Why tennis icon Novak Djokovic was desperate to meet PSG superstars Lionel Messi & Neymar during bid for French Open Grand Slam crown

Novak Djokovic Lionel Messi NeymarGetty/GOAL
  • Serbian superstar in Paris
  • Took in game at Parc des Princes
  • Mingled with football heroes

WHAT HAPPENED? The Serbian superstar is taking in another bid for Grand Slam glory at Roland Garros, and has made the most of his latest visit to the French capital. Djokovic was among those in attendance as Paris Saint-Germain got their hands on the Ligue 1 trophy on Saturday, with Messi and Co. bringing the curtain down on their 2022-23 campaign with a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Clermont. Djokovic, who has previously rubbed shoulders with footballing stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was offered the opportunity to meet with seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi and Brazil international Neymar.

WHAT THEY SAID: Djokovic told reporters afterwards: “It was my first time meeting them in person – they are great champions, it was a pleasure and an honour to meet them, especially Messi, a player who left an extraordinary mark in the history of football.

“They did win the title already, but the expectations are always huge from stars like them. That’s why I didn’t want to disturb them and to enter their space while they were preparing, but they saw me on their way to the locker room [before the game] and they came to say ’hi’. It was my first time meeting them in person – they are great champions.”

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Djokovic went on to reveal that he had added incentive for wanting to meet up with South American forward Neymar, with his daughter Tara a big fan of the 31-year-old Brazilian. He added: “Neymar signed Tara’s jersey, but it’s an interesting story. She doesn’t follow sports much, but she has a school friend who is half Brazilian-half Serbian – that girl dances all the time to this song about Neymar. That’s why she wanted to meet him badly.”


Novak DjokovicGetty

Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23Getty Images

neymar(C)Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Djokovic, who has 22 Grand Slam titles to his name, will be among those keeping a close eye on what the summer transfer window has in store for Neymar – as he is linked with the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle – while World Cup winner Messi is preparing to leave PSG as a free agent.