Long before he was a 12-time grand slam singles champion and multi-millionaire living in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic was a young boy trying to make it in war-torn Yugoslavia. He resided in Serbia during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia from March 24-June 10 (Djokovic turned 12 on May 22, 1999).
The air strikes had a direct effect on Djokovic's childhood tennis career. His club in Kopaonik, Serbia, was crippled by the attacks. On Monday morning, 17 and a half years later, Djokovic showed the world the remains of the tennis courts. He went through Kopaonik on a hike with his family.
On Facebook Live, Djokovic captured his former stomping crowds covered in vegetation. However, he did find his "favourite tennis wall," the namesake for the video.
"The best sparring partner you can have is a wall, guys," he says. "Trust me, never misses."
Djokovic also assured fans the area, mostly abandoned due to bomb clusters never being deactivated, is safe to hike around. After all, he is worth roughly $160 million and put his and his family's lives on the line on the hike.
Djokovic was originally slated to be in Beijing this week for the China Open, but he withdrew with an elbow injury. Djokovic is scheduled to play in the Shanghai Masters on Oct. 10.
In the video, Djokovic alludes to his foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which provides educational opportunities to Serbian youths.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.