Gencic, Djokovic’s first coach, dies

Jelena Gencic, who was Novak Djokovic’s first coach, has died. She was 76.

Serbia’s Tennis Federation says Gencic died on Saturday. The cause of death was not given.

Gencic, who represented Yugoslavia at tennis and handball, picked Djokovic as an exceptional talent when he attended her tennis camp in Serbia at age six. She coached him for five years.

”I asked him what he wants to become when he grows up,” Gencic told The Associated Press. ”Without hesitation, he said: ‘The No. 1 player in the world.’ ”

The top-ranked Djokovic found about Gencic’s death after his third-round win at the French Open in Paris.

Djokovic was upset by the news, not able to attend a news conference, and apologized to the media in a statement released by Open organizers.

Media commentator Gencic also coached former Yugoslav and Serbian women tennis teams and played a role in advising Yugoslav and US tennis great Monica Seles.