'One Of My Favorite Places': Djokovic On Training At UCLA Before Indian Wells

'One Of My Favorite Places': Djokovic On Training At UCLA Before Indian Wells

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic was one of the earliest to arrive at this year's Indian Wells tournament in order to have ample time to revisit some of his fondest places in California.

Djokovic was accompanied by his family during the trip and, interestingly, shared the same flight as longtime rival Rafael Nadal, who was also embarking on playing at the first Masters 1000 tournament of 2024 until his late withdrawal.

The Serbian ace used his spare time to watch Lionel Messi's Inter Miami face LA Galaxy with his nine-year-old son Stefan. He also met countryman Nikola Jokic during the Denver Nuggets' victory over the LA Lakers.

Following his second-round win over Aleksandar Vukic, Djokovic was invited to the Tennis Channel newsdesk, where he was asked to recount, probably, his most joyful experience at this year's trip to the States, when he practiced at UCLA in front of hundreds of college students.

"It was amazing. I was actually looking forward to practicing at UCLA. It is actually one of my favorite places in the world to practice because the energy of college is something different, and you could feel the vibe."

Djokovic showed off why he occupied the higher tier of men's tennis by playing some audacious shots. Following the intense practice session, several students flocked onto the court and swarmed around the world No. 1, looking to videotape a memento.

Djokovic explained why UCLA remains one of his favorite spots in this part of the country. He acknowledged the excellent on-site facilities and also caught up with the tennis coach. The 24-time Grand Slam champion referred to the energy as a "blast."

"I always loved the spirit of college; it’s just completely different from what we experience or what we see in Europe or elsewhere. Just the social part—the interaction, the encouragement, the positive energy, the drive that you feel from everyone—not just the ones that are involved in sports but all the students there—they're so happy to be part of that."

"So for me to be able to take a little bit of that momentum and that energy was a blast."


You may also like