Novak Djokovic will face Norway’s Casper Ruud in the French Open final on Sunday with a chance of winning a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title.
A day later in Colorado, Nikola Jokic can win a first NBA championship for the Denver Nuggets, who lead the Miami Heat 3-1 in the best of seven Finals.
Following Friday’s 108-95 win over the Heat in Miami, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic revealed that 36-year-old Djokovic had been in touch.
“Yeah, he texted me. For real,” Jokic said. “He didn’t lie. Yes, he is amazing, of course, in his sport and he makes history every time. He will probably be one of the best of all time, if not the best of all time He has a great opportunity to win another one.
“He’s just an incredible sportsman and to have him as a compatriot representing us in the world, I think it’s a great honor, and I think the Serbian people are really happy that we have him as a compatriot. .”
While there’s no doubt that Djokovic has long been the pride of Serbian sport, Jokic is also enjoying huge success in his native country eight years after leaving Belgrade for Denver.
This year, viewership of NBA games in Serbia is up 50% year-over-year, and NBA Instagram content that features Jokic is generating 88% more engagement than the average post.
Djokovic is certainly one of the many Serbs closely following the Nuggets star.
“I don’t think anybody can do what he’s doing right now. He’s definitely the best basketball player in the world, and I encourage him a lot,” Djokovic told Fanduel recently.
“He’s an amazing guy, he’s the pride of Serbia and we’re so proud of him. We hope he can win his first ring.”
Jokic has three chances to earn that ring, starting with Game 5 in Denver on Monday.
While most pundits think the Nuggets have the streak in the bag, Jokic is wary of being overconfident.
“I mean, it’s still a win. We have to win one more,” he said. “I like that we didn’t slack off (in the fourth game). We didn’t feel comfortable. We were still desperate. We still want it. That’s what makes me happy, that the guys didn’t slack off.”
The Nuggets are on the verge of winning their first NBA title, and coach Michael Malone is determined to ensure his players have the right mindset.
“I said to our guys, the first thing I said, we’re not celebrating. It’s a good win. We’ve done our job. But we’re not celebrating like we haven’t done anything yet. “Malone said.
“We know we’re going to have to go home and turn off the TV, the radio, don’t read the papers, don’t listen to everyone telling you how great you are because we haven’t done anything yet.
“We have to win another game to be world champions and we’re going to do that by just taking one quarter at a time.
We stay true to our identity, we will give ourselves a great chance to do so.”