TALKING WITH... NIKOLA DJORDJEVIC
April, 2004 continued

Q: A local team or a high school team?
A: "In my country it is difficult. There are clubs, but there are no high school sports. My club was the best in the whole country"

Q: Did you play ITF Junior tournaments?
A: "Of course. I was ranked top 100 in the world and I was 34 in Europe -- ETA. I played a couple of semi and quarterfinals."

Q: Did you get to play any of the Grand Slams?
A: "Not yet, but my Serbian national team went to the European Championships when I was 16. There were three of us. We went to Sweden. I traveled all over the world and was the under 18 champion in Berlin."

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?
A: "I like Barcelona the best. I played there for a European Team Championship. That was actually the first time I played with professionals. Our team went to Barcelona against Spain. Their players were Tommy Robredo, Albert Costa. We lost against France. It was a great experience.
    I also played some Futures there. I'm planning to play more. Because I have a scholarship I can't take money, but I can get points. When you're starting it's not about the money, it is about the experience. I believe education comes first. That's why I'm here. I want to finish four years and then later, hopefully, I'll try to go professional."

Q: You're doing very well in school.
A: "Yes. I came here to change my life. I came here with a lot of motivation. I think I'm dedicated to school and to tennis and so far it's paying off really well. I have gotten all A's, except for an A- in English so I have a 3.9."

Q: Your English is very good. Did you speak it back home?
A: "No. I learned it. I had to pass the SATs. I did pretty well considering English is not my first language, but I never really spoke it on a daily basis."

Q: Did you watch American movies?
A: "Yes, but there were subtitles."

Q: What was your favorite American movie?
A: "There were a lot. American movies are great. I like Forest Gump and Pay It Forward. That was one of the best movies. It is a great idea that we should all help each other."

Q: I just heard that your brother is coming here. How did he decide (to join the Hofstra team)?
A: "I learned to share in my life. I learned to be not only self-oriented, but to look out for the people around me, especially those people who are close. My brother is a person who in the world I care the most and I always told him if there was any chance I could help I would.
    The biggest pressure I had here was to make it work for him too. I would feel really... It's hard to explain... if I had the position where I stayed here and he was there."

Q: How much younger is he?
A: "He is two years younger. He is a really good player too and my parents don't have money to pay (for college). I talked to the coach -- Bill Gerdts. He is a wonderful guy. We have a really good relationship. He is my mentor, not only for tennis. We are friends. He told me to ask him if there is anything I need so I asked him if there is a possibility (for my brother to come here). He was kind and he gave my brother a big scholarship so he could come. I'm really happy. That is a big burden lifted from me. It's going to be easier for him, much easier than at home."

Q: Have you been back (to Serbia)?

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