The tennis court is known for rivalry and emotions but outside of it is fun. The likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki have all enjoyed life outside and inside the court. But the bond between Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic rarely happens in the court, only outside.
In a recent podcast interview with former player Andrea Petkovic, Maria Sharapova recalls a memorable dinner date with Novak Djokovic. This happened weeks after Djokovic had won his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova shares details on losing a bet to Djokovic
In a podcast interview, Maria Sharapova revealed that during a mixed-doubles match in Indian Wells, Novak Djokovic challenged her to a bet that if he won, they would go out to dinner. Sharapova accepted not expecting Djokovic to win. The Serbian emerged victorious and soon informed her that they were eating dinner that evening at a Japanese restaurant.
“Oh god, no, I have this funny story with Novak. I remember we had won our first Grand Slams, it was at the time he was getting there, getting to the top and his body was not at the level of his tennis”, Maria Sharapova said.
“We played this mini-exhibition at Indian Wells. I don’t remember what the bet was, but he said if he won the bet, we’re gonna go to dinner. And I was like, ‘Okay, fine, whatever, like it’s going to happen’. And then he ended up winning and was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to dinner.’ We’re going to the Japanese place’. And I was like, ‘Are you serious? You and me are going to dinner? Tonight?’”, she continued.
“So we did! We ended up going to dinner. It was so funny, he pulled out what I think was this old Kodak camera and asked the waiter to take a photo of us. I was like, ‘This feels like I auctioned myself off for dinner! I think he was fanboying me, he had a big fanboy moment.”
“I don’t remember anything about that (match), I just remember going to that dinner and this old-school camera comes and the waiter is like, ‘You want a picture, you two? ’And you were like, ‘Yeah, it’s for a great memory!’”, Maria Sharapova concluded.
Maria Sharapova burst onto the scene by winning Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004 whereas Djokovic, who was also born in 1987, didn’t capture his first grand slam crown until the 2008 Australian Open.
Sharapova and Djokovic’s bond outside the tennis court
Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic have long shared a companionship. Both players have been friends for a long time. Sharapova and Djokovic have even participated in a few charity event matches and thrilled the crowd with their chemistry while also featuring in a few commercials together to great success.
Sharapova, a former World No. 1 in women’s tennis, is impressed with Djokovic’s longevity. She spoke admirably about the Serbian’s star preparation and dedication to the sport.
“I know him so well and it’s incredible to see how passionate he is and how he handles the element of longevity. It’s amazing how he treats his body and his preparations .. it’s fascinating”, Sharapova said.
Both Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic broke onto the tennis scene at the same time and won Grand Slam titles at a young age. Sharapova won a Grand Slam title before Djokovic. Sharapova has seamlessly transitioned to a life outside of competitive tennis after some controversial bans in her career and Novak Djokovic is still going strong at the age of 36, winning Grand Slam titles.
Sharapova has admitted that she is a Novak Djokovic fan and hopes that the Serbian wins more Grand Slam titles. Sharapova may have moved away from tennis during the peak of her career, but she has made a memorable impact in tennis history winning five Grand Slams during the Williams sisters’ era.