ATP World Tour No. 1Novak Djokovic says that he is 'flattered' to be described by Serbia's ambassador to the United States as the country's biggest promotional asset. After advancing to theRogers Cup quarter-finals Thursday with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Croatian Marin Cilic, Djokovic was asked to respond to comments last month from Vladimir Petrovic, Serbia's ambassador to the United States, who described the 24 year old as "the single biggest positive PR this country has ever had".
"Obviously it's very flattering to receive such a compliment," Djokovic said. "It is an honour to be able to represent your country. It's on you how you will represent the country. Obviously I'm trying to do it in the best possible way. Our country is small, but we do have lots of success in sports. We consider at this moment and in last 10, 15 years our athletes [to be] the biggest ambassadors of our country… We try to always make sure we make everybody see where we're coming from. It's great to have the appreciation of the Serbian people for what we do."
Djokovic's success has also fueled the rises of countrymen Viktor Troicki (ranked No. 15) and Janko Tipsarevic (No. 24), giving the country of 7 million people three players in the Top 25 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings.
Djokovic attributes the success of the trio to each member's desire and dedication. "It's individual, I think, because we didn't have a long tradition of this sport in our country. We didn't have the system that helped us to become professional tennis players. So we had to individually have a big desire to succeed and have big support of the families. Everybody had kind of a different way to the top. But it's really great to see that we have this many successful tennis players in the men's and women's part, and we are a very small country comparing to other countries who have much bigger tennis tradition."
Djokovic this week is attempting to become the only active player to win a tournament in his first appearance as World No. 1.