Baby got backhand! Four year old tennis prodigy serving up shots as strong and his famous name snake Novak Djokovic!
Meet the four-year-old tennis prodigy who we might one day see competing on Wimbledon’s world stage.
Novak Palombo, from Melbourne, Australia, was just two years old when he got his first tennis racquet and he’s been serving up shots ever since.
The pint-sized athlete, named after Serbian tennis pro Novak Djokovic, is a regular on the court—practicing for an hour nearly every day, whether with one of his coaches or at home with dad Steven, 40.
His opponents are twice his age, but after swinging his signature backhand stroke they know he means business.
Mum Ana Marinkovic, 36, said his athletic routine has helped her son develop focus and discipline…a rare commodity for most Kindergarteners
She said: “Novak has always been extremely active and energetic, so tennis has given him something to focus on. He’s learning about teamwork, listening to his elders, playing by the rules, the importance of practicing
“It’s about teaching him good discipline from the start and having a healthy foundation for life. He knows he has to look after his body, eat the right foods, and get a good night’s rest so he can practice.”
Ana, who has two children, Novak and Savannah, aged one, said she wanted to give her son a strong name when he was born.
In a tribute to her Serbian heritage, she and husband Steven, a third-generation Australia with Italian roots, settled on Novak, after tennis pro Novak Djokovic.
She said: “We didn’t name him hoping that he’d be a tennis star, but it was more from a role model perspective.
“[Novak Djokovic] has done so much off the court with his foundation, so it was more to do with his positive influence and the impact he’s had on Serbian children, especially after the war.”
Mum and dad could tell early on that their boy was athletically gifted and they wasted no time sending him out on the field—or in the pool on the court, for that matter.
At six-months-old he was already enrolled in swimming classes and by 10 months he was taking his first steps. Eight months later, little Novak was enrolled in soccer and at two-and-a-half he was hitting balls on the tennis court.
Ana said: “He still takes swimming and soccer lessons once a week, but tennis is his favourite.
“He’s very competitive, so he likes one-on-one competition. Especially with his dad.
“His ability to focus for such a long time is one of his biggest strengths. He’s not a frivolous kid—not like his little sister—and he’s quite determined.
“He likes to set goals for himself and if he thinks he’s played well then he likes to treat himself to some frozen yogurt or a Ferrero Rocher.”
Even on holiday, Novak always makes sure there’s a court nearby and likes to keep in shape with dad, a former AFL player for the Western Jets who now works as a travel and tourism executive.
The pair have volleyed on courts all over the world, including in Bali, Serbia, and Hong Kong’s Disneyland.
While Novak did enjoy some of the rides, he made sure to always end the day with a training session. On the rare occasion that Novak does watch TV, it’s to catch the latest sporting match or to watch his favourite tennis star, Stan Wawrinka.
But it’s not just Stan who he admires, Novak can tell you facts about all the top male and female players and could even commentate a match.
Mum said: “Novak is naturally quite serious and very orderly.
“He packs his racquet and water and knows that he can only wear his tennis shoes on the courts.
“We’re not forcing him to be the next Roger Federer, but he’s very talented and he loves it. As long as he has a keen interest in it then he will continue to play.”