By Alana Mitchelson
(January 10, 2014) MELBOURNE – It’s no secret that Novak Djokovic has a soft spot for Japanese food but on Friday, as he announced a new partnership with SEIKO, he spoke mainly of his admiration for the value the Japanese company places on family.
“Even though I’m a part of an individual sport as a tennis player, I know how much the family support means… family is the base of everybody’s life so I’m really glad to be a part of a company that nurtures such important life values,” Djokovic said.
“This is the second Japanese company I’ve partnered with… and I think it says enough about the culture and how much I respect Japan.”
Djokovic revealed that his father is actually quite the watch collector and would be very excited to hear about his latest venture.
“My father is very passionate about watches and he is a collector of over 20 watches back home. So I would say I inherited that passion from him. So I’m going to hear the reaction of my father very soon and we’re all going to wear Seiko watches from now on.”
Seiko Watch Corporation president Shinji Hattori, who played his own fair share of tennis as a Japanese Junior player back in the 1960s, made the trip down from Japan especially to attend the event in person.
“In Novak we see someone who shares our desire to be the best and who is determined to maintain their status as a leader. Like SEIKO, Novak is dedicated to perfection. And like Novak, Seiko is determined to be one step ahead of the rest,” President Hattori announced.
Djokovic also stressed how impressed he was by SEIKO’s leadership in green watchmaking.
“I am all about eco-friendly, and of course a healthy lifestyle, and this is a company that of course respects and protects the planet.”
Seiko will be supporting the Novak Djokovic Foundation by producing a collection of watches, under the name LORUS, with accessible prices for young people. The money raised will go towards the foundation which involves helping educate disadvantaged children. They are also to provide ongoing financial support for various events and activities being held towards this special cause.
He briefly reflected upon his anticipation of the next couple of weeks, grinning with excitement when speaking of the draw he had been dealt that morning.
“I just love spending time in Melbourne. We arrive here in Summer time, a great time of the year, nice weather and holidays so a lot of people, a lot of kids around, and people are happy and in a good mood. They come to the tennis to support their players from a lot of different nations and it’s really one of the nicest tournaments in the world. Definitely.
“I think also, the fact that it is the first big event of the year. Most of the players have extra motivation and are inspired to play their best tennis. They want to do well so that’s why I think the Australian Open has over the years seen many of the thrilling matches and high quality tennis.”
Arriving in Melbourne on the back of a 24-match winning streak, Novak Djokovic will return to court early next week for his first round match against childhood tennis friend Lukas Lacko.
“We actually played against each other, I think it was semifinals or finals, of the European Championship under 14s. So we’re the same age, same generation and we grew up together. He’s a good guy. I’ve known him for a very long time. He’s got a big forehand and big serves. He’s very talented.”
Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website http://alanamitchelson.wordpress.com