Canada's BJK Cup sensation Marina Stakusic tells great Novak Djokovic anecdote

Stakusic, 19, opens up on idolizing Djokovic.

by Dzevad Mesic
Canada's BJK Cup sensation Marina Stakusic tells great Novak Djokovic anecdote
© Getty Images Sport - Fran Santiago

Canadian Billie Jean King Cup sensation Marina Stakusic reveals she grew up idolizing Novak Djokovic and once even got the Serb's rackets as a little girl after the world No 1 threw them her way. Stakusic, who was born in Canada and is now 19 years old, has Balkan roots as her father comes from Montenegro while her mother is Serbian although she was also born in Canada.

When Stakusic was five, she got her first tennis racket from Walmart and the following year she started taking tennis lessons. When Stakusic also started following tennis, it didn't take long before she fell in love with Djokovic's tennis.

"I definitely was watching. My idol is Novak Djokovic. Shocking, right? I always watched him growing up. Every Grand Slam final, we would gather and have a viewing party," Stakusic told the WTA website.

Stakusic on Djokovic throwing her his two rackets

In 2012, Djokovic won the Toronto Masters after beating Richard Gasquet in the final.

After the final, Djokovic spotted the Stakusic family in the stands and threw them two of his rackets. "I think when I was around 5 or 6, we went to the National Bank Open in Toronto and we watched him. When I was 7 or 8 we watched him in the final there and after the final he threw us two racquets.

I still have them. That was an unreal moment. I've seen him many times as a fan, but I've never met him in person," Stakusic said. In November, world No 268 Stakusic went 3-1 at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals to help Canada seal its first title in the competition.

In Seville, Stakusic beat three top-100 players and her lone loss came against Barbora Krejcikova. After a very positive end to 2023, Stakusic wants to establish herself on the WTA Tour and finish the 2024 season inside the top-100.

"I definitely want to try to play as many WTA tournaments as I can to get my ranking better. I'm at 260 right now so I can't get into qualifying at Australia. So my No.1 goal is to make qualifying at the French Open. And then Top 100 is my main goal for next year," Stakusic said.

Novak Djokovic