When Dusan Lajovic was eight years old, his aunt bought him a book titled Wimbledon, which he says was the 1991 edition. The Serbian, who originally wanted to be a soccer player, began playing tennis at seven because it was the only sport available to his age group, and he remembers reading the book to learn about the history of the sport.
“It gave me a lot of good stuff to see how the players were playing in such an important tournament,” Lajovic said. “I always wanted to do this as my job.”
Little did Lajovic know that two decades later he’d be representing his country at the highest of levels on one of tennis’ biggest stages. The 29-year-old has won four of his five matches at the inaugural ATP Cup, helping lead Serbia to Sunday’s championship match.
Throughout the tournament, Serbian fans have turned out in force, in both Brisbane and Sydney, to support their countrymen. On Saturday, Serbian flags flew throughout Ken Rosewall Arena, with some fans even holding signs that read DULE, Lajovic’s nickname.
The 2019 Umag champion has performed tremendously under that spotlight. He hasn’t shied away from the moment, instead conjuring some of his best tennis. But at heart, Lajovic claims he is an introvert, so he’s still getting used to competing in such hair-raising environments.
“[I’m] still not as comfortable as somebody else would be. But I'm working on myself and trying to be aware of what's going on and understand the situation,” Lajovic said. “I think that this week, especially here in Sydney, I would also say that I'm a different player from Brisbane and here. I got used to it a little bit with the atmosphere and everything. And I'm enjoying the court, especially in the moments where you're fighting for every point like today. This is what you play tennis for.”
The 6’ right-hander recently took a personality test based off the work of psychologist Carl Jung, and got interesting results.
“I'm an architect, which is like [a] 90 per cent introverted person,” Lajovic said. “All the persons with this personality are scientists or professors or stuff like that. There are not so many athletes.
“So with my personality, it's weird being a professional athlete. But I think it came out great. I'm really grateful that I'm able to do the job that I love since I was a kid. For example, you've got to put things in perspective, I think. And then if you ask kids, ‘What do you want to be?’ I don't think that many of them say accountant or whatever. So you have the privilege to do something that you wanted to do as a kid, and I think this is a big benefit for the whole life.”