Los Angeles: Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked tennis player, announced via social media on Wednesday that he was engaged to marry his longtime girlfriend, Jelena Ristic.
“Meet my fiance (sic) and future wife,” Djokovic, 26, said in a tweet that linked to a photo of the Serbian-born tennis star being kissed by his fiancee, also a Serb. “So happy! Thank you for the wonderful wishes #NoleFam and friends!”
Ristic is well-known to tennis fans as a fashionable and enthusiastic presence at Djokovic’s matches and is director of his charitable foundation.
Djokovic became a top-10 player on the ATP tour in 2007, but was overshadowed for several years by Roger Federer, considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time, and Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
But in 2011 Djokovic surged past both men to claim the No. 1 ranking by putting together one of the best seasons in the sport’s modern era, winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open and losing only six matches.
Though Federer briefly reclaimed the No. 1 spot after winning Wimbledon in 2012, Djokovic has held it for most of the past two years.
Ristic has admitted she finds it impossible to remain detached from the action while her boyfriend is putting himself through yet another gruelling match just yards away from her.
That was clear to see when Serbia's Djokovic survived the longest semi-final in Wimbledon history, defeating Juan Martin del Potro in a bruising encounter that lasted four hours and 43 minutes.
“You can get very passionate when watching your boyfriend from the players’ box. We just want them to be happy. You don’t want to see them in pain. If they are not happy, neither are you,” Ristic said. (Reuters)