Djokovic hails first coach Gencic as 'second mother'

Jun 04, 2013, 01:05 IST | AFP

World number one Novak Djokovic yesterday paid an emotional tribute to his first coach, Jelena Gencic, who passed away at the weekend, hailing her as his "second mother".

The 77-year-old Gencic nurtured Djokovic's talent when he was six years old and with the agreement of his parents trained him for five years before he left for further coaching in Germany.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

She also coached fellow Grand Slam champions Monica Seles and Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic. “Jelena was like my second mother and we were very close.

She taught me many things,” said Djokovic after seeing off Philipp Kohlschreiber, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the French Open quarter-finals.  “The things that she taught me are part of my character and I have the nicest memories of her and these will stay with me forever.”

Djokovic, who last saw Gencic in February as she battled breast cancer, said he wants to carry on her work with youngsters. 

Women results
Maria Kirilenko (RUS x12) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands 7-5, 6-4

Victoria Azarenka (BLR x3) bt Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-0 

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