Jakub Mensik thought Novak Djokovic's kindness was a hoax until it wasn't

Mensik was 16 years old when Djokovic first reached out.

One of the more overlooked things that high-end experienced tennis players do is reach out to players still finding their way in the sport. Many times these players are still in juniors or just at the beginning of their ATP or WTA careers. Serena Williams helped many players, such as Sloane Stephens, and Novak Djokovic has done the same with others.

One of the players that Djokovic helped was Jakub Mensik. The Czech has only just begun his start on the ATP but already has a solid 11-6 record. That includes a run to the final in Doha earlier in 2024 when he finally fell to Karen Khachanov in straight sets. Still, his getting to a final and along the way defeating Andrey Rublev, Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was extremely impressive.

Maybe that good start to his career would not have happened without the assistance of Djokovic. In a recent interview with L'Equipe, Mensik and his coach, Tomas Josefus, spoke about what it was like to first hear from Djokovic. For Mensik, the move seemed out of nowhere and he thought him getting a text from the Serb great was a hoax.

Jakub Mensik raves about how much Novak Djokovic helped him

Mensik said, "I first thought it was a hoax, but it was really him. Novak is my childhood idol, you can imagine my joy."

Josefus echoed Mensik's words, saying, "We were taking stock when Jakub received a video on his phone from a Serbian number that he didn’t know. He did not hesitate to share his knowledge and contacts. We had closed doors in front of us, Novak opened them."

Of course, Djokovic had no real reason to need to reach out to the young Czech player other than a willingness to help. Sharing knowledge is one thing. A player still has to take what they learn and apply it. Sharing contacts is a completely different issue and more helpful to the young player. Basically a "Need some help with something specific? Here is a person who can help you."

Most players don't get that kind of gift. There are experienced players who likely see no reason to help. Ultimately, making a young player better quickly means a veteran will eventually be facing that player in higher form than they would otherwise. In other words, assisting someone could come back to haunt the helper.

For Jakub Mensik, however, Novak Djokovic did not care if that turned into a possibility. Djokovic just wanted to do the right thing and assist a player in the person of Mensik who has high-level potential. Who knows? Maybe whenever Djokovic does retire, he goes into coaching in order to further assist young players.

More tennis news and analysis