon which they will stand for the rest of their lives, and the foundation for the future of our world.”
While the former World No. 1’s focus will now shift to the second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the season, he does not take these special visits for granted.
"Obviously, being a child is something that every adult should always remind themselves of or think of, to keep that inner child, so to say, active and joyful throughout your life because we all shouldn’t take life too seriously and children remind us of that and remind us of what it is to be curious and to be happy to live in the present moment,” Djokovic said. “It was just overall a great experience that I’ll remember."