Novak Djokovic rocked by death of his grandfather
World No.1 Novak Djokovic is determinded to continue playing in the Monte Carlo Masters despite receiving the sad news that his beloved grandfather, Vladimir, has passed away.
Djokovic, 24, had been on the practice court ahead of his clash against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov later today when word reached him of his grandfather's death.
Canal+ showed the Serb, winner of the Australian Open and Miami Masters already this year, in tears alongside his agent and team as word of his grandfather reached him via his mobile phone.
Respected Times journalist, Neil Harman, who is in the principality, tweeted: "A very sad day for Nole. He doted on his grandfather. I sense there will be an even greater vigour in his stride today."
He continued: "I'm sorry to say that news about death of @DjokerNole's grandfather is true but he is determined to play today..."
Djokovic was known to be extremely close to grandfather and spoke recently of how he and his family would hide in the basement of Vladimir's apartment each night during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign on the city.
"Because we were waking up every single night more or less at two, three a.m. for two and a half months," he recalled to 60 Minutes last month. "But the best thing about it... I always try to remember those days in a positive, in a very bright way... We didn't need to go to school and we played more tennis."
It was an experience that Djokovic, then just 12 years old, credits for making him the tough competitor he is today. "[The war] made us tougher. It made us more hungry, more hungry for the success."
While it has yet to be confirmed it is understood the Serb, winner of 10 titles in 2011, is determined to stay on at the tournament as he bids to end Rafael Nadal's eight-year dominance. Should he succeed, it would be a fitting tribute to his beloved grandad.