Novak Djokovic and Jelena Ristic: The high school sweetheart who is the champion's biggest supporter
09 JULY 2014
As Novak Djokovic buried the winning shot of his spellbinding Wimbledon final, a few miles away his biggest supporter was happily savouring the victory. For once his pregnant fiancée Jelena Ristic had decided to watch from the comfort of home.
This week, the couple will have even more to celebrate when they marry, watched by a who's who of the celebrity world. The lavish ceremony will be a long way from their humble roots in Belgrade.
They are high school sweethearts, who have been together since 2005. Her mother Vera says it was love at first sight and as a sporty, athletic tennis enthusiast Jelena was the perfect fit for him. It didn't escape his notice that she was one of the most beautiful girls in the city either.
While he began his assault on the ATP rankings, Jelena went on to study luxury brand management at Milan's prestigious Bocconi University, paying her way with a series of far from glamorous jobs. Despite this, the struggling student often found time to be with the sportsman on tour.
Jelena Ristic has been there for every important match of Novak Djokovic's life
"Us getting together was like science fiction almost. I was a student barely getting by, and he was a very young tennis player who also had no money to spare on expensive trips," she told a Serbian newspaper. "Airplanes were, at the time, something utterly out of our reach. We contrived and devised these plans how to meet, how to make our relationship work."
When her sweetheart began to enjoy success there were still obstacles along the way. For many years Novak was hit by fatigue during matches without being able to explain why.
In 2011, doctors finally diagnosed him with coeliac disease meaning he is intolerant to gluten. His diet was radically changed and he became the unstoppable force his fans know today.
This week a dream will come true when the sweethearts wed
To share his good fortune her number one guy also started a charitable endeavour in his name. With Jelena as the chief executive, The Novak Djokovic Foundation helps vulnerable children especially in their native Serbia.
In September 2013, Novak made the relationship official by popping the question. Having hired a helicopter, he whisked his love off to the luxury Couvent des Minimes hotel in Provence, France. He announced the news by tweeting: "Meet my fiancé and future wife :) So happy! Thank you for wonderful wishes #NoleFam and friends!"
This year the tennis ace dedicated his second emotional win at the All England Club to his fiancée and their unborn child. After the gripping match watched by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton he said in the post match interview : "If you have time, I would like to dedicate this to my future wife and our future baby."