A champion for children
Appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in August 2015, Novak Djokovic, one of the world’s greatest tennis players, has championed the rights of the most vulnerable children and their communities for many years.
Novak first teamed up with UNICEF in 2011 when he became a National Ambassador for UNICEF in Serbia. In this role, he visited pre-schools and kindergartens to see just how important it is to invest in learning at an early age.
Among his many actions on behalf of children, he aimed to improve the quality of Serbia’s pre-school programmes.
The Novak Djokovic Foundation also funded UNICEF Serbia’s innovative family outreach service for the most vulnerable families in urban areas. The service has proved so successful that it is now being integrated into the country’s child protection system.
In 2012, Novak was selected as the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for his work with UNICEF and for the work of his Foundation.
During the floods in the Balkans in 2014, Novak contributed to the emergency response. He also worked with the UNIQLO Company, one of his official sponsors, to support social inclusion and poverty reduction projects in Serbia, as well as the ‘Schools for Asia’ initiative in Bangladesh, China and the Philippines.
His appointment as a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador was a tribute to his proven commitment to children over the years. Novak is now building on his earlier support for pre-schooling to promote the importance of early childhood education and development to give children the best possible start in life.
“I am committed to helping UNICEF provide quality early care and development to children"
Novak said: “The early years of life are crucial. When well nurtured and cared for in their earliest years, children are more likely to survive, to grow in a healthy way, to have fewer illnesses, to develop thinking, language, emotional and social skills and become productive and successful citizens of society.”
“I am committed to helping UNICEF provide quality early care and development to children, especially those who are most vulnerable, to help them build a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their communities.”
The Novak Djokovic Foundation is also working with the World Bank to promote early childhood development, allowing UNICEF and its partners to extend its reach to the most deprived children around the world.
Novak Djokovic is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. As of July 2017, he holds the highest match-winning rate (almost 83 per cent) in the Open Era. His dominance of the game includes 12 Grand Slam singles titles: six Australian Open titles, three Wimbledon titles, two US Open titles and one French Open title. In 2016, when he won the French Open, Novak became only the third man in history to hold all four major titles at once, and the first man ever to do so on three different surfaces.