"Staying humble, staying on the ground, whatever happens I’m still the same guy" Hamad Medjedovic is making Waves in Tennis

Jan 10, 2024, 2:06:47 AM | by Craig Gabriel

With a new year we start a new interview series here on We Are Tennis and this is the first one. There is a fair amount of hype around young Serbian player Hamad Medjedovic. The 20-year-old has been at a career high ranking of 102 which is destined to change upwards very quickly as he has the potential to be winning titles in the not-too-distant future. He is a player to watch in 2024 and We Are Tennis’ Craig Gabriel sat down with him at the recent United Cup.


Hamad congratulations on winning the NexGen Finals a few weeks ago. Relive those moments, what was it like?
HAMAD: It was a very unique experience for me, something new. When we finished the match, when I hit that ace, I think I wasn’t aware of what I did for a couple of hours and then I was slowly starting to realise what I did. It was the best possible way to finish the year, especially that I did a couple of very, very tough matches before that. Being undefeated there and winning the tournament in that way, I think it was a big thing.

What does something like that do for your confidence? You’re so young – to win a big title like that, I guess in one sense it sets you up.
HAMAD: For sure it’s a very, very huge boost to my confidence especially coming into the new season with the five wins I got there. These are the top players under 21. I know I’m coming into the New Year with full confidence and for sure it helped me for the new season.

How do you stop yourself from maybe getting too confident, overconfident?
HAMAD: I think you always have to stay humble. You always need to know you have to work really, really hard to get where you want to be. Humble is the key; to stay humble through whatever happens, at all times. It doesn’t matter if you win the biggest tournament or the smallest, you have to stay humble and that’s it. That’s what keeps you well.

Tell me about staying grounded. How do you stay grounded? So many positive things have been said about you, so how do you keep your feet on the ground?
HAMAD: I think it’s a very easy thing for me is coming from a family I think it’s a very easy thing for me as I’m coming from a large family. I remember the words of my father when I was young “we don’t need this tennis even if you’re the greatest player of all times with the most titles if that’s going to change you as a person … that’s the key that’s the main thing to staying humble, staying on the ground, whatever happens I’m still the same guy that’s it.

What sort of person are you? How would you describe yourself? What would you say to people that wouldn’t necessarily know something about you.? 
HAMAD: I’m very friendly. I love to make new friends. I’m pretty crazy in a positive way. I’m always up for some adventures with my friends. I always love to do something. Maybe it’s because we don’t get so much time to spend with our friends and family. I just want to do everything and go everywhere. I would say I am extremely positive guy off the court and always up for some crazy stuff along the way.

What are some of the things you like to do and tell me if you have favourite movies, favourite music, do you read, what you like to do?
HAMAD: I love spending time with my family and friends, my girlfriend as well. Being without them for almost a whole year, it’s really tough and once you’re back home you want to see everyone. And whenever I’m home I’m not able to rest because I’m out all the time. I have such a big family, my sister has three kids, I’m also many times with them. I’ve had the girlfriend for three years, were also together. It’s tough for us once you’re back home everybody wants to see you and you want to see everyone and I’m just the type of guy to go out not to be at home. When I’m back to go out with friends and family. You mentioned it … I love watching movies I’m not a big music guy I’m not really into music, I love some other things and that’s it.

Is there a favourite movie?
HAMAD:  There are so many good movies, and I can’t just say one. There are a couple I really like. You want to tell you? I love action movies – I watched almost every movie with Jason Statham, he’s my favourite actor. I was watching many of his movies. I also love the movie The Equaliser it has three parts with Denzel Washington. I love the action movies. I also love Harry Potter for example. I know all the parts.

I’ll tell you one I watched the other day, Gran Turismo. I was taken by surprise; I thought it was fascinating and it’s a true story.
HAMAD: Yeah, really? I didn’t know. I heard it was a good movie, but I haven’t watched it yet but it’s good to know now, I might watch it.

You are at the forefront, but you don’t do it all yourself. Your mother is involved with your career, you have a great manager, good coaches, and the importance of having good people around you and the advice you get, tell me about that.
HAMAD: I think that’s the main thing that’s the biggest thing in my career. You forgot to mention my father. My father is the key figure in my career as I’m coming from a small city in Serbia, Novi Pazar. I moved with my father when I was nine or ten, we both went to Belgrade for the better facilities and better practice and he left everything behind him, same as I did. His job, whole family, he was there with me and it’s super important to have good people around as my coach Victor (Troicki), my manager, my family, my mum, everyone else, my girlfriend – having the good relationship and a stable relationship with all the guys it is what keeps me good.

