Christian Tennis Player Novak Djokovic has felt right at home in Paris, and he is the man to beat at the French Open. Apparently he came to win the tournament, raise awareness for poor and desperate flood victims, and make a few friends along the way. He's already got the ball boys and the fans on his side, after hanging out with this young man during a rain delay in the first round.
Djokovic has professed his faith in Christ on many occasions, and he allows that belief to fuel him in all situations on the tennis court. After awe inspiring comeback victories against Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the past, you see how his belief plays a part. He knows his gifts are from God, and like Philippians 4:13 reminds the believer, we can do all things when Christ is our strength.
For Djokovic, the big test in this years tournament will be ousting 8 time champion Nadal. No doubt, if he has asked God for anything on the court, he has focused his prayers on doing just that and finishing the career grand slam.
According to ESPN, even though the odds are with Djokovic to win the tournament this year, Djokovic still concedes that Nadal should be considered the favorite. When he was asked if Nadal should in fact be the favorite, regardless of the oddsmakers call, he gave it no doubt.
"Yes," the 27-year-old Serb replied, drawing a chorus of laughter from reporters. "Yes. After eight times that he has won here, I think he deserves that role."
What makes calling Djokovic the favorite seem somewhat sensible, is the fact that Nadal finds himself coming of 4 defeats on clay in a season for the first time since 2004, making his record of 61-1 at Roland Garros look like it might be in jeapordy.
Defeats in the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and in Spain, plus he already lost to Djokovic in the Rome masters. Djokovic beat Nadal in Monte Carlo last year, after Nadal had won there for eight years straight.
Djokovic has been navigating his way like a man on a mission through the draw at Roland Garros. He lost a set on Friday, but focused in and defeated No. 25 seed Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 to advance to the fourth round.
Djokovic's mission extends off the court as well, as he lets his faith guide him into charity and prayer for the troubled of this world.
He serves as an ambassador for UNICEF in his native Serbia to defend children's rights and his foundation received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year in 2012. At this French Open, he is hoping and praying to bring attention to the victims of flooding there.
All the people coming together and responding to the crisis has inspired him, and he wants to support them.
"They showed the solidarity and support to each other like it hasn't been for 20 years, since the last conflict and the war that we had that didn't bring any good to any of the people," Djokovic told ESPN. "Maybe Yugoslavia cannot be the same or cannot be as an official country again like it was three decades ago, but at least we can use the situation and show the support in the future and respect to each other."
If Djokovic wins the French Open this year, he joins Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal and Fred Perry as the only men to ever win a career grand slam.