MANILA, Philippines—Serbia had plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Two days after its men’s basketball team claimed the silver medal in the Fiba World Cup in Manila, Novak Djokovic won his 24th Grand Slam at the US Open in New York.
On Tuesday, Djokovic returned home to a hero’s welcome and celebrated with the basketball team in front of thousands of sports fans who gathered at Belgrade City Hall in the Serbian capital.
Djokovic, who beat Daniil Medvedev, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, in the final, tied Margaret Court for the all-time Grand Slam record.
It was an emotional moment for the 36-year-old Djokovic, who even cried during the celebration.
Novak Djokovic breaks down in tears after receiving a warm welcome from local fans alongside Serbian basketball team pic.twitter.com/RMMb06biha
— BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) September 12, 2023
“I don’t know where to start. It obviously means the world to me,” said Djokovic immediately after winning yet another Grand Slam title in New York over the weekend. “It’s hard to describe. I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in this sport.
The country’s basketball team, which also qualified for next year’s Paris Olympics, was also hailed after a runner-up finish to Germany despite not having its best player Nikola Jokic in the World Cup.
Serbians fell to the Germans in the thrilling Fiba World Cup Final, 83-77, on Sunday in the Philippine capital where they played all of their games beginning from the group stages.
Jokic, however, made sure not to miss the party as he joined the Eagles in the celebration.
Videos of Jokic, who led the Denver Nuggets to their first ever NBA championship last June, singing and dancing while shirtless have made rounds on social media.
Nikola Jokic celebrating with the Serbian national basketball team 😅🔥
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 13, 2023
It had been an inspiring run for Serbia in the Fiba World Cup, losing a member of its team in the second round after forward Borisa Simanic one of his kidneys and had to be hospitalized.
“I’m just happy and proud of these guys. Since day one, nobody believed in this group and we’re just working hard since day one and we achieved something I think,” said Serbia star Bogdan Bogdanovic after the loss.
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