Djokovic on deceased coach Gencic: ‘She was like my second mother’

by: Matt Cronin June 03, 2013

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Novak Djokovic reacts to the loss of his longtime junior coach Jelena Gencic, who passed away two days ago. Djokovic’s team decided to wait to tell the world No. 1 about her death until after his win on Saturday over Grigor Dimitrov. He was said to have broken down in tears. Djokovic said he last saw her in February.

“It hasn't been easy, but this is life,” he said after his fourth-round win over Philipp Kohlschreiber. “Life gives you things, takes away close people in your life, and Jelena was my first coach, like my second mother. We were very close throughout my whole life, and she taught me a lot of things that are part of me, part of my character today, and I have nicest memories of her. This is something that will stay forever and hopefully I will be able to continue on and follow up where she stopped, with her legacy, because she left so much knowledge to me and to the people that were close to her.

"She never got married, she never had kids, so tennis was all she had in life. She was 77 years old, and before she passed away two days ago, last week she was giving lessons to kids. So she didn't really care about the nature of the illness. She had breast cancer. She survived that. She's one of the most incredible people I ever knew. She was an incredibly intelligent woman. She knew exactly to recognize the potential of the tennis players. That's why she, for me, is the best coach for that young generation that I ever met in my life.”

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