What would you have done if you hadn’t shown the promise of being a tennis player? What would you have liked to have done?
HAMAD: To be honest I’m not a big school guy. It was never going good for me, I’m just a basic person and what I like is the secret agencies.

You wanted to become a spy?
HAMAD:  Ha, ha, yes. I always was into this, that’s something I love to be if I wasn’t a sports guy.

There’s also been a lot of talk the last couple of years about your connection to Novak Djokovic, that he helped fund your development. Tell me about the importance of Novak and the advice he’s been able to give you.
HAMAD: It was definitely a turning point for my career when I met Novak as I think that was the hardest time of my career – it was the transition from juniors to pros and I think that’s the toughest for everyone. Many of the players lose themselves there and that’s when Novak showed up when I was finishing my junior career. We had a couple of practices and then he took me under his wing and paid for all my expenses. It’s not just that, for sure it’s a big thing but something that is more important that help me with him and getting all his advices from him having him as a friend, as a mentor, as a coach I can say, because he helped me a lot with my game. I think that was a turning point for my career.

Mature age people will give young people your age advice. If I was to ask you the most important bit of advice you received whether it is from your father, your mother, your sister or Novak or Victor can you think of something in particular?
HAMAD: Yes, I mentioned it before it was from my father. He keeps telling me this and I’ll try to say as close as he did. He said: “if we have to choose between you being the best player than anyone and having 100 titles, being the greatest of all time … but if that changes you as a man, as a person, you don’t need it. I’d rather have you not play tennis at all and be a normal guy.” That’s it. I think what truly matters is to stay the man you were before everything happened, to be 100% humble, to be exactly the same as you were before and I think that is the most important part.

I know you’re not into the schooling aspect, but I think there is something you would appreciate if you were to read it. It’s a poem called IF, it’s by a famous English writer named Rudyard Kipling. Part of the words are at Wimbledon, and it says things like if you can do this or if you can do that, you will become a man. Something I think could be very inspiring to you.
HAMAD: Yeah, I think for sure. I note it and I’ll try to find it. I’m always up to learn. I think you can learn from everyone doesn’t matter if you are talking to the older guy, we are all in the process of learning the whole life. I’m up for it.

What are your goals what are your dreams you want to achieve firstly in the near future and then long-term?
HAMAD: I think the main goal for every athlete is to stay healthy first and then tennis wise I think the first goal, but I don’t think it’s the most important is to get to the top 100 because it makes a lot easier you entering all the tournaments straight into the main draw and then honestly I don’t want to say top 70 top 50 top 30 top 20. I don’t want to call it because I think I can do really good if I’m healthy and fit and stable in my mind and I don’t want to get I don’t want I don’t want to set any goals – let’s see what I could achieve, and I know it’s something big.

I think I know what your answer will be on this question but as you were growing up who did you really admire and respect? It doesn’t have to be in tennis, I’m talking really across the board.
HAMAD: There is a guy, he is a UFC fighter he was an MMA fighter is called Khabib Nurmagomedov, he’s a very famous fighter from Russia. I think he’s the greatest athlete in his sport ever. I met him, I had the privilege to meet him, and he is the most humble guy I have ever met. He is who he is and he’s such and good believer. He was one of the biggest inspirations outside of tennis.

Serbia has grown not just as a country but as a tennis nation. Do you feel any pressure to continue that legacy, to continue what someone like Novak has achieved for the nation?
HAMAD: I wouldn’t say it’s a pressure but of course people are expecting a lot after Novak, after him winning every tournament. They want you to do the same, but we all know Novak is one-of-a-kind, there’s not going to be anyone else like him. I think it’s a good thing to have them here and to have high expectations around, the people think it’s a good thing to have this high expectation. It gives you a boost. It makes you want more.

On a lighter note, the NextGen Finals was the biggest title of your career. It also came with a pretty good pay check. Firstly, what have you done with or where is the trophy and did you spoil yourself did you guided by something as a celebration for?
HAMAD: Not really. The trophy is at home in a safe place. With the money I really didn’t do anything, I just went on a holiday with my friends for a couple of days and it wasn’t anything I didn’t do the last time we were together. It’s good to know you earn quite a big money; for me that’s a lot. I mean for everyone it’s a lot. It gives you some insurance, security, you feel safe, and nothing changes much.