The ITF Junior Circuit caught up with world No. 4 Nikola Milojevic from Serbia to find out more about the 18-year-old.
ITF Junior Circuit: Tell us a bit about yourself…
Nikola Milojevic: I’m from Serbia originally, Belgrade. My mother was a good swimmer, my father was into football so no connection with tennis. I had some friends when I was seven who started tennis, so I figured ‘why not me?’, and when I first came to the court, some coaches said ‘this kid is talented, maybe we should start working seriously’ and that was it. When I was seven years old, I started for that age already playing some serious tennis, and scores came out. And from then on it just got more and more serious, I practised more, I improved myself, and I got here.
So do you have brothers and sisters?
No, I’m the only one.
You said your parents were quite sporty?
Yeah, my father played football in Germany and mum was a good swimmer in Belgrade but not professionally.
Which is your favourite surface?
My favourite surface… well, it’s tough to say since I won on each surface the great tournaments… but I have to say actually hard court because I have the most winning tournaments on it. But I love to play on grass and surprisingly I’m playing good now on clay. But let’s say hard court since I have my biggest wins on that surface.
What about outside tennis? Do you have any other hobbies?
Of course. I love movies, I go to the cinema as much as I can with my friends. Music, reading books, always seeing what is coming out, new books.
What about music? What types of music do you like?
I really listen to all kinds of music. Let’s say before the match, something with a good beat, a good rhythm to pump me up, and after the match maybe some slow, relaxing music.
Do you have a favourite place or a favourite tournament?
My favourite tournament would be Wimbledon, I really love playing at Wimbledon. For the country, I can’t really say, because I am in a lot of countries, there will always be a couple of places that you want to go.
What is it about Wimbledon that you like?
I can’t really say what… it’s that wonderful feeling when you’re on the grass, and everybody’s in white, and there is all that tradition, it’s the oldest Grand Slam. It feels different from any other tournament.
Tennis must be quite big in Serbia now. Do you get a lot of extra attention because of that?
Well, since I became No. 1, the press went huge. That was the moment almost everybody in Serbia knew about me, and Novak [Djokovic] congratulated me on his Facebook and Twitter… that was big, everybody heard then. From now on, it’s a little bit of a different situation, and they know in Serbia about the other junior, Laslo Djere, who is also ranked in the Top 10 in the world, and coming from such a small country it’s unbelievable. And even now having these great juniors in Serbia, tennis is hugely popular.
Is that extra pressure for you or do you quite enjoy that?
I don’t really feel it, because I try not to read the press. It always is a little bit pressured… having Novak [Djokovic] and [Janko] Tipsarevic in the Top ten, and now having two juniors in the top three, everybody expects you to play a final or a semifinal of a Grand Slam, and nobody really knows how tough it is. But I try not to think about these things. It’s always nice when you come from a big score to your home, and everybody’s happy, but now I have to focus on the next match, and that’s the only thing I’ll be focused on.
You have spoken to Djokovic and to Tipsarevic as your mentors quite a lot… are they always very helpful?
They help me a lot. I don’t know if I would have become a player like this if it wasn’t for them, because we practise so much and just by that I improve myself a lot, and it gives me huge confidence for the junior matches.